Bed & Breakfast Bliss – Discovering Simpson House Inn

Photo Courtesy of Simpson House Inn
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Years ago, I realized I like staying at Bed & Breakfasts when I travel much more than staying at bigger fancy hotels. Why? Because B&Bs offer an extraordinary sense of intimacy, uniqueness, and an overall special charm. And let’s not forget the joy of having breakfast included with your stay.

So, when I planned a recent getaway to Santa Barbara, my choice was clear – it had to be a B&B. Amidst the many options, one property stood out – Simpson House Inn.

Upon our arrival, it was like stepping into a warm, welcoming hug. Simpson House Inn isn’t just a B&B; it’s a romantic haven, a cozy escape with a staff that makes you feel as if you’re part of an exclusive club.

English gardens at the Simpson House Inn. Photo by Michael Melamed

The grounds are like a fairy tale – the Victorian Manor, Carriage Barn, and English Cottage are all nestled in an acre of gardens that received the prestigious “Santa Barbara Beautiful” Award. You can stroll through the lush greenery, adorned with magnificent trees, perfectly pruned bushes, a gazebo, and lawn statuettes, or simply park yourself on relaxing chaise lounges or Adirondack chairs and quietly enjoy the enchanting setting.

Beautiful trees and statues at the Simpson House Inn – Photo by Michael Melamed

The three Victorian style buildings house 15 distinct rooms, each boasting its own patio or balcony overlooking the English gardens.

Simpson House Inn was first founded in 1847 and the rooms have a Victorian feeling blended with modern amenities. 

View of the Victorian Manor as we headed to Happy Hour – Photo, Michael Melamed

In the living room of the main house was a journal that chronicled the history of the property along with fascinating photos. In July 1985, the Simpson House opened as a bed-and-breakfast and won an award for its unique architecture and setting. In 1992, the house and gardens were declared a historic landmark.

Comfy area for gathering in the Victorian Manor – Photo, Michael Melamed

The decor and atmosphere are cozy and warm. The communal areas have comfy leather couches and chairs and a beautiful fireplace, as well as lovely tables and chairs where breakfast is served. There is also a wrap-around patio outside where you can have your meal with the view of the majestic trees and greenery.

A King Bed awaits in the Carriage Room – Photo, Michael Melamed

A few steps along an outdoor path led to our spacious accommodations in the Carriage Room, which had a king bed, a leather loveseat and comfy armchair opposite a fireplace, and a separate dining area with a table and chairs next to an antique wood hutch. A cozy nook opposite the hutch opened into another bed if needed by an extra guest.

Bright dining area and cozy nook in Carriage Room – Photo courtesy of Simpson House Inn

And the pièce de résistance? A huge whirlpool tub in the living room! Definitely big enough for two – how romantic is that? It’s not just special; it’s your cue for a dreamy movie scene.

Check out the tub in the corner, great for a romantic evening soak! Photo, M. Melamed

Other amenities in the room included two terrycloth-lined robes along with matching slippers. The mini fridge was stocked with complimentary sodas, and several bottles of wine were in the room, available for purchase. Candles were provided if you wanted to evoke an even more romantic atmosphere!  

While the charming rooms and beautiful grounds make it wonderful – what truly sets Simpson House Inn apart is its culinary offerings.

In addition to a gourmet, home-cooked, full breakfast, they provide a Happy Hour feast!  I love Happy Hour… and the one at Simpson House Inn is amazing.

We arrived on a Tuesday afternoon in time to have our first Happy Hour at the Inn. There were four different kinds of wine offered: Pinot Noir, Syrah, Chardonnay, and Chenin Blanc. Although my companion and I are not big drinkers,  I had a glass of Chardonnay which I thoroughly enjoyed. But then, OMG, we were both wowed by the hors d’oeuvres! Yes, we do love to eat!

Happy Hour on night one – pinwheels, guacamole and more! Photo, M. Melamed

The first night we had beef empanadas, pinwheels with pesto or sundried tomatoes, caprese skewers with mozzarella & tomatoes, fruit skewers, and chips & guacamole, as well as several varieties of cheese and crackers. It was all super delicious, in fact, we were so satiated we decided to ditch dinner.

