Mr. H and I just returned from a weekend to the Santa Ynez Wine Country. It was a Christmas gift from our son and daughter in law. Thanks, Colin & Lauren. We love wine tasting in the Santa Ynez Valley but there has never been an overabundance of lodging choices. Our headquarters for our stay was the charming Hotel Landsby in Solvang. Yes, you heard me correctly…Solvang. I can’t say that Solvang has changed a lot but I think the folks that own The Landsby are hoping to start a trend. If you don’t live in California, chances are you have never been, or even heard of Solvang. It was established by a group of Danes in 1911 who wanted to escape the cold midwestern winters. It has remained a Danish tourist town that attracts hoards of bikers and bicyclists in the summer months. The restaurants are very mediocre at best and the shops are primarily filled with t-shirts and trinkets. That being said, Solvang has possibilities. Enter the Hotel Landsby. I can’t say enough about this charming hotel.
The rooms are a stylish mix of bohemian chic and modern farmhouse with every amenity imaginable including l’occitane body and bath products. We had a king patio room that opened out onto a lovely patio area outfitted with tables, chairs, umbrellas, and fire pits that were lit every night we were there.
The hotel is dog-friendly. Beau loved it once he got acclimated. The town is very walkable and dog friendly as well.
The Landsby oftens plays hq to wine country weddings and events. The tower suite (which they graciously allowed me to photograph) boasts a two-story bath, chic living area, and a separate sleeping area.
They also have a newly renovated town suite with every amenity imaginable including a lovely outside space.
The lobby is abuzz during Happy Hour. The bar serves up great cocktails and a nice selection of wines with some great small bites. We stopped in both evenings we stayed at the hotel.
Note the tile on the front of the bar. It is from Tabarka, one of my favorite tile manufacturers. I think they do a great job updating authentic terra cotta Mediterranean revival tiles without destroying their history.
If you follow me on Instagram you saw my post on the Tabarka tile going up the stairway from the lobby. Again great use of the Tabarka tile. The tile on the top stair is the same tile I used for my kitchen backsplash. You can read more about that in my post I am Smitten Tabarka Tile, and Our Home in Tuscan Style.
The hotel restaurant Mad & Vin is fabulous. We only ate breakfast so I can’t speak for the other meals, but from what I hear they are very good as well. Both days our breakfast was fantastic. I would definitely try dinner on our next trip.
The first night (per Colin and Lauren’s recommendation) we ate at Sy Kitchen in Santa Ynez (a five-minute drive). The food was wonderful and the wait staff incredibly attentive. I would definitely return. The outside seating area is very inviting. It was too chilly the night we were there to enjoy, but I am sure it is lovely on a warm evening.
Saturday we walked around the quaint town of Los Olivos (one of our favs). It has changed quite a lot since our last trip. It is filled with wine tasting rooms and much more shopping than I remember. There are several cute home decor shops and some great women’s clothing boutiques. We only checked out one tasting room in Los Olivos, Epiphany (a Fess Parker property). The wine was okay but the tasting room was very well done with a great outdoor seating area. A great place to stop, take a break and have a leisurely glass.
We then ventured out to Brander. If you aren’t familiar with Brander they were doing Rose & Sauvignon Blanc when they it wasn’t de rigueur. They are still outstanding. The tasting room hasn’t changed, but the wine is worth the stop. The Pinot Blanc was our favorite but all of their Sauvignon Blancs are great as well.
Next stop Buellton (another place you would normally never hit unless you have a craving for well known Anderson’s Pea Soup). However, that is changing as well. We stopped at one of our favorite Pinot spots Alma Rosa. Their new tasting room is very well done and their pinots are always great.
image via sbdigs.com
Next door to Alma Rosa is the AMAZING Industrial Eats. It is not fancy and the food is served “family style”. The place is absolutely brimming with people because the food is a gastronome’s delight. We ordered one of their special salads and one of their wood-fired pizzas. They were both amazing. We met a couple from Montecito (who also have a place in Santa Ynez). Their food looked fantastic and they are regulars, like so many there. If you are anywhere near Buellton, skip the pea soup, and make a beeline for Industrial Eats.
We left there and hit another winery we have enjoyed in the past (just okay) it will remain nameless. We made a quick stop at Margerum (who has a fabulous tasting room in downtown Santa Barbara) and now has a small tasting room at their working facility. We love Margerum so it is always worth a stop.
Night two dinner at the Bear and Star, the new restaurant at the Fess Parker in Los Olivos. Our dinner was quite good. The place was bustling with locals and tourists. The entire inn has been refurbished and it has such a great location it would definitely be worth a revisit.
After dinner, we headed back to the lovely Landsby for a nightcap. Beau enjoyed a bone in the lobby while we enjoyed our wine.