It’s time for a private bungalow retreat in the middle of the wine country
A visit to the Santa Barbara wine country means traveling far beyond Santa Barbara itself and ascending into the realm of country roads and small towns. Solvang, Los Alamos and Los Olivos, Santa Ynez and many other local destinations dot the exits of 101 North, sweet little towns perfect for a weekend getaway, a wine tasting excursion or just an excuse. to spend a lot of time outdoors. With vineyards aplenty, tasting rooms, plenty of great restaurants, and an abundance of idyllic pastures, lawns and tree-lined streets, it’s hard to go wrong on a trip here.
And when it comes to accommodation in the region, the Nomada Hotel Group certainly has the model in hand. Their first two properties, the Granada Hotel + Bistro in San Luis Obispo and nearby Skyview in Los Alamos, are painstaking reinventions of hotels of the past. Their MO is to take historic buildings or old roadside motels and lovingly restore them to a more accessible, hip (and endlessly Instagrammable) aesthetic, with service and amenities to match. Somewhere between your wealthy friend’s house and a decadent social club, these relatively small boutique hotels help shine a light on an area that in the past was sometimes overlooked.
Hotel Ynez is the latest of their restorations, a new roadside inn on the outskirts of Solvang that is quickly drawing attention to the tourist destination best known for its Danish-style architecture. Opened last March, the hotel spans two acres that emphasizes outdoor gatherings, relaxation, and a fine camping atmosphere (don’t worry, there are no tent in sight. ). This property will appeal to nature lovers, those who want to spend a lot of time outdoors without sleeping on the floor, and anyone looking for a place to stay with easy access to Solvang. It’s a rustic chic outpost that offers a nice upgrade to the more traditional accommodation in the area. Here is an overview of the highlights of the brand new stay.
All property is outward-facing – but remains private and secluded
Like its sister property Skyview, most of the hotel’s shared space is a well-maintained outdoor space designed for group activities. Between a brand new pétanque court – a welcome trend in newly renovated roadside inns – several fireplaces, comfortable lounges and plenty of outdoor seating, this is the perfect place to share a bottle of wine, talk for hours or even get a little active. A secluded lawn at the front of the property would be perfect for morning yoga, and a small but efficient swimming pool is tucked away in the opposite corner for sunbathing and cooling off after a hard day of wine tasting. Taking it a step further, each of the 18 rooms on the grounds comes with its own massive hammock to hang on the front patio. As the hotel is located between downtown Santa Ynez and Solvang, it is quiet and secluded without feeling inaccessible. Thus, you will have the impression of going out into the open while remaining close to electricity and running water.
Custom BBQ kits provide a true outdoor experience with no real “brutage”
There’s no on-site restaurant at the Ynez Hotel, at least not yet, so the property has found smart ways to help incorporate dining into their concept of an outdoor lifestyle. In addition to a small but neatly organized gift shop stocked with wine and other candlelit snacks, guests can order a personalized barbecue kit with their reservation. The kit includes a small Weber grill used to reheat pre-cooked ribs, a pot of baked beans and a side of pre-cooked grilled vegetables with herbs. If you’ve had the wisdom to stop by Bob’s Well Bread in Los Alamos by car, throw a few slices of this fantastic sourdough on the grill to complete the meal. Then sit under the stars and immerse yourself in a very Wine Country feast: accompanying the ribs with a bottle of hearty red should do the trick. In fact, you might need an extra bottle to sit around the fire after dinner.
Rustic-chic aesthetic is a breath of fresh air in a more traditional, sometimes kitsch neighborhood
I am not a fan of the expression “tourist trap” because it seeks to diminish the appeal of working-class areas simply because they are well frequented. That said, there is sometimes a certain lack of sophistication that often goes hand in hand with ultra-popular destinations like Solvang, which tends towards kitsch due to its Danish-influenced buildings and decor. For those who prefer a moment of elegance in the middle of an adorable little vacation town, the Hotel Ynez offers just that. The beautifully landscaped gardens look stunning in the morning, afternoon and evening light, and the gravel walkways, a massive and mythical tree and finishes like fruit trees and fringed umbrellas complete the appeal of the property. Even if for some reason you’re not having a good trip … see as you did, based solely on your surroundings.
Rooms look like small bungalows, though they’re not secluded
In the past, soundproofing and privacy were not the primary concerns for roadside motel developers. If you’ve recently stayed at an older motel, this will become obvious. So aside from the fact that the rooms are redone with wicker furniture, cream-colored rugs, and lots of polished wood, the quiet is also a phenomenal feature. The room blocks are split into two groups, facing each other across the property, but they might as well be stand-alone bungalows for the little noise we heard from other guests during our stay. Whatever renovation budget was spent on keeping guests in neighboring hotels on good terms, it was very well spent. Oh, and the velvety Mascioni sheets were the icing on the cake.
Located in the heart of the Santa Barbara wine country, the name of the region speaks for itself
A visit to Solvang or Santa Ynez without corresponding trips to nearby cellars and tasting rooms would be incomplete. Whether you have a sommelier’s palate or are new to distinguishing pinot noir from pinot gris, the region’s winegrowers offer accessible and warm tasting experiences not to be missed. The obvious leader in the area is Sunstone Winery, with a huge, beautiful lawn for tastings and a fleet of wines that puts most of the competition to shame. For a quieter, more laid-back experience, check out Buttonwood Farm Winery and Vineyard in Solvang. After checking in at the front door, grab your tasting and stroll through the farm’s secluded garden to drink and commune with living things. This is exactly what wine country is: alcohol and beautiful scenery.
For more travel news, tips and inspiration, subscribe to Internal hookThe Journey’s weekly travel newsletter.