You’ll find this former roadside inn in San Luis Obispo, a charmingly laidback city in Central California.
There’s a small airport in San Luis Obispo, but you’ll need to connect through a larger hub like San Francisco, Los Angeles, Dallas or Denver.
The San Luis Obispo Amtrak station has daily services by the Coast Starlight train (which travels between Los Angeles and Seattle) and the Pacific Surfliner (which travels along the coast from San Luis Obispo to San Diego).
A former roadside inn, the lodge makes the perfect overnight stop if you’re cruising California’s coastline and there’s plenty of free parking on site.
Worth getting out of bed for
Borrow one of the hotel’s stylish Linus bikes to explore San Luis Obispo; one of the city’s unofficial landmarks is Bubblegum Alley on Higuera Street, a 70ft-long alleyway where passersby are actively encouraged to stick their spent bubblegum on the walls (squeamish types, you can probably skip this one). You’ll find fresher fare at the famous farmers’ market (every Thursday from 6-9pm) which is more of a weekly block party than a place to do your weekly shopping – as well as fresh produce and street food, there are live bands, bars, a bouncy castle and face painting. The next day, walk it off with a hike on the coastal paths and (in spring) wildflower-strewn trails of Montana D’Oro state park. Or, if you’ve brought your board, head out and join the surfers at Pismo Beach (if you’re just spectating, you can watch them bobbing in the breakers from the safety of the pier).
Conditions are optimal for creating premium wines in this region of Central California and the rise of the Paso Robles region’s prestige is proof. Book ahead for tastings at Tablas Creek in the Santa Lucia mountains, Austin Hope where there are outdoor cabanas facing the vines, or Justin which offers food pairings of cheese, charcuterie and chocolate with their Bordeaux-style blends.
For breakfast, head to Scout Coffee, a locally-loved specialty coffee shop with freshly baked treats; there are smoothie bowls, cold-pressed juices and avocado galore at Seeds that sits, aptly, on Garden Street. For a casual lunch, wholesome neighbourhood café Sally Loo’s specialises in local and seasonal fare (quinoa bowls, burgers and flavour-packed soups). At Novo there’s a sprawling patio with views of a creek and a long list of local wines. For rustic Italian, go to Giuseppe’s – the Pugliese-inspired dishes are made with ingredients fresh from Giuseppe’s own farm in Edna Valley; the Ox and Anchor puts a modern spin on the classic steakhouse with a menu that shines a light on the county’s land and sea suppliers.
Sidecar is the place for artisanal cocktails – you could spend a whole evening quizzing the bartenders about the names behind the drinks (‘Oh Damn Trina!’ and ‘Karen’s New Attitude’ raised a few questions for us) – they’re paired up with comforting bar bites like tater tots, Baja fish tacos and cheese-laden fries.