San Luis Obispo, California

Photo: Piazza Hospitality

There’s an art to wine-tasting trips. They start with a leisurely morning. Coffee on the terrace and a hearty breakfast as you read the news while the sun warms up. The first stop is usually the longest. It includes a tour of both the winery and the vineyards. Lunch is quick. All you need is sandwiches on a picnic table. It’s the afternoon that gets crazy. A couple of stops equals a lot of wine. You’re ready for a nap as soon as you return to your hotel.

That’s why the hotel you select is so important. Sure, you can take a nap anywhere. But the rest of the evening matters, too. You definitely won’t be driving anywhere. You probably won’t even go very far. So you need a comfortable place with lots of options. A new hotel in downtown San Luis Obispo has everything covered.

San Luis Obispo is the oldest city in California. Its location—about halfway between Los Angeles and San Francisco—makes it a popular stopping point between the two cities. So popular, in fact, that the world’s first motel opened here in 1925. In addition to a lot of hotels, visitors find a historic downtown, an 18th-century Spanish mission, and Victorian homes in between the Santa Lucia Mountains and the Pacific Ocean. SLO has also become a popular college town, an exciting arts scene, and a respected foodie destination. Its wineries that surround the city are the icing on the cake.

Photo: Piazza Hospitality

Hotel San Luis Obispo was built with those wineries in mind. The hotel opened at the beginning of the year. It certainly hasn’t been the easiest year for a new hotel. But the downtime has also been a gift. It’s allowed the hotel’s staff to test things out, see what works, and make tweaks as necessary. The result is a bold, playful, and easygoing hotel.

The three-story hotel sits in Chinatown, a smaller historic district in the center of SLO. Daily Bread offers coffee drinks and homemade baked goods in the lobby. A bigger breakfast and a casual lunch are served in Piadina, a bright restaurant with unique pieces of art. The second restaurant, Ox + Anchor, has the opposite vibe. The dinner space has leather banquettes, wooden tables, and wine bottles lining the walls. It’s known for its steak, though its seafood dishes (wild gulf prawn cocktail) shouldn’t be overlooked. While S.Low Bar, a sleek space with a gas fireplace, pays homage to the hotel’s historic setting.

The ground floor flows into the courtyard. This is where the restaurants have outdoor seating. Sol Spa, where you can combine ingredients to create your own scrubs, does, too. Plus there’s a long heated pool. Drinks can be ordered from the wooden sun loungers that line it. Seasonal cocktails (perhaps a pumpkin spice martini) are also served on the rooftop lounge. High Bar has a bocce court, lots of greenery, and a gorgeous view on top of the hotel. It’ll be your first stop after that desperately needed nap. Right now, your sunlight-filled room, complete with handwoven rugs and more modern art, is calling your name. Pinot Noir may have dominated the day, but the evening is wide open.

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