New boutique hotel charms guests with eco-friendly touches and minimalist style.
During a recent stay at the Hotel San Luis Obispo, I wasn’t particularly pining for Healdsburg but kept having flashbacks to time spent at the Harmon Guest House and h2hotel, both of which I review in Fodor’s Napa and Sonoma. Turns out this is another Piazza Hospitality property – different architect, similar sensibility – and a nice one at that.
I particularly appreciated the Hotel SLO’s living wall sign, wide-open lobby, and cactus-lined spa entrance, along with the spa sauna’s salt-crystal wall, the nearby pool, and the bicycles for guest use.
Piazza hotels are known for eco-friendly touches that in San Luis Obispo included hallway lights operated by motion detectors and water stations on every floor (no single-use plastic bottles here). Nice wall art, too.
The minimalist design in the public spaces carries through in the guest-room decor. The rooms are spacious, with clean lines and a sensible layout. My third-floor accommodations on the hotel’s west side had views of Cerro San Luis; other rooms have views of cacti and the pool. The rooftop bar/garden, set for a spring-2020 debut, has views of more of the cerros (hills) surrounding San Luis Obispo.
The Healdsburg connection continued in the restaurants, where executive chef Ryan Fancher, formerly at Barndiva, runs Piadina for casual fare and Ox + Anchor for fine dining. I only had breakfast at Piadina, but the items my party shared – avocado toast, pepperoni pizza with fried egg, French toast, and yogurt, fruit, and granola – powered me through a day of SLO Coast Wine Country tastings.
As in Healdsburg, the staffers here are peppy and helpful and glad to help first-time visitors to San Luis Obispo, many of them parents of prospective or current Cal-Poly students, find their way around town. The hotel is in downtown San Luis Obispo in the Chinatown Historic District, not far from Mission San Luis Obispo de Tolosa.
Daniel Mangin is the author of Fodor’s Napa and Sonoma and coauthor of The California Directory of Fine Wineries Central Coast and Napa and Sonoma editions. He writes about California food and wine for Napa Valley Life, Marin Magazine, Fodors.com, and other outlets.