Set at the foot of the Santa Lucia Mountains, San Luis Obispo is a California city well-loved for its award-winning wine, farm-fresh food, and outdoor adventure possibilities. The large choice of places to stay in San Luis Obispo is equally appealing, geared towards foodies, nature lovers, and history buffs.
A quinta is a Portuguese country estate, and this eye-catching hotel in San Luis Obispo (SLO), with its spiky angles and classy minimalist suites, is a modern take on that brief. With views of the Santa Lucia Mountains looming in the background and the walking trails of South Hills nearby, this is a great choice for outdoorsy types, but Downtown SLO – with its Spanish mission and museum of local art – is right on your doorstep, too.
The elegant Garden Street Inn sits in the historic Downtown district, a short walk from the Spanish mission, where the old monks’ quarters now house a museum exploring the colonial period. While Spanish history echoes through town, French country architecture inspired the decor of this particular San Luis Obispo boutique hotel, with cozy guest rooms and a wood-paneled library that begs you to curl up on a sofa and get into a good book.
“Quality” is certainly the word to describe this Spanish-inspired hotel, where tiled fountains decorate the lobby and your suite features extra touches like an extra sofa bed to make you feel at home. An outdoor pool, hot tub, and barbecue grill mean it’s tempting to never leave the grounds, but you must, to explore the hiking trails of High School Hill, the strangely compelling (if kind of gross) art installation of Bubblegum Alley, and the colonial-era architecture of Downtown.
Bringing together the rural charm and boho artistry that characterizes California’s Central Coast, San Luis Creek Lodge has a breezy hippy charm but doesn’t compromise on luxury. Be sure to check out the works of local painters and sculptors at the San Luis Obispo Museum of Art, and discover more about the rich history of the city at the San Luis Obispo County Historical Museum, just across the street.
It’s hard to imagine a more classic Californian motel than the Sunbeam, with its vintage sign, traditional rooms, and cheerful, sunny paint job. For an even more retro fix of motels in San Luis Obispo, be sure to head up the road to the remains of the Motel Inn – opened in 1925 as the first motel in the world – and, then, take time to explore the riverside greenery of nearby Cuesta Park.
There’s a youthful, collegiate vibe to the Kinney, which features a large open-plan social area with a self-serve bar, pub-style restaurant, and board games – perfect for getting to know fellow guests. The campus atmosphere extends to the rooms, which have a surfy aesthetic and include a Grad Suite and a duplex Dean Suite. Other facilities include a gym, an outdoor pool, and rental bikes.
Huge, floor-to-ceiling windows invite the outside in at Hotel San Luis Obispo, flooding the colorful, artistically appointed guest rooms with natural light. Some also have balconies or terraces overlooking the mountains. The local ethos extends to the several eating and drinking options, which source produce from around SLO – try the grilled lobster tail from Ox and Anchor, the wild Pacific swordfish at Piadina, or grab a coffee and a croissant from bakery Daily Bread. When evening comes, watch the sunset over the valley with a glass of zinfandel at the High Bar.
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