Santa Cruz Travel Guide
We love us some wine travelóthe tastings, the food, the activities, and especially the long naps. Thatís why itís important to find just the right place to stay wherever we go wine-tasting in the world, and why HotelChatter contributor Eric Rosen fills us in on a boozy B&B he visited on a recent trip to Chile.
Since itís #WineWednesday, we got to thinking about some of our recent wine adventures including a visit to Chileís famous Colchagua Valley, where we happened upon a little Relais & Chateaux property at one of the areaís best-known wineries: Casa Lapostolle.
Hotelier Chip Conley of JDV Hospitality, has a new hotel opening on June 1 in Santa Cruz.
Originally known as the Central Coast Hotel, JDV wanted to re-christen the place, The Dream Inn which was once the hotel's name in a former lifetime. Unfortunately, there were some trademark issues there. (Hmm...Vikram Chatwal perhaps?)
But JDV managed to work out an agreement so that the property will be called The Santa Cruz Dream Inn. You can read all about the "Naming Contest" the hotel held with locals here.
According to Good Times Weekly, the hotel will open in phases. On June 1 the renovated 100-room tower will open. On July 1, a secondary low-rise building will open.
So what's inside? Pretty standard JDV stuff, which we don't mind really.
The new guest rooms and suites will be furnished with such amenities as designer linens, down duvets and pillows, in-room binoculars, ergonomic chairs, extra-large flat screen HDTVs, CAT-5 Internet connectivity, surfboard and bicycle storage and, of course, iPod docking stations.
JDV is hoping to get a four-star luxury rating out of the renovation and will seek both business, leisure and surfer travelers a like.
It's hardly a state secret that there are hotels in the Galápagos, thanks to very occasional travel articles like this in the New York Times, from, yikes, November 1993. Just last year, Hotel Chatter reported that The Finch Bay Hotel, one of the Galapagos' finest, had won a World Travel Award as Ecuador's Best Resort.
Yet somehow, when people talk of Galápagos goings, we think first of yachts, cruises, anything but landlubber lodgings. Maybe that's because the very idea of hotels, apparently several dozen of them, seems a bit untoward for this pristine and protected archipelago. But the thought of staying on terra firma in the Galápagos has a certain appeal, tug as it might at our eco-conscience.
We understand that if a hotel is doubling as a dorm that it has challenges that others would never dream of. But that's no excuse for them to let themselves go--they are still hotels!
The UCSC Inn in Santa Cruz plays the dual role and plays it...not so well. They claim that they're the perfect hotel for business travelers and vacationers alike but, looking into the past guest reviews we have to beg to differ:
We chose this hotel because we thought it would be nice since it is supposedly affiliated with the university, but we were wrong. The room was pretty gross. It looked like a typical furnished dorm room from the seventies. The walls and ceiling were pretty run down too escpecially in the bathroom (lots if mildew that had been painted over so many times the paint was bubbling).
They have a mediocre breakfast but you can't take any food out of that cafeteria room which is ridiculous.
What's going on here? It appears that the UCSC Inn thinks that just because they're a dorm that keeping a 70s look and cafeteria style dining for all is appropriate. Wrong! We're all for cattling the students into the cafeteria for a generic meal but not the guests.
On the flipside, at least they have free WiFi.
· UCSC Inn Reviews [TripAdvisor]
This "joint" praises all things marijuana and allows smoking on premises if you have a medical permit to do so.
If you don't smoke weed, that's ok too:
The pot theme is VERY understated-- if you aren't a smoker, you don't really have to worry about it.
Yes, understated except for the marijuana leaf wallpaper. Also there's only four guestrooms so it's more of a B&B than a hotel and chances are you might get a contact high.
We wonder, if you do smoke pot, will they return any "items" you may have left behind?
High luxury? Not really.
High times? Yes, if you have a doctor's note.
At the Compassion Flower Inn in artsy downtown Santa Cruz, if you are medically approved to use marijuana you can toke up in the hotel wherever and whenever.
The first ever "bed, bud, and breakfast," as the hotel is calling itself, is part of an 1860's gothic revival building with only four suites for guests to stay.
The Lovers' Suite, the Blue Room, the Passion Flower Room and the Hemp Room, where the marijuana plants are featured on the wallpaper border, have all been hand-painted and filled with a "visual fantasy of faux finishes, unique stencils, mosaic art, and beautiful period furnishings."
Rooms start at $125 and a two-day minimum is required.
But remember, smoking is only allowed with a doctor's note.
The world now knows it as the Coast Santa Cruz Hotel, but it'll always be the Dream Inn to me.
Why, as a lad, it's where I spied on bikini-clad NoCal chicks (mmmmm, NoCal chicks, drool) with binculars from my beach-side balcony. Big Dipper? You betcha!
(God, last week seems like eons ago!)
But now it seems some Idaho hospitality mogul is going to replace the entire building with a $100 million 270-room hotel, if we're to believe the San Jose Mercury News.
"The look of the hotel will remain unclear at least until September, when architect Mark Hornberger of San Francisco promises a peek at his plans. Until then, said Northwest Hospitality President Robert J. Suits, 'He won't even tell me,'" sayeth the Merc.
-- some of those coin-operated telescopes might be cool, too.