Santa Barbara's Newest Hotel is a Hostel, But It's For More Than Just Backpackers
Known for a hotel scene that bears a burden on the budget traveler, Santa Barbara's newest hotel, which is actually a hostel, looks to fill that void. Opened this week in the Funk Zone neighborhood, The Wayfarer is a 31-room hostel that offers both private and shared accommodations.
The opening of the Wayfarer is especially interesting given its location in the Funk Zone. An "artsy" neighborhood filled with murals, a surf museum, wine tasting rooms, breweries, a distillery, and small restaurants, it displayed a touch of grit in its early days that Santa Barbara had always lacked. But as its popularity has grown, so have the price tags on its restaurants and urban wineries.
Last year, our bro Jaunted noted that the local media was concerned that the growing gentrification of the neighborhood would ultimately be what killed it as higher-end concepts and projects, including hotels, looked to capitalize.
In that, the opening of a hostel, which should attract younger travelers, bodes well for the Funk Zone in terms of retaining its alternative personality. That said, the starting rates aren't exactly in line with what backpackers are used to. At $159/night for a private room and $59/night for a single bed in a shared room, the Wayfarer might be one of the city's cheaper options in comparison, but we wouldn't exactly call it inexpensive.
Granted, judging by the photos, it seems to be a bit nicer than your typical hostel. We look forward to seeing how the Wayfarer fares in the next few months, and whether its clientele truly ends up being backpackers. We're guessing that, like the Funk Zone, it will eventually be a mixed bag of gentrified guests.
[Photos: Wayfarer Hotel]