Get away: Kirkwood Collection’s Hideaway Santa Barbara


A little over a year after the Thomas fire and mudslides devastated the Montecito area, Kirkwood Collection’s Hideaway Santa Barbara, which opens June 15th, is the latest property to beckon travelers back to the “American Riviera” with its combination of old world charm and new world amenities.

The fourth destination in Kirkwood Collection’s portfolio of boutique properties in iconic California destinations–which includes Palm Springs, Rancho Mirage, and San Luis Obispo–the intimate nine-room Hideaway Santa Barbara is carved out of 1908 California Craftsman and a secluded Carriage House within walking distance of the beach, the harbor, the city’s award-winning restaurants, the Urban Wine Trail, and the Funk Zone.

Michelle McClory, Kirkwood Collection’s design director, who has worked alongside Jeffrey Alan Marks and Michael S. Smith, has forged an elegant, understated space, amplified by an abundance of natural light. “Because the architecture strikes a California Craftsman chord, it presented the opportunity to move away from the traditional Spanish Colonial Revival approach.” McClory recalls, “Alex Kirkwood [founder & president of Kirkwood Collection] and I wanted to present something new, while maintaining a respectful nod to the history of the architecture of Santa Barbara.”

“The use of light in the space was key and very deliberate. Much of my initial inspiration for the space came from the skylights and the specific way in which the sunlight streamed in through the double sided, triple-height windows of the Solarium onto the (then sunken) floor. With such close proximity to the ocean, beach and Marina, I wanted to create an airy space that nodded to the coast without too much emphasis on the expected blue and white palette.”

The first order of business was to transform the drab yellow exterior. McClory campaigned for a custom “Hideaway Blue” that instantly transformed the building. “It’s rich and inviting and it sets the stage for the interiors. In fact, we get “we love the blue!” comments daily!”

Inside, McClory relied on a style that she characterizes as “California Craft meets Coastal Whimsy.” It grew out of the challenge that turned out to be one of the Hideaway’s biggest strengths: each room is unique in size and shape. What unites them is a design vocabulary of organic furniture, residential design elements, fireplaces, and luxury linens that, as McClory characterizes it, “creates an ethereal quality, much like a gentle ocean breeze”.

“I am especially proud of the Reception Lounge and the Solarium, ” McClory says. Previously dark and gloomy, McClory knew that she’d need to incorporate a Reception area. Positioned under the skylight, a custom desk with a return and a large storage piece, whose design is inspired by an 18th century antique cabinet, create a welcoming focal point.

“Keeping with my desire to maintain light flowing into the space, I designed the front façade of the desk to have slatted panels to allow the light to pass through and create a sense of shadow play and I raised the entire piece onto legs to make it look more like a piece of furniture than a traditional reception desk. I played with the configuration and levels of the tiered countertop and love how it feels like a continuous thought down to the bottom of the waterfall edge and welcomes guests from all angles”.

In the Solarium, which McClory cites as her favorite room on the property, the dilemma involved creating an area that served triple duty: a place for people to eat, an inviting area in which to work during the day, and a relaxing lounge in which to unwind with a glass of wine in the evening. “The room was originally set up with a large dining table in the center and cabinetry along the window walls so there wasn’t any flow. I knew that the best way to open things up would be to create banquette seating around the perimeter of the room. This immediately created the needed flow in the space and allowed me to build in very comfortable seating that didn’t feel like traditional “dining room” seating. In contrast to the vibrant blue of the exterior which you see through the windows, the interior colors are very soothing. A massive custom metal Bird art installation adds movement and interest to the space. Now, sitting there on a bright sunny afternoon feels like a magical experience.”

Kirkwood Collection’s Hideaway Santa Barbara, 420 W Montecito St, Santa Barbara, CA 93101, 805.965.2333. Nightly rates start at $350.