The Santa Barbara Inn staff bid farewell this week to their final guests for at least the next 18 months as the waterfront hotel closed to undergo major renovations.
Future guests of the 70-room hotel at 901 E. Cabrillo Blvd. will enjoy more panoramic ocean views, outdoor seating and even more private balcony space, among other planned improvements, according to General Manager Ed Gasterer.
“We’re hoping that everything is up and ready 18 months from now,” Gasterer told Noozhawk on Tuesday.
The hotel that was built in 1960 will receive quite a facelift during the temporary closure.
The inn’s kitchen, restaurant, bar and banquet room will be moved to the ground floor, which will feature 70 indoor and 100 outdoor seats for dining along the ocean.
Gasterer said panoramic oceanview guest rooms would then be moved to the third floor where the public space and restaurant — once called Don the Beachcomber, Citronelle and, most recently, Fresco at the Beach — was formerly located.
The restaurant will include a comfortable bar and full cocktail service with wines from the Santa Ynez Valley region, and the inn’s conference and banquet room will seat up to 80 guests when reserved for corporate and social events.
After completion of the renovations, which will be handled by Santa Barbara-based Schipper Construction, the inn will feature nine suites with panoramic ocean views and new five-fixture bathrooms, and each balcony will offer guests more privacy via new doors and windows.
On Tuesday, a green fence surrounded the oceanfront property located at the corner of Milpas Street, and staff members were removing furniture and mattresses from rooms.
The last guests checked out at noon Monday from the hotel, which is owned by Richard and Mimi Gunner of Santa Barbara, according to staff.
Chief city building official George Estrella said much of the exterior and interior renovations will upgrade structures to improve accessibility for guests.
“They’re pretty much gutting everything and putting everything back in,” Estrella said. “It’s going to be a completely new building.”