Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital has been named one of the “Top 20 Most Beautiful Hospitals in the U.S.”  in 2014, marking the first time that the hospital has received this award in the annual list compiled by Soliant Health.

“With an innovative healing arts collection and ‘River of Life’ fountain that flows through the gardens of the hospital’s new Spanish Colonial inpatient wing, this Santa Barbara landmark accomplishes one of the great triumphs of hospital architecture: Letting you forget that you’re in a hospital,” Soliant Health stated in its official announcement of the award.

“We are honored to be named one of the most beautiful hospitals in America,” said Ron Werft, president and CEO of Cottage Health System, the parent organization for Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital. “While our physicians, nurses and staff strive every day to provide our patients with the best possible care, the unique and relaxing environment at the new Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital is designed to offer our patients the best possible setting in which to heal.”

The new hospital, which opened in February 2012, is part of an estimated $700 million project to replace all inpatient care facilities. The architectural design features natural light, increased green space and environmentally sensitive elements that are both patient- and family-friendly and representative of the Spanish Colonial style for which the Santa Barbara community is so well known. The last phases of the construction project, estimated to be completed in 2017, include demolishing and rebuilding part of the existing hospital building, which will connect to the new buildings.

For the sixth year in a row, Soliant Health, one of the country’s largest health-care staffing companies, turned to hospital staff, patients and supporters to help choose the top 20 hospitals worthy of “Most Beautiful Hospital in the U.S.” distinction. A record-breaking 250,000 total votes nationwide were received this year.

In addition to this recent award, Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital also holds several distinctions for clinical excellence. The hospital has again earned verification as a Level 2 trauma center and a Level 2 pediatric trauma center by the Committee on Trauma of the American College of Surgeons. This achievement recognizes the hospital’s dedication to providing optimal care for injured adult and pediatric patients.

— Maria Zate is the manager of marketing and public affairs for Cottage Health System.