My girlfiriend and I were attending an event at UCSB and were looking for a place to stay that was inexpensive, clean and, most importantly, dog-friendly. After spending hours searching every travel website known to man, we ended up choosing Parkside Inn, a satellite hotel of Santa Barbara's Hotel Mar Monte.
What do I mean by a satellite hotel? Well, I've never experienced this before, but you have to actually check in down the street at the Hotel Mar Monte before you can even enter the Parkside Inn gates. The Parkside Inn has no lobby, gift shop or any other services, other than an ice maker located on the 1st floor, which I'm told is quite lovely.
If you want amenities, you're going to have to hike down to the Hotel Mar Monte. They have the pool and Jacuzzi you're looking for. As a guest of the Parkside Inn, you have full access to the facilities there. Not the most convenient, but we were surprised to see a couple walking down the sidewalk in their bathrobes at around 10 PM last night. Did I mention it was freezing outside at the time?
We arrived on a Thursday and I swear we were the only ones staying here. The room was larger than expected (I was apparently upgraded to a suite). There were two large Queen-size beds, though we only asked for one (maybe people do a lot of swinging in this town), as well as a nice comfy couch, a club chair with ottoman, a microwave, fridge and a pretty decent sized tube TV (sorry, no flatscreens here yet).
Incidentally, they call it Parkside Inn for a reason: It faces a large park. Unfortunately, it's not a very pretty park. And at night, it looks even uglier, what with all the vans and RVs camped out in the parking lot overnight.
What they fail to mention on their website is how this hotel also faces some train tracks. But don't worry, you won't really notice the train that much, provided you keep the sliding glass door closed and your head firmly sandwiched between your pillows.
One thing you will notice, however, is the sudden surge of people that arrive on Friday night. They are loud, obnoxious and they will party in the hallways and out in the parking lot until they pass out early in the morning. Apparently, this place is a haven for alcoholics (also known as wine enthusiasts). Definitely not a place to work on your novel.
A few positive aspects of this hotel:
1) Because the shower is designed for people under 5'9"", taller people like me are forced to practice some very advanced yoga moves to wash their hair. Great workout.
2) The soda machine was not functioning at all while we were here, helping us to resist those late-night cravings for sugary beverages.
3) Despite the fact that we decided to stay an extra day and confirmed it with the front desk the day before, when we got back from a late afternoon outing, we discovered our keycards had been demagnetised. This meant we had to hike down to the main hotel to get our cards fixed, which was excellent for our circulation.
4) The parking lot here has angled spaces on both sides. When it's full, it's next to impossible to navigate anything larger than a bicycle through it. An excellent way to practice your driving skills, especially if you happen to be driving a rental car.
5) Finally, while we did pay an extra fee for having a dog, the hotel was nice enough to pre-stain the couch, club chair and carpet for us, saving our pet a lot of extra hassle and time.
The Parkside Inn seems like a great place to stay for a weekday vacation. But come the weekend, it's transformed from a quiet out-of-the-way place to party central.
Pros: Close to beach/SB Zoo
Cons: It's a party place on weekends