How can a hotel make a name and a niche for itself in a crowded marketplace? In Santa Barbara, the 122-room facility once known as Hotel Oceana has new ownership and a new name, Hotel Milo. The name and ownership change (it’s the Independent Collection’s 10th property) presents opportunities for the harborside boutique property to redefine itself. 

The picture-perfect location speaks for itself: The two-story Hotel Milo (a collection of several Spanish-style buildings,) spans almost a full block on West Cabrillo Boulevard, across the wide avenue from West Beach and the harbor, with busy Stearns Wharf in view. The new name refers to the 1900s, when Milo Potter opened the Hotel Potter in the same location where Hotel Milo now stands.

To enhance the guest experience for individuals and groups, the rebranded property has partnered with several like-minded businesses in town. Biweekly wine tastings are hosted by Les Marchands Wine Bar & Merchant; an outdoor yoga series is sponsored by Santa Barbara’s Lolë activewear; and standup paddle-boarding tours are guided by Santa Barbara Fitness Tours. Hotel Milo’s sales team is expert at curating specific activities to fit a group’s interests.

Groups of 10 to 40 are easily accommodated at the property for company retreats, board meetings and receptions. The oceanfacing, 620-square-foot boardroom (up to 24 seated) is popular with local businesses for its seaside location, beachy vibe and easy access to the outdoors. Lazy Acres Market, known for its organic and locally sourced ingredients, provides the breakfast, lunch and dinner catering/ event menus.

“Appealing to the whimsical business traveler, guests at this property will have access to everything they need in one beautiful oceanfront location,” says Shelley Stearns, general manager. Out front, black beach cruisers emblazoned with Hotel Milo signage are at the ready for a post-meeting spin or for a short ride to Santa Barbara’s exuberant Funk Zone, a collection of wine-tasting rooms, art galleries and eateries.

The wildly popular Magnolia Brewery in San Francisco’s Dogpatch neighborhood has a new addition: Magnolia Hall, a 6,500-square-foot private event space
connected to the always-bustling brewery and taproom. Just a 10-minute walk from Oracle Stadium, where the Giants play, it’s perfect for a pre- or post-game function and for more formal events, too.


Simply the best city hotel I have ever experienced, the Moxy San Diego Downtown/Gaslamp Quarter is fun and different in so many ways. You check in at the bar and the super friendly staff hands you a cocktail. What could be more welcoming than that?


Napa Valley’s Meritage Resort & Spa recently debuted a new program designed to help groups gathering at the resort achieve more “Mindful Meetings.” The program, offered in partnership with Bare Health, can be custom tailored for groups and includes the following wellness-focused activities: meditation, yoga in the vineyard, sound healing, and the creation of juices, smoothies and morning elixirs at the resort’s brand-new Food & Wine Center.