The Hotel Californian, designed by local architectural firm DesignArc, opened this week in Santa Barbara. (Joshua Molina / Noozhawk photo)

The famed Hotel Californian on lower State Street quietly opened this week, adding another high-profile attraction to Santa Barbara’s increasingly popular Funk Zone and waterfront areas.

The 121-room hotel is at the corner of State and Mason streets and features paseos, gardens, a rooftop pool, event deck, a ballroom and Moroccan-inspired spa and saloon.

The hotel also features meeting and event spaces, a fitness center, a fashion boutique and restaurants.

“The design is fresh,” hotel spokesman Carlos Lopes told Noozhawk. “It is very unique. It is not something you see in other luxury properties in Santa Barbara.”

The hotel at 36 State St., which was developed by Michael Rosenfeld, is on the site of the original Hotel Californian and retained its facade.

The architect for the overall project was DesignArc, a local firm that worked for nearly a decade on the project.

“This enormous undertaking will continue to provide a fitting entry to our beautiful city, as well as the Funk Zone,” DesignArc architect Mark Kirkhart told Noozhawk.

The hotel is part of three corners that also includes 20,000 square feet of commercial area and represents a seismic shift in the lower State Street and waterfront experience.

The three blocks of development was originally called the La Entrada project, led by developer Bill Levy, who at one time envisioned Ritz Carlton timeshares at the site.

“The romantic Spanish colonial revival design incorporates flourishes of Moorish influence,” Kirkhart said.

“The detailing, including arches, deep-set windows, terra cotta roof tiles, copper gutters, decorative wrought iron, and plaster cornices and finials, is reminiscent of what has become known as Santa Barbara style.”

Kirkhart said the interiors were done by Martyn Lawrence Bullard, and are distinctively Moorish-inspired.

The hotel has more than 2 million pieces of interior tile, Lopes said. 

The guest rooms are located in the two buildings on the south side of Mason Street, while the taller building next to the railroad tracks holds the banquet room, restaurant, boutique shops and a major public parking structure.

The property also has two restaurants: Goat Tree, open from 7 a.m. to 9 pm. daily and Blackbird, open from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m.

The hotel and restaurant have about 220 employees.

“We are very focused on the guest experience,” Lopes said. “It is the epicenter of the Funk Zone and downtown Santa Barbara.” 

In the first week, Lopes said more than 600 people visited the property.

“The restaurants are being visited by predominantly the local community,” Lopes said.

The hotel plans an Oct. 5 ribbon-cutting.

“This unique coastal retreat will cater to the Hollywood elite, locals and international visitors alike,” Lopes said.

Noozhawk staff writer Joshua Molina can be reached at Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

Heavy equipment demolishes the previous Hotel Californian building in August 2012.

Heavy equipment demolishes the previous Hotel Californian building in August 2012.  (Noozhawk file photo)