Andrew Firestone and Jess Parker launch Courtyard by Marriott hotel on State Street
Entrepreneur Andrew Firestone this week opened the Courtyard by Marriott Santa Barbara Downtown hotel and Saint Remy restaurant on State Street.
“This property is an iconic downtown Santa Barbara hotel that has been around since the late ’60s on the backdrop of State Street for a long time,” said Mr. Firestone, co-founder with Jess Parker of StonePark Capital, a Santa Barbara hospitality development company. Mr. Firestone and Ms. Parker are the managing partners of the hotel.
“Its unique look and design has made it a unique adoption of mid-century modern architecture in contrast to Spanish-style architecture of Santa Barbara. To have that look and feel continued was really important and to have the utility of the hotel maximized was one of the most important things,” said Mr. Firestone, the former star of ABC’s “The Bachelor” and a Santa Barbara native. “The other important thing was to figure out a partner which was the best fit for the property. It felt natural for it to be a Courtyard by Marriott. It has a beautiful pool/courtyard area for guests.
“Most importantly it is within walking distance of the downtown State Street corridor,” Mr. Firestone said about the hotel, which opened Monday at 1601 State St.
Mr. Firestone said the hotel stands out as being “a little slice of history.”
In addition, “it has some amazing downtown views from both roof decks, right down to the Pacific Ocean,” he told the News-Press. “I want my guests to come and park their car and walk for the rest of the time they are there.
“I like to think we have checked all of the boxes: state-of-art fitness, full restaurant, rooftop decks, spa and meeting rooms. Marriott has come to offer a standard guests have come to expect at an approachable price point.”
Mr. Firestone described the rooms.
“We have the existing building that has been renovated from carpet and wallpaper and furniture to match the new rooms built in the new building,” he said. “The courtyard is where the restaurant has an indoor/outdoor feel. It has a courtyard experience which is really unique.
“The rooms are a continuation of the mid-century modern look and the feel; the colors and fabrics mimic that. They are really generously sized rooms. The nice thing about renovating and building new is the ability to maximize layout and design to meet travelers expectations. It satisfies every guest’s needs. The original building and new building form a courtyard experience. Guests can go out on balconies and look out over the courtyard having an urban resort feel.”
The News-Press asked Mr. Firestone about the restaurant, Saint Remy.
“We have owned this property for 10 years and always had the vision to complete the expansion and include a restaurant. Making a space that is approachable and comfortable and doesn’t feel like an average restaurant. We have all types of seating including: common tables, smaller booths and lounge seating. It is a fun energy when you walk in with indoor/outdoor seating. We have everything from kids’ food to interesting Mediterranean dishes.”
The restaurant also has a full liquor license, which includes wines and craft cocktails.
“The idea was to put spin on classic cocktails and dishes making them uniquely Santa Barbara,” said Mr. Firestone.
He is seeing a positive response to the hotel.
“This morning I hung out in the lobby watching people check in and out. We have a lot of guests that are Marriott patrons. I have heard over and over, ‘This is such a cool version of a Courtyard by Marriot.’ It is an adapted use of an existing property, and it feels unique and special. It made me so proud to hear people excited about it. I have three young kids, and it’s exciting to see people enjoying themselves and families eating waffles and chocolate chip pancakes.
“I hope locals can come down and take a look at the property,” Mr. Firestone said. “You don’t really get a sense of the property from walking by. I hope this is the place locals have their family stay. It is a unique and different property for downtown Santa Barbara.”
“My goal from the start was to give a place for families and people to come to Santa Barbara and use the hotel as a launch pad to everything downtown,” Mr. Firestone said. “A place to enjoy amenities and use that to launch into the State Street corridor with its shopping and eating. In just a few days, I have seen people using it that way. and that’s really exciting. I hope this is a launching pad for people to explore everything Santa Barbara has outside of the hotel.”
“Our hope was to create this downtown urban retreat in the middle of downtown, a little resort with all the amenities a guest could look for at a reasonable price point. We respect what Marriot brings to their standards. I think Santa Barbara is the most magical visitor destination on the West Coast, and I think Courtyard by Marriott is the gold standard. I have an incredible amount of pride in this project because it’s in my backyard,” said Mr. Firestone.
The hotel is walkable to all that Santa Barbara has to offer, including the Old Mission, museums, Santa Barbara Harbor, The Funk Zone, Stearns Wharf and the Santa Barbara Zoo.
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