The lobby beacons exploration. There is something interesting around every corner.
By Donna Polizzi
Goleta, Calif. is the perfect place for a family vacation. Tourists are far more familiar with Santa Barbara and many people don’t know that the neighboring city of Goleta has much to offer. It is located 20 miles south of Solvang and State Street’s main shopping and dining area in Santa Barbara, is only 7 miles away.
While exploring for Keys 2 the Coast, looking for hidden gems, we discovered a great place to stay and play. The Goodland– a Kimpton Hotel, is a laid back, interesting place that we highly recommend. It is also ideal for families looking for a fun and convenient place to have a great time for all ages.
The hotel is a laid-back, California-style, surf-themed treasure. As soon as you pull in the parking lot, you will see a really cool, vintage Airstream trailer and an old-fashioned woody automobile, in front of the lobby. This place is beyond hip. Inside the spacious lobby is a large, inviting, leather, serpentine-shaped sofa and a big fireplace. Tasteful surf-themed art and a small, old-fashioned record shop with classic vinyl records, as well as a separate room with a pool table, are just a few of the interesting things that make this place an interesting place to stay.
Once you check in, the fun begins. The main part of the hotel has a really nice restaurant called the Outpost, offering really interesting menu items along with the classics, and the food is really good. It is airy and has a nice bar that is inside the restaurant and also wraps around to the outside where you can enjoy having drinks and food poolside on the spacious back patio or next to one of the fire pits.
If you are lucky enough to get a courtyard patio king room you will also have your own little patio. From 5 – 6 p.m. the hotel has a happy hour with complimentary wine. It can be nice meeting other guests and their families, during this social hour.
Find your spot. Sit inside or outside with friends. This unique place has many places to sit with the crowd or more seclude areas for conversation and cocktails.
The pool is heated year-round and sits in the middle of a beautiful, lushly landscaped courtyard. It’s fun for everyone to eat, enjoy drinks or take a swim. It’s a pretty cool place, where all family members can hang out together or do their own thing. I like to call it “space” in our togetherness.
Everything you need is within walking distance. There is a grocery store and pharmacy across the street, as well as several different types of shops and eateries.
A 5-minute walk takes you to a great little restaurant called Nikka Fish Market and Grill. There is indoor and outdoor seating and it is a perfect spot for lunch or a casual dinner. You simply must try the seaweed salad. The texture was interesting and tasted like nothing I had never experienced – crunchy and generously loaded with sesame seeds, slightly sweet, delicious and crispy. The counter is full of fresh fish and delectable, lighter dishes like the Dungeness crab salad.
Relax and dine inside or out in the surf-themed hotel. The food is scrumptious.
If you are staying at the hotel, grab a takeout menu.
Dinner was perfect. The charbroiled salmon was perfectly prepared and delicious. It literally melted in my mouth. My husband had to try the ahi tacos, with chipotle sauce. They were the tastiest tacos he had ever eaten. The mango salsa is freshly made. Even the rice was special. It is the best mango and pepper infused brown rice that you will every taste. My son ordered shrimp and fries and it was crispy, delicious and a generous portion of fresh shrimp. It was seriously yummy. Nikka is open 11 a.m. – 9 p.m., seven days a week.
Another reason that the Goodland is a Keys 2 the Coast recommendation, is that it is dog-friendly and Goleta Beach Park is only 3 miles away. This beach is a favorite for bird watchers. If you look up into the trees, you will see huge nests. Some of the regular sightings include great blue herons, great egrets, brown pelicans, fishing birds and snowy plover.
There really is something for everyone in Goleta. Pack your bag and get ready for good food and good times in the Goodland.
Donna Polizzi is a Travel Expert and Founder of Keys2TheCoast.com, offering honest recommendations on the “Best places to wine, dine, explore and more!”) Visit keys2thecoast.com or Facebook Keys2TheCoast.)