The Steward, a Tribute Portfolio Marriott Hotel, will debut this spring in Santa Barbara, Calif., offering guests a secret hideaway, tucked between the ocean and mountains in California’s idyllic central coast. Sitting on nearly five verdant acres of lavish gardens, the 87-all suite boutique hotel will be rooted in the land’s rich history with a focus on sustainability. The property promises to embrace its future and anchor all of its efforts into being good stewards – both of its lush locale and its guests.
Originally purchased in the late 1860s by pioneer horticulturist Joseph Sexton, the land became home to his family’s estate, known as “The Sexton House,” along with one of the area’s first nurseries. Today, the Sexton House serves as both a historical landmark in Santa Barbara, as well as The Steward’s crown jewel, giving guests the opportunity to explore many of his signature trees and plants that still grace the grounds. With sustainability at its core, The Steward will find inspiration in Sexton’s desire to care for the land and become a complementary part of the natural surroundings. As part of this commitment, the hotel will have green initiatives at every turn, from no single-use plastics to staff uniforms made of sustainable and vegan materials to a partnership with the local farm across the street for food composting. Guests will be encouraged to participate in its green programming with refillable water bottles and water stations throughout the property, along with informational talks with local eco-friendly groups and inspiring quotes placed throughout the property promoting sustainability.
Curated and designed by Los Angeles-based firm, SANDdesign, The Steward’s interiors will invite guests into its refined, yet playful style, focused on balancing California’s natural elements and vibrant open spaces with a Southern European farmhouse flair. The design pays homage to the history of the property, preserving the original character of the buildings, while bringing forth a Central Coast relaxed vibe with inviting nooks and spaces. With the intent to evoke a “Secret Garden” feel, guests will be surrounded by many of Sexton’s original trees and unique plantings, with even the newer elements drawing inspiration from his gardens, such as pampas grass, birds-of-paradise, and palm and citrus trees.
The nature-inspired design will feature a palette of environmental tones with touches of citrus and deep foliage green, as well as interspersed accents of flora and hummingbirds. Suites will be reminiscent of historical, residential estate architecture combined with updated, modern touches and distinctive details including water-colored pictures of The Sexton House.
Continuing to embrace the destination, the hotel’s signature restaurant, Terra, meaning “of the earth,” will incorporate locally-sourced ingredients that showcase and highlight the area’s rich bounty of agriculture. The seasonally-driven menus will draw inspiration from California and Mediterranean fare, offering approachable, produce-driven dishes that are both aesthetically pleasing and nourishing. While bringing The Steward to life, the team discovered a journal on-property from the 1930s that features one of the first recorded recipes for avocado toast. The journal is still on property today and guests will be able to try the original recipe on Terra’s aesthetically pleasing yet nourishing menu. Guests will enjoy thoughtful touches throughout the menu including herbs from the property’s very own gardens, botanical blooming tea service and organic mocktails in partnership with DrinkTilden for upscale sips sans alcohol. Terra’s pre-packed picnic kit will allow guests to dine amidst the breathtaking grounds or neighboring beaches and mountain terrain, while remaining sustainable with compostable wood wrapped cutlery.
Upon completion, the hotel will feature a lobby library and intimate market, 1,835 square feet of meeting and event space for spirited gatherings and events, a nature inspired cozy bar with signature garden-cocktails, custom local artwork, a tasting room featuring local wine and high-end spirits, and a plethora of hidden moments scattered throughout the grounds — from a serene pool surrounded by nature, a daybed swing, outdoor dining and fitness, and artistic benches scattered among the gardens, all spaces are designed to enrich and feed the soul. With a commitment to supporting its local Goleta community, guests will enjoy programming and outings through The Steward’s local partners such as Santa Barbara Gift Baskets, Cutlers Distillery, 805 Bees, Ocean Ranch Organics, Gleason Family Vineyards, Something Good Organics and Jessica Foster Confections.