Chef Alexander La Motte Star of Hotel Californian

The famed Hotel Californian, designed by local architectural firm DesignArc and developed by Michael Rosenfeld sits on the site of the original Hotel Californian at 36 State Street, with the original facade being skillfully retained. The official opening in October adds one more irresistible attraction to Santa Barbara's popular waterfront and Funk Zone area. Overseeing the menus for the newest Santa Barbara Hotel is Executive Chef Alexander La Motte.

Hotel Californian Santa Barbara

Alexander La Motte is executive chef overseeing all of the hotel's culinary operations, including its exquisite Mediterranean and Contemporary American restaurant and the gourmet café, as well as a hands-on role creating customized offerings for special events and celebrations. He was executive chef at the Four Seasons Hotel San Francisco, where he leads all culinary operations and was instrumental in the reconceptualization and conversion of the former Season's Restaurant to MKT Restaurant - Bar, now a top-rated San Francisco Steakhouse.

La Motte graduated with honors from The Culinary Institute of America and went on to intern at prestigious New York City dining bastions Jean George and Daniel Boulud. Moving to Napa Valley, he embraced roles at Thomas Keller's Per Se and The French Laundry in Napa Valley where he served as chef de partie. La Motte also served as the saucier at Café Boulud in Palm Beach, Fla., sous chef at Daniel Boulud Brasserie in Las Vegas, chef de cuisine at The Park Chalet in San Francisco, executive sous chef at The Clift Hotel in San Francisco and executive chef of the Four Seasons Hotel Westlake Village, California.

Brunch on Goat Tree Cafe

La Motte brings his sterling pedigree, expertise, and passion to the Hotel Californian, to establish the top culinary destination in Santa Barbara and central California.A property created with a real love for California in mind, and fascinating design touches reflecting the unique beauty of Morocco is now an exquisite new addition to the Santa Barbara community. From top to bottom the design is smart, sophisticated and sensually delightful with views of the Pacific Ocean from the rooftop that are simply breathtaking.

The hotel is part of three corners that also includes 20,000 square feet of commercial area featuring meeting and event spaces, a fitness center, a fashion boutique and two restaurants: Goat Tree open from 7 a.m to 9 p.m. daily and Blackbird, open only in the evening from 5 p.m. to 10:00 p.m.

Goat Tree Cafe

The Goat Tree Restaurant, offering good food with a Moroccan twist, features restaurant dining or on their charming outdoor patio overlooking Street toward the wharf. Their menu is filled with healthy and delicious breakfast, lunch and dinner items. A breakfast of quiche with onions & bacon, arugula salad and a cup of amazing fresh fruits is a start to a perfect day in Santa Barbara. They offer a variety of amazing chef inspired dishes like fish stew-Bernard, rabbit & squid with crispy couscous, quinoa tabbouleh salad, lamb meatball sandwiches, and all the usual healthy favorites locals love.

Pastry Chef Benjamin Kunert, formerly Executive Pastry Chef with Hotel Atlantis and Giardino Group in Switzerland, is the main man for fresh bakery goods and pastries throughout that are magnificent. Goat Tree also offers a selection of cold-pressed juices and smoothies. This is a delightful breakfast or brunch experience to start the day in Santa Barbara.

Blackbird Signature Restaurant

Signature restaurant Blackbird could be seen as a place where contemporary meets casual, with a full menu to please any taste, from beef to seafood paired with great salads and vegetable dishes it's all delicious. The room design is chic attractive but very comfortable, with a full bar. Located one block from the Pacific Ocean it offers the opportunity to take an after dinner walk along the beach.

The hotel detailing, including arches, deep-set windows, terra cotta roof tiles, copper gutters, decorative wrought iron, and plaster cornices and finials, in the 121 rooms and entire property are reminiscent of what has become known as Santa Barbara style. The interiors were done by Martyn Lawrence Bullard, and are exquisitely Moorish-inspired. More than two million pieces of interior tile were used throughout the hotel.

A not to miss escape at Hotel Californian is Majorelle Moroccan style spa, where Chef La Motte also creates divine small plates for guest to enjoy in the spa or while relaxing on the rooftop pool following treatments. Majorelle is a dream venue straight from Moroccan heaven with a surreal waiting room covered with hand-made blue and white tiles and exotic designer seats under one of he most exquisite light fixtures you may ever see. The service menu includes services and products from around the world. They are using the very finest skin care products available, and have hired expert therapists for all treatment needs. From purist oil blends for healing to a fun Funk Zone Massage is will please. For reservations and information visit:

The Hotel Californian
36 State Street
Santa Barbara CA 93101
(805) 882-0100

By Bonnie Carroll

About Bonnie Carroll
Bonnie Carroll has been a food/travel/lifestyle writer since 1983. She is the founder & publisher of Bonnie Carroll's Life Bites News -, does travel and food reporting on KZSB1290 radio, and contributes to a variety of national and international travel/lifestyle publications. Her first children's book C.C. Charles was published in 2002 and she is currently working on a second book. Contact her at Contact her at


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