Santa Barbara- S County

Montecito Inn reopens with special tribute to mudslide victims

Montecito Inn Tour

MONTECITO, Calif. - The historic Montecito Inn is open once again, nearly two months after it was damaged in the Jan. 9 mudslide. 

On Saturday, the historic boutique luxury hotel welcomed guests from all over back to Coast Village Road.  

"It's been a long journey, but we are glad to be open today," said Jason Copus, the Director of Sales and Marketing. 

On Jan. 9, Copus watched as mud covered the hotel entrance, parking lots and garden in up to four feet of mud. 

Cars that were washed away from neighboring homes came to rest at the Inn's parking exit. 

The hotel was booked, and more than 100 guests were stuck inside. 

"We made sure they were safe, dry and fed until search and rescue could come to get them off of the property," Copus said. "It was like nothing you have seen before. We knew we were going to be closed for a long time, we just didn't know how long that was."

Fast forward nearly two months--there is no trace of mud or debris and the hotel has a fresh coat of paint. 

While the Inn was under repair, the owners paid tribute to the victims by lighting up a skylight for several days in their honor.

Now, the Montecito Inn has a permanent memorial in the new garden. There are 23 stones placed in a circle around a plant. Each stone representing each life lost in the tragedy. 

"I think it's good that they are holding the victims in their hearts and showing it," said resident Debbie Grant. "I think that is very important to remember. Every day we remember. We just have to look around."

The Montecito Inn was built in 1928 and is still standing strong. The owners said they are looking forward to another 90 years. 

"It's a cornerstone to the community. People love coming here," Copus said. 

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