Central Coast Sleeps
By Tiobe Barron
When it comes to scenic, relaxing, unique and luxurious hotels and inns, the Central Coast has an embarrassment of riches. Whether you have a yen to stay somewhere romantic, contemporary and hip, retro and funky, or comfy and cozy, you get your pick of the hospitality industry’s creme de la creme in San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara and Ventura counties. Here’s a selection of Central California gems we love.
Santa Ynez Inn
3627 Sagunto St., Santa Ynez
This Four Diamond rated Inn is the perfect destination for those seeking understated elegance and comprehensive luxurious amenities, including Tesla charging stations, an on-site full service spa, and outdoor fire pits to relax by. “Our charming property is thoughtfully appointed with a variety of signature services … that appeals to discerning guests who aspire to find an escape from the hustle and bustle to a place where comfort, food and wine come together,” says Santa Ynez Inn Marketing Director Veronika Libao. “With every stay, guests can enjoy made-to-order breakfast each morning, and Wine Hour and Seasonal Dessert in the evenings. We also proudly partner with over a dozen local wineries to provide guests with an exclusive Tasting Passport, perfect for experiencing all that the lush valley has to offer. The passport includes complimentary tastings for two at every winery on the list.”
For reservations and more: (805) 688-5588 or www.santaynezinn.com
2476 Main St., Cambria
In keeping with Cambria’s already romantic seaside village feel, this 1865 boutique hotel sits amidst vibrant, picturesque gardens; a 130 year-old Redwood tree bedecks the property’s front entry. The interior speaks to old world elegance meets crisp ocean air, and while rooms are free of televisions and phones, the property does have free WiFi. This is the perfect spot for a restful, restorative, distraction-free getaway.
For reservations and more: (805)927-3222 or www.olallieberry.com
Pea Soup Andersen’s Inn
51 East Highway 246, Buellton
This iconic, Tudor-style has been a family-run California institution since the 1970s. It’s located in Buellton, just outside of Solvang — California’s unofficial Little Denmark. Little touches like the on-site pool to cool off in the summer heat, to the trademark pea soup, conspire to make Pea Soup Andersen’s feel like home-away-from-home. “Our biggest goal really is the repeat guests,” says Vincent Solorio of Pea Soup Andersen’s. Where other chain hotels are profit-driven, he says Andersen’s focuses on value and rapport, developing real relationships with travelers and using the opportunity to act as an emissary for this unique pocket of California.
For Reservations: (805) 688-3216 or www.peasoupandersens.com
King Frederik Inn
1617 Copenhagen Dr., Solvang
Situated right in the heart of Solvang, King Frederick Inn is owned and operated by the same family that brought us Pea Soup Andersen’s Inn. “It’s right in the hustle and bustle of the city. There are attractions just steps from our front door,” says Solorio, who hosts wine tours from both locations. “We try to go over the top for guests. We want you you to feel relaxed, but not cooped up, to get a real feel for this place.” $50 gets you a tour of four (or more, or fewer; the choice is yours) local wineries. Shops, art galleries, museums and parks are all within walking distance of the King Frederik, and breakfast is served daily on the house.
For Reservations and more: (805) 688-5515 or www.kingfrederikinn.com
Wine Stone Inn
255 West Clark Ave., Orcutt
Nestled in the heart of Orcutt and surrounded by wine country, this 12-room boutique offers casual elegance with its luxurious details like plush bathrobes, sumptuous beds, contemporary decor, welcome baskets, and a manager’s reception held nightly from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. with complimentary beer, wine and grub. “What makes us really proud is that we look at this as an extension of our home,” says Lauren Wise. “We want to show you our town, to have the full experience from start to finish, make sure it’s relaxing.”
For Reservations and more: (805) 332-3532 www.winestoneinn.com
The Butler Hotel
1511 Monterey St., San Luis Obispo
A former 1950s prefab automotive garage made by the Butler Manufacturing Co., The Butler Hotel building was rescued by a local architect who bought the property to ensure it wouldn’t be torn down. The goal: to provide guests somewhere unique to stay when visiting the area at a time when San Luis Obispo was less of a tourist hot spot than it is today. With hand-written notes awaiting each guest upon arrival, a personalized entry code they can reuse when revisiting, a communal record player and vinyl library and more, the six-room Butler Hotel is truly a one-of-a-kind experience. “The hotel was designed not as hotel people, but as and for people who love to travel. (The Butler) has more a feeling of a staying in a friend’s granny flat, rather than a big, anonymous hotel,” says Kelly Santos. “I really love this job. I have quite the collection of handwritten notes from guests (46% of whom are repeat customers). It’s better than tips!”
For reservations and more: (805) 548-1884 or www.thebutlerhotel.com
The Blue Iguana Inn
11794 N. Ventura Ave., Ojai
Husband-and-wife duo Julia and Marc Whitman envisioned creating a truly unique destination when they launched The Blue Iguana Inn. Marc, an architect and painter, handled the design and construction of the buildings, while Julia traveled the world to curate the interiors. “We strive for a creative, artistic experience. It’s a very unique and beautiful environment,” says Julia. “The whole thing really is art, from the architecture, to the broken tile mosaics, the stonework throughout the property, and the many local artists’ artwork featured in the rooms.” The result is a getaway that truly evokes the spirit of the Ojai Valley, simultaneously artsy and earthy, casually glamorous.
For reservations and more: (805) 646-5277 or www.blueiguanainn.com
Emerald Iguana Inn
108 Pauline St., Ojai
Brought to you by Marc and Julia Whitman, the same dynamic family who created the Blue Iguana Inn, the Emerald Iguana Inn is centrally located in Ojai, and features bungalows geared toward extended stay visitors. The property features lush native plant landscaping, a whirlpool spa, sanctuary pool, and suites that feel more like elegant, well-appointed townhomes than typical hotel accommodations. Continental breakfast is served daily, and rental bicycles are available, so you can truly experience Ojai like a local. Non-cyclists will find downtown Ojai just a few blocks away by foot.
