Ranch & Coast Magazine

May 2022

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Page 55 of 107

MAR MONTE HOTEL & COSTA: COURTESY PHOTOGRAPHY SANTA BARBARA ZOO & MOXI: PHOTO BY BLAKE BRONSTAD/VISIT SANTA BARBARA Santa Barbara Breather Family-friendly R&R and exploration in the American Riviera W HEN LONGTIME friend Jerome Strack, general manager of Santa Barbara's Mar Monte Hotel, texted me with an invitation to check out the newly reimagined resort, I wasted no time and promptly responded, "Yes! When?" Several emails later, my daughter, Isabella, and I were in the car making our way north for a girls' getaway. In three short hours (including a Starbucks stop), we pulled into the driveway of the new Mar Monte, a reincarnation of the historic 1930s Vista Mar Monte. Following a multi-million-dollar transformation, the 200-room hotel primely situated on Cabrillo Boulevard offers modern amenities and design care of Los Angeles- based Beleco, which oversaw the interior refresh. Part of e Unbound Collection by Hyatt, the hotel's common areas feature exposed beam ceilings and arches, terra cotta flooring, and a ceramic tile art installation behind the reception desk that bring Spanish-influenced elements into the space, complemented by sparkling chandeliers. Mirroring the rise of the tide, Mar Monte effortlessly flows from indoors to the outdoors that beckon, and since I had promised Isabella ample pool time, we snuck in a quick dip before meeting Strack for dinner. Costa Kitchen & Bar is set in an eclectic space accented with plush marigold chairs and lemon-print wallpaper. e restaurant affords ocean views and cuisine that melds influences from coastal Italy and the Eastern Mediterranean, with emphasis on purveyors from the Central to Southern California region. A seafood-driven menu helmed by Executive Chef Gunnar Planter features sharable plates and innovative dishes. (If his name sounds familiar, it's because Planter, like Strack, was formerly at e Inn at Rancho Santa Fe, as well as Del Mar's Viewpoint Brewing Company.) I thoroughly enjoyed my Whole Roasted Branzino, served with a bright green olive salsa verde and brown butter kale. e classically rooted craft cocktail bar juxtaposes lighter, refreshing drinks with more spirited libations, and winemakers from the Central Coast play a starring role in the wine menu housed in an 800-bottle glass wine display. BY MIA PARK Detour destinations Mar Monte Hotel @ranchandcoast ranchandcoast.com 56 MAY 2022 RANCH & COAST MAGAZINE

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