Without a doubt, Paso Robles is California’s next great wine country. Lush hills, gardens and grapes, along with a highly cultivated culinary scene, bring weekenders to this area to relax in an up-and-coming, still-unspoiled area in the state’s vast viniculture terrain.
Located in the heart of San Luis Obispo County’s sunny Central Valley — approximately 200 miles south of San Francisco and 17 miles east of the Pacific Ocean — the city of Paso Robles is clearly defined by the Downtown City Park, a large historic plaza that hosts entertainment and culinary events throughout the year. Lining the plaza are some of the city’s best restaurants, Powell’s candy shop, several tasting rooms, boutiques and art galleries.
Although there are more than 1,086 motel rooms available within the Paso Robles area city limits, only Hotel Cheval offers pampered luxury and pedestrian-friendly convenience to Paso Robles town plaza.
Very thoughtfully designed, the hotel offers 16 luxury guest rooms in classic, contemporary style. Vaulted ceilings, window seats, outdoor patios and sundecks with teak furniture are featured throughout the property.
In terms of rooms and comfort, the hotel offers California king beds in every room, along with luxurious amenities such as down comforters and pillows; 400-thread count cotton sheets; spa robes and slippers; bamboo-and-cotton-blend towels; temple spa bath products; and wooden shutters on all windows. High-tech perks include large flat-screen LCD TVs, CD/MP3 players and courtesy Wi-Fi. Complimentary bottled water and in-room caffeine (JoeBella Coffee, Tea Forté) are also included.
Although the hotel does not offer 24-hour room service, it does offer several very nice amenities. During the week, all guests receive a hand-delivered basket that includes a newspaper, fresh fruit and pastries. (Coffee is available in the morning at the hotel’s wine bar, the Pony Club.)
On weekends, guests are invited to a buffet brunch at the Pony Club. In the late afternoon, when visitors are out wine tasting or dining off the plaza, the hotel offers evening turndown with custom organic chocolates.
The Pony Club, open nightly, is also a great place to sample local wine; during the weekends it offers live music.
Last, but not least, if you are a weekend guest, you’ll have a chance to meet Chester, the hotel’s equine mascot, who is available for complimentary carriage rides to restaurants around the city park on Friday and Saturday evenings.
IF YOU GO
Where: Hotel Cheval, 1021 Pine St., Paso Robles
Info: www.hotelcheval.com or (805) 226-9995
Price: Room rates start at $225 per night
Bargain: Festivals in Paso Robles
This year, Paso Robles has a full lineup during the holiday season, including the Paderewski Festival (Nov. 12-15,
www.paderewskifest.com), featuring the music of Poland native Ignacy Jan Paderewski — Paso Robles’ adopted musical prodigy; a tree lighting ceremony (Nov. 27); the Downtown Christmas Light Parade (Dec. 5); the Vine Street Victorian Showcase (Dec. 12); and the Victorian Teddy Bear Tea (Dec. 19). For more information, visit www.pasoroblesdowntown.org.
Splurge: Cheval Wine Tours
Starting at $150
The Hotel Cheval luxury SUV is available daily from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. for private wine tours for two to four people. The hotel will customize your itinerary based on preferred varietal, winery location or simply a sampling of the finest vintages nearby. Tours are conducted by the hotel’s in-house wine guide, and are $75 per hour with a two-hour minimum. Gourmet box lunches are available for an additional $15 per person. For more information, visit www.hotelcheval.com.
Life by numbers
29,000: Population of Paso Robles
12,734: Acres Paso Robles encompasses
721: Feet above sea level at which Paso Robles is situated