Every Happy Hour has different delights! Photo, M. Melamed

On our second afternoon, their Happy Hour had a whole different assortment of delectables: bacon-wrapped dates, petite meat cups, fruit skewers, Neapolitan pizza, and 4-layer dip with crackers and various tasty cheeses. Again, there was a choice of four wines. To us, it wasn’t just Happy Hour – it was Heavenly Hour.

Have you heard the saying “Breakfast is the most important meal of the day”?  At Simpson House Inn, they make it a visual and gastronomic delight, too.

Gourmet breakfast, anyone? Yummy fruit, homemade muffins, and Huevos Rancheros! Photos, M. Melamed

On our first morning, the Huevos Rancheros consisted of Two Corn Tortillas topped with Pinto Beans & Two Fried Eggs and garnished with Ranchero sauce and Queso Fresco. The first course was either fresh fruit or steel oatmeal. Add to this, their incredible homemade pastries. Did I say heavenly?  Their Blueberry Muffins and Iced Cinnamon Rolls were melt-in-your-mouth scrumptious. The second morning’s breakfast included a Greek Frittata with Cheese and Spinach topped with Hollandaise Sauce. The starter was again fruit or oatmeal, complimented by home-made Flaky Chocolate Pastry and Cranberry Muffins. If you’re counting calories, what can I say? – Don’t!

They also provide complimentary homemade cookies, lemonade, and iced tea during the day.

Mmmmm… homemade cookies every day! Photo, M. Melamed

What further elevates Simpson House Inn to the pinnacle of excellence is its staff. Amiable, gracious, and genuinely dedicated to guest satisfaction, the staff embodies true hospitality. They are there whenever you need them – or if you prefer to be alone, then you can have things all to yourself. It seems like they can read their guests’ wishes as if they are psychic.

Enjoy relaxing on the patio or balcony – Photo courtesy of Simpson House Inn

I’m not the only one who feels this way. When I mentioned I was going to be staying at the Simpson House Inn, my long-time friends Gary & Kathy told me they spent their honeymoon there!  They loved it so much, they returned for a big anniversary!  What’s more, a couple we met during Happy Hour told us they stayed there often. I can definitely understand why – I can’t wait to go there again!

Even breakfast time feels romantic! Photo courtesy of Simpson House Inn

Simpson House Inn is conveniently located within walking distance of State Street, which is lined by many shops and restaurants. Parking is free, as is wi-fi. Their hospitality even continues after you leave – upon our departure, they gifted us with a packet of attractive note cards. 

With only 15 rooms, Simpson House Inn is truly intimate and provides guests with the specialized attention so often not available at bigger hotels. 

So, if you find yourself yearning for a vacation that’s more “Bridgerton” than Hollywood glam, Simpson House Inn is your spot. It’s not just a place to stay; it’s an experience.

Gorgeous greenery and trees line the paths. Photo courtesy of Simpson House Inn

Whether it’s for a solo adventure, a rendezvous for two, or a celebratory occasion, Simpson House Inn is the perfect getaway. It’s delightful for weddings, anniversaries, retreats, or simply a beautiful escape. And there’s no doubt – once you experience it, you’ll undoubtedly yearn to return.

Simpson House Inn, 121 East Arrellaga Street, Santa Barbara CA 93101

 (805) 963-7067


  • Marilyn Anderson

    Marilyn Anderson is an award-winning author, film and television writer. She wrote for Murphy Brown, FAME, Friday the 13th - the Series, and Carol & Company, starring Carol Burnett. Marilyn wrote and produced the family feature film, How to Beat a Bully. She is the author of How to Live Like a MILLIONAIRE When You're a Million Short.

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About Marilyn Anderson 36 Articles
Marilyn Anderson is an award-winning author, film and television writer. She wrote for Murphy Brown, FAME, Friday the 13th - the Series, and Carol & Company, starring Carol Burnett. Marilyn wrote and produced the family feature film, How to Beat a Bully. She is the author of How to Live Like a MILLIONAIRE When You're a Million Short.


  1. This was a great article! The B&B sounds incredible. I am putting it on my list of places to stay when we visit Santa Barbara.

  2. Wow! I definitely will check this out. I love Santa Barbara. This place is stunning! I have a birthday coming up in a few months, and this would be the perfect getaway.

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