Anyone who has ever spent a noisy night in a stark hotel room appreciates the comforts of home, especially when staying in an unfamiliar place. Thanks to Kelsey Burnett and Leanne Schlinger, owners of Santa Ynez Vacation Rentals, visitors to the Santa Ynez Valley can now lounge in lush backyards and sleep in residential peace.
Offering in-town cottages, as well as elegant estates and rural retreats, Santa Ynez Vacation Rentals has just the right accommodations for groups large and small. All privately owned, the homes range from modern to historic, plush to rustically luxurious, and represent some of the area’s finest properties.
“Vacation rental meshes well with the Valley,” Kelsey Burnett declared, “because people come here to relax and enjoy a beautiful place. There are so many gorgeous homes here, with extras like pools, spas and vineyard views.
“Our guests get to use great kitchens,” she continued, “they can barbecue out by the pool, and in a lot of cases, they can bring their pets and horses, too.”
In addition to singular accommodations, luxury linens, eco-friendly cleaning amenities and precious privacy, Burnett and Schlinger provide comprehensive concierge service with a personal touch.
“If our guests want a glider ride, private wine tasting or spa package we can arrange that for them,” explained Burnett, who grew up in the Valley.
For an additional fee, we’ll even stock the refrigerator from a customized grocery list. “If someone has an idea about what they want to do,” she added, “we’ll make it happen.”
For those who open their homes to vacationers, Santa Ynez Vacation Rentals provides welcome income from properties that may be on the market or second homes sitting empty much of the time.
“It gives homeowners an opportunity to make some money, without a lot of wear and tear on their property,” Burnett said. ”And they can still stay there whenever they want to.”
Often mistaken for sisters, the two business partners met several years ago when Schlinger, then employed in West Hollywood, walked into Burnett’s Santa Ynez stationery store. They hit it off right away, and over a chilled bottle of Sauvignon Blanc, discovered a common flair for entrepreneurial enterprises.
“We talked about how I hated the drive,” Schlinger laughed, “and how she was sick of sitting in a store all day. There’s an old cliché about not going into business with friends, but we’re both old souls who understand common decency and good judgment.
“At the time, I was working for celebrity clients, renting out elaborate estates for private parties. That’s why we started this, I didn’t want to drive to Hollywood anymore.”
The pair brainstormed their innovative business after a trip to Catalina, where they rented two houses for a birthday weekend with friends. An online search revealed not a single local competitor, and Santa Ynez Vacation Rentals was born, with Schlinger handling the vacationers, Burnett the homeowners.
Inspired by their success, the pair has branched out with Santa Ynez Event Sites, a service dedicated to matching locations with hosts planning everything from weddings to business dinners to horseback riding retreats.
“It’s been fun to watch our business grow so quickly,” Burnett said. “There’s really no limit to it. “We love going the extra mile for our customers,” she added. “We want to see people have a wonderful time.”