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Donna Polizzi

Here & There

Donna Polizzi: The Goodland Hotel Full of Treasures for Goleta Visitors and Locals Alike

Laid-back California style, something for everyone, and a convenient base to stay and play will have you enjoying Goleta’s good life right from the start

The Goodland Hotel Click to view larger
At Kimpton-The Goodland, a California- and surf-themed hotel in Goleta, you can relax inside or out — and dine inside or out. (Keys 2 the Coast photo)

While exploring for Keys 2 the Coast, looking for hidden gems, we discovered a delightful place to stay and play in Goleta. Kimpton-The Goodland is a laid-back, interesting hotel 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 at 5650 Calle Real is a California-style treasure. As soon as you pull into the parking lot, the first thing you see is a cool, vintage Airstream trailer and an old-fashioned woodie station wagon in front of the lobby.

This place is beyond hip. Inside the spacious lobby is a large, inviting, serpentine-shaped leather 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 enticing features.

Once you check in, the fun really begins. The main part of the hotel has a terrific restaurant, Outpost at The Goodland, which offers creative menu items along with the classics, and the food is really good. The restaurant is airy and has a nice bar that is inside but also wraps around to the outside, where you can enjoy drinks and food poolside on the spacious back patio or next to one of the firepits.

The hotel has a happy hour from 5 to 6 p.m., with complimentary wine. It can be refreshing to meet other guests and their families during the social hour.

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. The Goodland is 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.

If you’re lucky enough to get a courtyard patio king room, you’ll also have your own little patio.

Anything else you need is within walking distance. A grocery store and pharmacy are across the street in the Calle Real Center, and there are numerous shops and restaurants nearby.

A five-minute walk takes you to a charming little restaurant called Nikka Fish Market & Grill at 5722 Calle Real. There is indoor and outdoor seating and it is an ideal spot for lunch or a casual dinner.

The Goodland Hotel Click to view larger
Exploration beckons from the lobby at Kimpton-The Goodland, where there is something interesting around every corner. (Keys 2 the Coast photo)

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, it is slightly sweet, delicious and crispy.

Nikka’s counter also is full of fresh fish and delectable, lighter dishes like the Dungeness Crab Salad.

Our dinner was superb. The charbroiled salmon was perfectly prepared and delicious; it literally melted in my mouth. My husband tried the Ahi tacos with chipotle sauce, and 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 ever taste. My son ordered shrimp and fries and it was crispy and delicious, and a generous portion of fresh shrimp as well. It was seriously yummy.

Nikka is open daily from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Another reason that The Goodland is a Keys 2 the Coast recommendation is that it is dog-friendly.

Meanwhile, Goleta Beach Park is only three miles away. The beach is a favorite for bird watchers, with great blue herons, egrets, brown pelicans and fishing birds among the frequent sightings.

There really is something for everyone in Goleta. Pack your bags and get ready for good food and good times, starting at The Goodland.

— Donna Polizzi is a regional travel expert and founder of Keys 2 the Coast, a free Central Coast travel resource providing honest recommendations on the best places that locals want to go. She can be contacted at [email protected]. Click here to read previous columns. The opinions expressed are her own.

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