SANTA BARBARA, Calif. -

The Santa Barbara Inn on Cabrillo Blvd. is closed and fenced up for a major remodeling project.

The plans call for work to take place over a 16 -18 month period.  It will include significant changes to the rooms, swimming pool and restaurant.

Over the years, the site on the waterfront has been one of the more popular destinations for visitors who want to see the sunrises and sunsets with few obstructions.

The upstairs restaurant has been home to Don the Beachcomber, Citronelle and Fresco by the Beach.

Many local groups and companies held corporate events there.

General Manager Ed Galsterer says the 69 room site has been at the location for 60 years.  It is locally owned by Richard and Mimi Gunner.

The newly designed property will move the restaurant from the top floor to the street level and in its place new suites will be built.

"It's a restaurant, a bar and a kitchen and all that public space is going to come down here to the ground floor," said Galsterer.  "So you have much more curb appeal  and outdoor dining and we take that  beautiful space on the third floor and create ocean view suites, and guest rooms."

Nearby, Fess Parker's Doubletree Hotel will see changes to each of its 360 rooms over the next three months.  It will stay open the entire time for guests, meetings and special events.

The work will be done in phases.

General Manager Matthew La Vine says, "it includes all of our rooms, suites and corridors.  That will include all of our furniture, artwork, lighting and paint."  All of the beds will be brand new as well.

What won't changes is, "our dedicated team of caring professional hospitality people here and our iconic chocolate chip cookie, (offered to guests)," said La Vine.

The Doubletree Hotel was built in 1987. 

It's large outdoor rotunda is well known as a gathering spot for weddings, corporate events and a kick off party for the annual Old Spanish Days President.

The city says hotel occupancy has gone up in the last year.

The waterfront is still one of the most popular sites for visitors to seek overnight accommodations.   It's also enjoyed a revitalization with the opening of several restaurants, wine tasting rooms and art galleries in the nearby "Funk Zone."