Of all the gorgeous places to visit in California, the Central Coast area between Santa Barbara and Paso Robles with miles of rugged coastline, golden rolling hills, and flourishing wine regions is ripe for road trips. But where should you stay on your Central Coast road trip?
Conjure your inner adventurous spirit by skipping the mundane 3-star hotels and setting the tone for a memorable time with a stay at one of the unique lodging choices found in this spectacular region. Whatever sparks inspiration in your heart is just a click away. Consider a room in an unpretentious, reimagined former horse stable; wake to vineyard views from a contemporary container, sleeping in an Italian villa with a magnificent art collection, a cottage at a rustic dude ranch off the grid, a sunny beachside bungalow, or kicking back in retro boho surf digs.
Modern and Unpretentious at Stables Inn
The Stables Inn welcomed its first guests in June 2020, and is the newest member of the Hotel Cheval LLC family. The 18-room, plus one bunkhouse, property was completely reimagined and renovated from top to bottom. Inspired by the timeless charm of horses, riders, and traditional whitewashed stables, the Stables Inn features modern, stylish, and unpretentious accommodations, with touches of Western chic. Located just three short blocks from Paso Robles’ historic downtown square, it is a place unlike any other in Paso Robles.
On our road trip to Paso Robles (from Santa Barbara), my daughter and I enjoyed a sound night’s sleep in one of their double rooms. We loved the retro motel feel complete with a bright green vintage truck parked near the entrance. The rooms are inviting with simple white-washed beadboard, plush bedding with fringed suede accent pillows, original art and photographs, and a fridge to store the wine we bought while wine tasting.
Whitewashed Adirondack chairs gather around a fireplace in the central outdoor communal area beneath a spectacular, ancient magnolia tree and beckon you to sit and savor your morning coffee (complimentary coffee and tea are served in the Tack Room every morning), or later, relax with a glass of wine. Plus, Stables Inn is dog-friendly if you are traveling with a K-9 companion.
BOOK: Stables Inn, 730 Spring Street, Paso Robles, CA
Vineyard Retreat Container Rooms at Geneseo Inn
Container homes are all the rage, but I guarantee you’ve never seen anything like what the owners of Cass Winery have created. Nestled in the rolling hills of Paso Robles wine country, Geneseo Inn’s eight stylized industrial shipping crates perched above the vines of Cass Winery’s 145 acres of vineyard offer an experience that truly allows you to “breathe in the vineyard views.”
The themed container rooms are fashioned after iconic songs and movies. Choose one that strikes a chord within you: Easy Rider, Bohemian Rhapsody, At Last, Gaia, Ebony + Ivory, Changes, Country Road, and White Rabbit. Luxe appointments, architectural detailing, and an inclusive Estate Breakfast prepared by the executive chef makes for an unparalleled vineyard retreat.
Elevate your Paso Robles wine country excursion with a private massage or yoga session, or ramp up your adventure by selecting one of the many Cass Camp experiences unique to the Geneseo Inn.
BOOK: Geneseo Inn at Cass Winery, 7350 Linne Road, Paso Robles, CA
Artful Zen at Allegretto Vineyard Resort
For those seeking calm and a zen experience far from the hustle of daily urban life, immerse yourself in art and old-world comfort at Allegretto Vineyard Resort. Meticulously fashioned after an Italian villa, Allegretto Vineyard Resort offers a luxurious experience where guests may be calm and find inspiration and beauty surrounded by an unbelievable collection of rare art and artifacts collected by the owner, Doug Ayres.
The spirit of Paso Robles infuses every detail of the Allegretto’s 171 rooms and suites. The European-inspired accommodations feature relaxing palettes of soft golds and jewel tones, warm woods, and rich neutrals that reflect the natural beauty of the grounds. Many rooms have a terrazza, which offers the ideal spot for enjoying one of their award-winning wines as you take in views of the vineyard, inviting pool, and Piazza Magica. Rejuvenate your mind and body at the spa, reflect in the silence of The Abbey, and practice mindfulness as you circle the world’s first Sonic Labyrinth Sound Circle.
BOOK: Allegretto Vineyard Resort, 2700 Buena Vista Drive, Paso Robles, CA
Rustic Dude Ranch at Circle Bar B Guest Ranch & Stables
Go rustic ranch on your Central Coast road trip. Get a taste of the California ranch lifestyle at the Circle Bar B Guest Ranch. Tucked in the nearby hills of Refugio Canyon, this 1,100-acre off the beaten track treasure offers a variety of accommodations, including ranch rooms, private cabins, and cottages.
You’ll have access to the ranch’s many amenities and activities during your stay, including the chance to explore Santa Barbara’s natural landscape on horseback. Whether you’re an experienced rider or it’s your first time in the saddle, the seasoned wranglers will ensure you have an unforgettable experience. A hearty breakfast and ranch-style dinner are included in the daily room rate. After your ride or trip into town, take a dip in the pool or chill out by the fireplace with a glass of wine. Circle Bar B provides the ideal combination of excitement and relaxation for your adventure.
BOOK: Circle Bar B Guest Ranch & Stables, 1800 Refugio Road, Santa Barbara, CA
Beachside Bungalow at Hotel Milo
Of course, you have to hit the beach on your Central Coast road trip., Guests at Hotel Milo enjoy full access to the best of Southern California’s surf and sun lifestyle. With magnificent views of the Pacific ocean, traditional Spanish-style architecture, and a beautiful courtyard with outdoor pools and gardens, Hotel Milo truly reflects Santa Barbara’s rich colonial history. Situated in West Beach, you’re only steps away from the ocean and all that Santa Barbara has to offer.
The hotel’s sunny blue and white palette reflects the brilliance of ocean and sky and broad swaths of vibrant bougainvillea recall the Mediterranean. The oceanfront property further celebrates the great outdoors with poolside ping pong and bocce ball. Another bonus— beach cruiser bicycles are available to guests for a 2-hour loan.
BOOK: Hotel Milo, 202 West Cabrillo Blvd., Santa Barbara, CA
Retro Boho-Chic at The Kimpton Goodland
Unlike any hotel in Santa Barbara, you’ll find an under-the-radar boho-chic vibe at The Kimpton Goodland. Wake up and practice yoga in your room (complimentary mats provided) or join one of their fitness classes.
Featured in Travel & Leisure, “every room at Kimpton’s Santa Barbara outpost, The Goodland, comes outfitted with a retro Crosley record player. If you’re looking for the perfect music to accompany the room’s boho-beach vibes, but don’t know your Beach Boys from your Best Coast from your Beach Slang, simply call up the hotel’s record concierge. The resident vinyl-head will help guests choose the perfect soundtrack from the hotel’s library of vinyl.”
BOOK: The Kimpton Goodland, 5650 Calle Real, Goleta, CA
Hotel Milo and Kimpton Goodland photos courtesy of Visit Santa Barbara.