The Bohemian Chic of Kimpton Goodland

Millennials enjoy themselves, and their selfies, at Goleta's Kimpton Goodland Hotel

Kimpton-Goodland-Woodie
The author enjoys the Kimpton Goodland's Woodie.

The Kimpton Goodland Hotel is, according to internal reports, the chain’s most Instagram-ed property. That says something. Kimpton hotels around the country are by and large selfie magnets—but here’s slideshow evidence to back The Goodland’s claim:

Besides Instagram, where can you find The Goodland? In Goleta, a California coastal town that’s a 10-minute drive and one Amtrak station north of downtown Santa Barbara. Goleta and Santa Barbara are sister cities. Still scratching your head? The University of California, Santa Barbara is close enough to The Goodland for that student body to easily pop over for Wednesday Trivia Nights.

Four years ago, this 158-room Santa Barbara County property was remade to exude “bohemian chic.” The current décor belies a past life as a Holiday Inn motor lodge, but in some ways is a slingshot back to both the vibe and the infrastructure of the 1960s (though the “hippie-chic” label is frowned upon).

In a nod to the past and as testament to the ever-circling nature of style, parked in front of The Goodland is an antique Ford Country Squire wagon with the wood-grain body trim that earned these cars the nickname “Woodies.” The driveway is complemented by a silver, Summer of Love-era Airstream Tradewind trailer. You can climb aboard the Woodie and the Airstream and fire off selfies at will.

Vinyl at Goodland

Crosley-record-player-Goodland-Hotel
Every room at The Goodland has a Crosley record player.

Guests at The Goodland should prepare for a visit by packing for fun and rediscovery. In an exceptionally cool nod to retro ambiance, one of the first things that grabs my attention inside the lobby is Vinyl. It’s a record shop—a nook, really—filled with vinyl record albums.

You can buy music here (people actually used to do that on the regular, y’know). Choose among classic records by Tom Petty or The Eagles, or grab a disc grooved with the soulful, contemporary stylings of Leon Bridges, who, natch, sounds mostly like a ’60s R&B artist in the mold of Otis Redding or Sam Cooke.

Let’s say, though, that you aren’t familiar with Leon Bridges. No prob—you can check out his album at the front desk and listen to it in the comfort of your own pad. Because along with surfer chic wall art and sliding farmhouse bathroom doors, each Goodland guestroom includes a Crosley turntable that plays these 33-1/3-rpm vinyl offerings.

The Goodland Outpost

Good-night-Goodland-Hotel
It was a good night at The Goodland.

The Goodland boho community spirit shows itself when I’m invited to participate in a very officially run salsa-making competition. It feels like a Food Network show (sans Guy Fieri), and that lends some excitement.

All the ingredients, fixings and spices are laid out on a meeting room table. My partner and I create a “Bringing the Heat” offering that includes four kinds of spicy peppers. Alas, we lose to a fruit-forward recipe dominated by fresh mango.

A loss is a loss, but this contest is palatable from beginning to end.

Equally palatable is the locally sourced menu at the hotel’s indoor-outdoor Outpost Restaurant. Our group eats dinner family-style, and I sample a variety of good-landing tastes, including: fried Brussel sprouts topped with yellow curry, roasted garlic aoli and chili flakes; crispy chicken wings seasoned with a chili vinaigrette; and mussels in a coconut broth with red curry and braised leeks.

Dinner with this smorgasbord of passed plates is delicious—and so engrossing that I forget to take any food photos…which makes this portion of my Goodland Hotel experience an Instagram anomaly. The rest will live on in Instagram infamy.  J&J

(The white, faux sheep jacket featured in the slideshow is available at Cage in Santa Barbara; $30.)