In today’s Ask the Concierge we head to California to meet Helen Okbazghi, the Guest Services Manager at Kimpton Canary Hotel in Santa Barbara. With its rooftop pool, overlooking ‘The American Riviera’, and its dreamy four-post beds, Kimpton Canary Hotel is the perfect spot to soak up the sunshine and relax.
Tell us a little bit about you and why you love Santa Barbara?
I am Eritrean ethnicity, born and raised in Saudi Arabia. I moved to Santa Barbara from Seattle in January 2019 seeking the sun, the ocean and the mountains. Thanks to Kimpton, I am able to choose and move wherever I want to, so I transferred to the beautiful Kimpton Canary Hotel located in the heart of downtown Santa Barbara. I live right across the street from The Court House. That is our first stop with a morning coffee and best view of Santa Barbara with anyone visiting me for a day or a week.
It’s a rainy day but we want to explore, what should we do?
There are a lot of indoor activities in Santa Barbara! Some of my favorite museums are the Natural History Museum, Santa Barbara Museum of Art, and the Ty Warner Sea Center located on the wharf. Don’t let the rain stop you from tasting delicious wines! Uber and Lyft in Santa Barbara are an inexpensive way to hop from tasting room to tasting room. Finally, catch a movie or a show at the beautiful and historic landmark, the Arlington theatre or an international/independent film with a drink in hand at the Riviera theatre.
What do you recommend as night-time entertainment?
Red Piano, Soho for live music every day, or the SBCAST (Santa Barbara Creative Art Science & Technology). It offers all kinds of unique arts from painting, technology, seamstress, spoken words and so much more every first Thursday of the month.
Which key phrase or phrases should visitors learn?
Important terms for those visiting Santa Barbara are mostly geographical. Areas of town such as the Funk Zone, Downtown, Upper State, Montecito, the Riviera and the Wharf.
Where is the best shopping?
Tuesday Farmer’s Market or Plum Goods for gifts and souvenirs and buy a 805 (Santa Barbara’s area code) coaster.
What about child-friendly things to do or places to go?
The Moxi Museum of Innovation and Exploration and many of Santa Barbara’s delicious restaurants.
What is your best kept secret or favourite hidden treasure?
I think one of the best kept secrets in Santa Barbara is swimming at Red Rock. About a 40 minute drive, and a short 10 minute hike, will get you to the Red Rock Pools for a dip in the hidden oasis, surrounded by beautiful scenery.
What is the best way to get to the airport?
If you have time, take the Metro bus. It takes 45 minutes and costs $1.75 or take an Uber/Lyft just under $18.00.
What is the best time of the year to visit?
It is always a good time to visit Santa Barbara—but the best time to visit is in the summer.
Is there anything else we should know when visiting?
Santa Barbara is a must-visit town! It is very rich yet affordable, beautiful yet humble. It is so original!
Did you know? There is a new Kimpton Hotel coming to Japan …. visit Kimpton Shinjuku Tokyo in 2020!