The Santa Barbara Inn has been undergoing renovations since October 2013 and construction should finish up later this year, with a reopening expected in late 2015 or early 2016.      (Gina Potthoff / Noozhawk photo)

October marks two years since Santa Barbara Inn closed for major renovations, but an end to construction at the beachfront hotel is in sight.

Crews should finish up at the 70-room hotel at 901 E. Cabrillo Blvd. in late 2015, with an opening later this year or in early 2016, according to hotel general manager Ed Gasterer.

When the hotel built in 1960 temporarily closed for a facelift in 2013, Gasterer said renovations would take at least 18 months.

This week, he said two years was always more realistic.

“We’re very, very happy with the progress,” Gasterer said. “We’re at the goal line. There are still a few issues that we want to make sure we get resolved. We’re very excited, very anxious.

“The most dramatic change will be that the public space will be much more accessible.”

Passersby will notice a completely updated exterior, which was gutted and remodeled to maintain a boutique hotel quality, courtesy of Santa Barbara-based Schipper Construction, Gasterer said.

Much better curb appeal, too, he said, noting public space and the restaurant — once called Don the Beachcomber, Citronelle and, most recently, Fresco at the Beach — was moved from the third floor to the ground level, switching places with eight guest rooms.

The restaurant will seat 70 people inside and another 70 outside, while the banquet room can now seat 90 to 100 guests in a flexible space that can be divided into three.

More than half of all guest rooms — 47 of 70 — will now offer panoramic ocean views from personal balconies.

“That’s significant,” Gasterer said. “That’s what the guest is looking for down here. Every guest room has (her or her) own private deck.”

The revamped Santa Barbara Inn will also feature a fitness center, swimming pool, whirlpool spa and a two-story lobby with a fireplace facing Cabrillo Boulevard.

Gasterer said new room rates hadn’t been determined yet, but he confirmed it would be more expensive than the $200 to $220 per night the inn had been charging before the renovations.

An actual reopening date for the hotel, owned by Richard and Mimi Gunner of Santa Barbara, will be set in about a month, Gasterer said, when a timeframe for refurnishing and rehiring staff should be decided.

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