Montecito Inn

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Montecito Inn
Montecito Inn.jpg
Montecito Inn is located in California
Montecito Inn
Location in California
General information
LocationMontecito, Santa Barbara County, California, USA
Coordinates34°25′17″N 119°38′24″W / 34.42139°N 119.64000°W / 34.42139; -119.64000Coordinates: 34°25′17″N 119°38′24″W / 34.42139°N 119.64000°W / 34.42139; -119.64000
Design and construction
DeveloperCharlie Chaplin
Other information
Number of roomsAround 60

Montecito Inn is a boutique hotel in the southwestern part of Montecito, California. It is considered a Santa Barbara landmark.[1] Located on Coast Village Road in Montecito, adjacent to U.S. Route 101, the inn is 2.5 blocks from Butterfly Beach. Pleistocene gravel deposits are evident nearby.[2]

The hotel was built by Roscoe "Fatty" Arbuckle,[3] Charlie Chaplin and friends in 1928 as an escape from show business.[4] The inn has a complete library of Chaplin's films;[5] his image is seen in etched glass doors and in the hallways which are lined with movie posters. The 1936 Rodgers and Hart song, There's a Small Hotel, drew inspiration from the Montecito Inn.


Construction began in 1927,[6] and was completed the following year at a cost of US$300,000. Similar to a Hollywood premiere, the February opening gala included Wallace Beery, Marion Davies, Janet Gaynor, Carole Lombard, Gilbert Roland, and Norma Shearer.[7] The inn was the inspiration for the 1936 Rodgers and Hart song, There's a Small Hotel.[3] But the original wishing well that was inspiration for this song was destroyed in a 1950s renovation.[7] The US$225,000 remodeling occurred subsequent to the property's purchase in 1956 by Avery Brundage.[8] The renovation included adding a parking facility and gardens.[5] Though he sold the inn in 1960, he repossessed it the following year before selling it again in 1970 for over US$400,000.[8] In 2003, the hotel underwent another interior renovation characterized by a Mediterranean style.[9]

In 1938, the inn could accommodate 100 guests, with rates starting at US$2.50 for singles.[10] In 1988, it reportedly had 53 rooms; there were 60 rooms in 2004.[11][5]

The Inn was damaged by the 2018 Southern California mudflows.

Architecture and fittings[edit]

The inn is a three-story Mediterranean-style hotel with a red tile roof, whitewashed walls and "overflowing flower boxes".[12] Many of the rooms contain French provincial furnishings; bathrooms are of Italian marble,[5] which is repeated in the lobby. Chaplin's favorite room was the Tower Suite which is popular today with honeymooners.[12] Richard Rogers wrote of the hotel in 1936, "A small hotel, it's the kind of place where one of Chandler's dissolute heiresses might easily have hung her Lily Dache hat."[13] The hotel has a small fitness room, an outdoor swimming pool and spa, and wooden checkers tables in the hallway.[12] Its Montecito Cafe, which serves California Nouveau cuisine,[14] sits on the location of the original wishing well.

There are many images of Chaplin throughout the hotel. These include movie posters and glass etchings of Chaplin. The hotel has a Charlie Chaplin film library.[12] With the 2003 renovation, photos of Santa Barbara were added.[9]



  1. ^ Leggett, Kim; Leggett, David (17 November 1998). Leggetts' antiques atlas: 1999 edition. Three Rivers Press. p. 103. ISBN 978-0-609-80394-3. Retrieved 10 October 2011.
  2. ^ Willard, Daniel Everett (1942). Adventures in scenery: a popular reader of California geology. The Jaques Cattell press. p. 375. Retrieved 10 October 2011.
  3. ^ a b California business. California Business News, inc. 1983. p. 81. Retrieved 10 October 2011. For rejuvenation, pick the Montecito Inn, a 60-room hostelry that inspired Rodgers and Hart to write "There's a Small Hotel." Built by Charlie Chaplin and Fatty Arbuckle...
  4. ^ Hotka, Thomas Carl (11 March 2010). West of the East Coast. AuthorHouse. p. 143. ISBN 978-1-4490-8277-2. Retrieved 10 October 2011.
  5. ^ a b c d Brown, Andrea (1 May 2004). Writers' and Artists' Hideouts: Great Getaways for Seducing the Muse. Quill Driver Books. pp. 93–. ISBN 978-1-884956-34-8. Retrieved 10 October 2011. Cite error: The named reference "Brown2004" was defined multiple times with different content (see the help page).
  6. ^ Benjamin, William A.; Bridgers, Karen (1991). Santa Barbara, the American Riviera. Pacific Travellers Press. p. 38. ISBN 978-0-929591-03-2. Retrieved 10 October 2011.
  7. ^ a b Wallace, David; Miller, Ann (23 September 2003). Hollywoodland. Macmillan. pp. 221–. ISBN 978-0-312-31614-3. Retrieved 10 October 2011.
  8. ^ a b Barney, Robert Knight; Meier, Klaus V.; University of Western Ontario. Centre for Olympic Studies (1994). Critical reflections on olympic ideology. The University of Western Ontario, Center for Olympic Studies. p. 63. Retrieved 10 October 2011.
  9. ^ a b Hastings, Karen; Shobe, Nancy A. (18 March 2008). Insiders' Guide to Santa Barbara: Including Channel Islands National Park. Globe Pequot. pp. 45–. ISBN 978-0-7627-4555-5. Retrieved 10 October 2011.
  10. ^ State Bar of California (1938). The State bar journal of the State Bar of California. California Bar Association. p. 8. Retrieved 10 October 2011.
  11. ^ Emmis Communications (August 1988). Orange Coast Magazine. Emmis Communications. p. 96. ISSN 0279-0483. Retrieved 10 October 2011.
  12. ^ a b c d Wright, Anne E. (9 May 2000). Best places to stay in California. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. p. 169. ISBN 978-0-618-00532-1. Retrieved 10 October 2011.
  13. ^ Emmis Communications (February 1996). Los Angeles Magazine. Emmis Communications. p. 99. ISSN 1522-9149. Retrieved 10 October 2011.
  14. ^ California. New West Communications Corp. 1 January 1990. p. 43. Retrieved 10 October 2011.

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