For reservations and more: (805) 646-5277 or www.emeraldiguana.com
Lavender Inn and Spa
210 East Matilija St., Ojai
This landmark bed and breakfast right in the heart of downtown Ojai was once the city’s first schoolhouse. Magical flower gardens bedeck the property, a locale so romantic it’s become a popular destination for tying the knot. “Our property is so much larger than people expect … They come back into our gardens and are shocked at the size because the house itself and the gardens look small from the front,” says Lavender Inn owner Kathy Hartley. “We also have so many nooks and crannies for people to hang out. This summer we had a Secret Garden, which was a vine-covered room we walked through an arch … It was sooo cool! Some people got married in front of that arch.” But the beauty and sensuality isn’t limited to couples; Lavender Inn is also home to Ojai Culinary School, serving up specialty cooking classes, and a spa specializing in results-oriented facials and massage therapy, so you can nourish and pamper yourself no matter the occasion.
For reservations and more: (805) 646-6635 or www.lavenderinn.com
Inn on Summer Hill
2520 Lillie Ave., Summerland
Inspired by the Cape Cod designs of Nantucket, Mabel and Paul Shults built the Inn on Summer Hill in the late 1980s after deciding, following years of designing hotels for clients, to finally create a project of their very own. “The Inn has been family run for all these years, with daughter Lin Richardson managing for several years, and currently (myself),” says daughter Paulette Bermant. “Paul and Mabel are still actively involved. The Inn on Summer Hill is a passionate part of the family and we are committed to giving our guests a special experience each stay.” Located in Summerland, a quaint coastal community just south of Santa Barbara, the Inn on Summer Hill offers gorgeous ocean views, fireplaces in each room, complimentary fresh breakfast, afternoon hors d’oeuvres/wine and cheese, and desserts served daily.
For reservations and more: (805) 969-9998 or www.innonsummerhill.com
1021 Pine St., Paso Robles
Two words: s’mores butler. That’s right; at Hotel Cheval, a designated deliverer of deliciousness is on hand in the courtyard from dusk to 9:45 p.m. nightly, solely to dole out complimentary marshmallow-chocolate-graham cracker sandwiches. If that’s not enough to satisfy your sweet tooth, an on-site candy bar awaits you in the library. The 16-room Hotel Cheval is steps from Paso Robles historic town square, and offers up quiet luxuries and authentic comfort. Thoughtful touches, from the Brown Butter Cookie Company welcome treats, daily newspapers delivered to each room every morning, two electric vehicle charging stations on site, a gourmet breakfast buffet featuring fair-trade locally roasted coffee and pasture-raised eggs, walk-in European showers, and cozy wood-burning fireplaces in common areas indoors and out, all ensure your stay here will be memorable and sweet.
For reservations and more: (805) 226-9995 or www.hotelcheval.com
Bella Capri Inn & Suites Camarillo
2050 E. Ventura Blvd., Camarillo
Located in Old Town Camarillo, Bella Capri Inn & Suites is centrally located to the Camarillo Outlets shopping center, and California State University Channel Islands. Amenities include flat screen TVs, free WiFi, on-site vending machines, breakfast area, fitness equipment, and office meeting spaces indoors and out. Dogs are allowed on the ground floor, with an additional deposit. An on-site restaurant, Old Town Cafe, is available if you’re feeling peckish.
For reservations and more: (805) 482-0777 or www.bellacapriinn.com
4923 Primero St., New Cuyama
This hidden gem in an area of Santa Barbara County known as the “Hidden Valley of Enchantment” is a destination all in its own right. Nestled between Carrizo Plains National Monument and the Los Padres National Forest, Cuyama Buckhorn is a perfect getaway for stargazers and outdoor adventurers. “The inn is an old-meets-new, rustic culinary haven just off the beaten path in Central California. With an emphasis on sustainability, as well as unique culinary experiences, there truly is something special happening in the area right now,” says Kati Miller, Buckhorn media and marketing Account Coordinator. “It’s a classic old motel that is getting a stylish revamp from two Los Angeles designers, set to be completed in late Spring 2020. The vibe is Stone Barns meets Marfa, meets something like Scribner’s Catskills Lodge. The road from Ojai to New Cuyama is the only unmarked Scenic Highway in North America, and is a great way to have a fun California road trip, escape the city, and indulge in curated dining experiences like no other.” Sustainability, community, and gourmet food are all integral to Cuyama Buckhorn, which sources local ingredients from surrounding wineries, ranches and farms. Menus incorporate cheese from Santa Barbara Cheese Co., honey from Rock Front Ranch, eggs from SZ Ranch, and wine from Condor’s Hope and Sagebrush Annie’s. “After a couple of years entrenching ourselves in the culture, we are truly starting to understand the food and more specifically the local, small farming world,” says proprietor Ferial Sadeghian. “And it really is incredibly rewarding when you can do business with people you know and have formed friendships with.” “My approach to hospitality is driven by simplicity and honesty. Our situation in the valley will be unique in that we are also there to serve the greater good of a very small community,” Matthew Roberts, Cuyama Buckhorn Culinary Director and Farm Liaison, says. “The hotel will provide a beautiful oasis in which to disconnect from the hustle of day-to-day life in the city. The serenity and silence of the valley will be a place to lose yourself and find yourself at the same time.”
For reservations and more: (661) 766-2825 or www.cuyamabuckhorn.com