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Cheshire Cat Inn

The Cheshire Cat Inn, established in 1985 and located in Santa Barbara, California, is home to 22 guest accommodations split across multiple buildings. There are two main buildings on the premises, namely the Main House and Eberle House, which are of Victorian style and contain six units each. The name of the inn is inspired by the book Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, and many of the rooms' names are derived from characters in the novel, such as Tweedledum Suite and the Mad Hatter. The property is located a block away from State Street in Santa Barbara, as well as a handful of dining and entertainment attractions. The Cheshire Cat Inn is open year-round, though its busiest season is typically from May to August due to the warmer Californian weather, according to management of the property.


As its name would suggest, the Cheshire Cat Inn has a theme that is inspired by the classic work of literature Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, written by Lewis Carroll. The name was also inspired by the owner's childhood home in Cheshire, England. The names of the units at the property are derived from characters in the novel, such as Alice's Balcony Room and the Tweedledee Studio. Apart from the names of the rooms, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland themes are subtle in the establishment.

The property is comprised of five different buildings spread across just over an acre of land. The first—simply named the Main House—was built during the transition between the late 19th century and the early 1900s. It contains six guest rooms with private bathrooms, flat-screen televisions, and views of the gardens that surround the structure. The other older building at Cheshire Cat Inn is the Eberle House, which is described as the "younger sister" to the Main House and also has six units. The building's name is in honor of its architect. Both the Main House and the Eberle House are connected by a shared brick patio—the most common location for breakfast to be served. Many of the accommodations in the two Victorian buildings have private balconies, causing units such as Alice's Balcony Room and White Rabbit Balcony Room to be some of the inn's most popular. 

There are a total of 22 bedrooms that are available for reservation at the Cheshire Cat Inn. While twelve of them are located in the two Victorian structures on the premises, the remaining ten units are split across five smaller buildings on-site, namely the Coach House and four cottages. The rooms in these smaller structures are more spacious than the ones found in the Main House or Eberle House, in part because they are newer. Each of the four cottages is able to accommodate four guests, allowing them to be used for either a romantic getaway or family vacation. Cottages come equipped with a living room with a fireplace, a kitchen, and a private patio. These buildings can be found across the street from the two Victorian buildings. The Coach House, on the other hand, is found at the back of the main premises of the property, on the opposite side of the business's parking lot. Two units can be found in the Coach House, named after the twins Tweedledee and Tweedledum in Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. The Tweedledum Suite features an in-room Jacuzzi situated next to a bay window and a gas-burning fireplace.

Apart from the units themselves, guests of the Cheshire Cat Inn have access to a few common areas. There is a sitting room inside the Eberle House with a "refreshment center" stocked with tea, coffee, and a fridge that patrons can use for personal food. This sitting room is a common place for breakfast to be served in cases of cold weather. The other communal location of note is the gardens around the premises, which contain a handful of seating options and is "where visitors usually spend their time," according to the manager of Cheshire Cat Inn. 


Apart from the Alice's Adventures in Wonderland theme that is present in each of the buildings at Cheshire Cat Inn, some of the business's unique aspects include its breakfast and proximity to downtown Santa Barbara, California. The breakfasts at the inn are served anywhere between 8 and 10 AM each morning, and the staff of the property uses a text messaging system that allows guests to submit the specific time slot they are most interested in for breakfast. There are two options present at breakfast regarding the main dish. One is described by Simon—who handles day-to-day operations at the inn—as a "continental" meal, which consists of croissants that come from a local bakery. The other choice for patrons is to receive an alternative breakfast that changes each day. Some examples of dishes that have been served include avocado toast, an in-house "Mexican Strata," and French Toast. Regardless of which main dish they choose, each patron has access to fruit bowls, yogurt, and granola. Special accommodations regarding diets or other restrictions come in the form of gluten-free bread or other substitutes. 

In addition to the inn's breakfast, guests have commented on the units, location, and hosts. One person who stayed at the Cheshire Cat Inn stated, "The staff was friendly and took great care to communicate well with guests. The breakfast was a delicious start to the day. And the accommodations were charming, comfortable, clean, and welcoming." Simon explains that guests from various continents have stayed at the property during his time there, including people from China, Europe, and South America. This is in addition to the many visitors that come from other regions in California.

The Cheshire Cat Inn is located one block away from State Street in Santa Barbara, approximately three blocks away from various dining and entertainment establishments, and just over a dozen blocks from the shoreline. Some of the specific dining locations that are recommended by Simon include Sama Sama, Ca'darios, and The Lark, though Simon also states that "Santa Barbara has a lot to offer" beyond that. 

No major events are currently hosted at the inn, though there are plans to create "packages" for guests that would come with experiences or small amenities. For the time being, the property is designed to have an emphasis on relaxation, with goals of creating a comfortable environment.

The Cheshire Cat Inn is open year-round, and occupancy usually is at its highest between May and August of each year, with the occasional busy season extending out into September. Some of the inn's more prominent policies include the prohibition of smoking, pets, and children under the age of 10 in the Main House or Eberle House. It should be noted that children are allowed in the Coach House or any of the cottages. 


The establishment that is currently known as Cheshire Cat Inn was first created in 1985 by Christine and Jack. At the time, the two Victorian buildings (now named the Main House and Eberle House) were in disrepair from years of neglect. The architecture had been buried underneath "peeling paint and overgrown gardens," according to Christine, who purchased the property in 1984 and immediately began work "gutting out" the interiors and adding five guest accommodations to each of the two homes. This work allowed the property to open as the Cheshire Cat Inn in 1985, with the name being inspired by Christine's home in Cheshire, England, as well as the classic novel Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll. 

The Coach House was built five years later in 1990, and the cottages across the street were subsequently incorporated as part of the inn. It is estimated that the cottages were constructed sometime in the 1940s and that the two Victorian buildings were completed in the transition between the 19th century and the early 1900s. As an additional historical fact about the property, it has been rumored that President McKinley stayed in one of the two Victorian homes.

Simon, who helps with the day-to-day operations of the inn, has only recently been involved with the business. His mother is the original owner, Christine, and Simon explains that she got into the hospitality industry because she had previously been a travel agent. He also explains that bed and breakfasts were more popular in the 1980s, which led to the property being branded as a bed and breakfast more explicitly when it first opened. Simon himself assisted with some operations for a year before going to grad school, with his recent return being a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

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36 W. Valerio Street
Santa Barbara, California 93101
United States




Christine & Jack

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