Photography Provided By: Cuyama Buckhorn 
Photography Provided By: Cuyama Buckhorn 

This Off-the-Grid Roadside Resort in the High Desert Is the Perfect Weekend Escape

Midcentury Meets California Cowboy at This Reimagined Motel in Cuyama Valley

When design-build team Ferial Sadeghian and Jeff Vance first laid eyes on this iconic roadside resort in New Cuyama, they knew they had found something special. Designed in 1952 by George Vernon Russell––the architect behind the Flamingo Hotel in Las Vegas––the Cuyama Buckhorn had good midcentury-modern bones but needed a lot of love. Now completely restored and restyled to incorporate gorgeous outdoor spaces and a ‘Gram-worthy pool, the 21-room high desert retreat is putting this soon-to-be-discovered destination in northern Santa Barbara County on the weekend getaway map.

With hiking and horseback riding in the nearby Los Padres National Forest to go with wineries, a wildlife refuge for California condors and the Carrizo Plain National Monument to explore, for a stylish stay in the “Hidden Valley of Enchantment,” look no further. Rooms are decked out with cowhide rugs and vintage cowboy hats, plus a new-school mini bar called the Golden State Goodies box. Outside, there’s a bocce ball court, barrel sauna and cozy seating areas to toast s’mores beside the fire while catching a sunset over the Caliente Mountains. 

Beyond swoon-worthy design digs, Sadeghian and Vance have made the Buckhorn a must-visit for food lovers, too, thanks to culinary and community-focused workshops and hyper-local eatery, The Buckhorn Restaurant. Helmed by Executive Chef Daniel Horn, produce from small-scale farms and ranches in Cuyama Valley shines across dishes, including the signature Santa Maria-style tri-tip sandwich smoked on red oak. Belly up for drinks at The Buckhorn Bar (or have them delivered poolside) and sip your way through Bar Manager Brandon Gomez’s cocktail list that showcases small-batch spirits and housemade bitters. 

Skip the crowded desert destinations this year and head to Cuyama Buckhorn for the perfect mix of off-the-grid relaxation and trendy accommodations.


Before heading home, load up on local items like Rock Front Ranch Honey, a bottle of Cuyama Beverage Co. JuJu-Bee Mead or Pedro Ximénez from Condor’s Hope Vineyard. Skip the crowded desert destinations this year and head to Cuyama Buckhorn for the perfect mix of off-the-grid relaxation and trendy accommodations.

Cuyama Buckhorn
4923 Primero St
New Cuyama, CA 93254

Photography Provided By: Cuyama Buckhorn 

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Keri Bridgwater is a freelance writer covering travel and lifestyle. Her work has been featured in Fodor’s Travel, Marie Claire, Matador Network and InsideHook, among other outlets and publications.


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