The Best Boutique Hotels in San Luis Obispo, California

12 Cool Boutique Hotels in San Luis Obispo, California

Located on the Central Coast of California, San Luis Obispo doesn’t always get all the attention it deserves. Best known as the home of California Polytechnic State University (aka Cal Poly), SLO is a vibrant college town that’s buzzing with youthful energy and plenty of fun things to do.

But delve a little deeper, and you’ll find a historic downtown surrounded by a range of attractions that suit all tastes. Take a trip to San Luis Obispo, and you can spend your days wine tasting at one of the region’s many wineries, riding dune buggies on the sand dunes of Pismo Beach, and kayaking in Morro Bay

If you prefer to stick to the center of town, you’ll find plenty of attractions in downtown San Luis Obispo, including the 1772 Mission San Luis Obispo de Tolosa, the Thursday SLO Farmers’ Market, and the quirky Bubble Gum Alley. Once you work up an appetite, dine on farm-to-table fare at one of downtown’s many excellent restaurants before popping into a few of downtown’s boutique shops and museums.

With so many things to see and do, you’ll want a nice hotel room to come back to at the end of an action-packed day. Luckily, SLO just happens to have a variety of cool boutique hotels, charming B&Bs, and amenity-packed spa hotels. So many, in fact, that you might have a hard time choosing the perfect one. So we’ve created a list of the 12 best hotels in San Luis Obispo to help you plan your perfect getaway!

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Where to Stay in San Luis Obispo

Where to Stay in San Luis Obispo: Best Boutique Hotels

San Luis Obispo is a blissfully small town. That being said, with so many destinations surrounding SLO, you’ll have a ton of options when it comes to choosing a hotel.

If you’re in town to visit Cal Poly or to check out San Luis’ main attractions, you’ll find some of the best San Luis Obispo hotels clustered around the historic downtown area. From 100-year-old B&Bs serving gourmet breakfasts to top-notch boutique hotels offering pampering amenities, there’s something for everyone in SLO’s downtown area.

Those in town to go wine tasting in the area’s wine region might consider staying further afield in a city like Paso Robles. Here you’ll find some awesome boutique and spa hotels, and downtown San Luis Obispo is an easy 30-minute drive away.

Alternately, if you prefer to have easy access to San Luis Obispo while staying at a beachfront hotel, Pismo Beach and Morro Bay are lined with great hotels and are both a quick 15-minute drive from the heart of town.

The 12 Best Hotels in San Luis Obispo, CA

1. Granada Hotel & Bistro

Boutique Hotels in San Luis Obispo, California: Granada Hotel & Bistro
Photos: Granada Hotel & Bistro

When it comes to cool boutique hotels in San Luis Obispo, it’s tough to beat Granada Hotel & Bistro. This historic hotel first opened its doors in 1922 and was a popular haunt for artists and actors, who rented rooms by the hour during the Vaudeville era. Fast-forward to today, and the entire space has been impeccably renovated into a 17-room boutique stay in the heart of downtown SLO.

Rooms at the Granada Hotel & Bistro offer different layouts and amenities, but no matter which room you choose, you’ll get exposed brick walls, hand-crafted steel windows, Persian rugs, and original hardwood floors. You’ll also be able to get comfy with the signature seersucker robes, luxuriate with the FableRune toiletries, and snack on local goods from the carefully curated minibar. 

Upon check-in, you’ll be greeted with a complimentary glass of rosé. Other freebies include a daily continental breakfast, which you can enjoy on the private guest terrace, and the use of the hotel’s Linus bikes. 

If you’re feeling peckish, The Bistro serves up excellent globally-inspired and locally-sourced fare as well as a long list of local wines. You can also pick up local artisanal goods at the hotel’s shop and cafe called Next Door.

2. Hotel San Luis Obispo

Cool San Luis Obispo Hotels: Hotel San Luis Obispo
Photos: Hotel San Luis Obispo

There’s no shortage of cool hotels in San Luis Obispo, and it’s no secret that the newly-opened Hotel San Luis Obispo is one of the coolest! From the magazine-worthy guest rooms to the on-site spa, this is the perfect pick if you want to treat yourself to a relaxing getaway or a fun-filled girl’s weekend. 

All guest rooms and suites are outfitted with white oak floors, original artwork, handmade Nani Marquina rugs, and adorable Vifa Bluetooth audio players. Plus, you’ll appreciate the thoughtful extras, including the Nespresso coffee makers, the complimentary refillable filtered water, the Sol Spa signature bath amenities, and the local snack selection. 

When you’re not relaxing in your room, you’ll definitely want to take advantage of the on-site Sol Spa. Not only do they offer a range of pampering treatments, but you’ll have full use of the indoor/outdoor relaxation lounge, salt sauna, pool, hot tub, and meditation room.

You won’t go hungry or thirsty at the Hotel San Luis Obispo either. In the mornings, you can grab your coffee and avocado toast at Piadina before treating yourself to farm-to-table Cal-Italian fare at Ox + Anchor in the evenings. Plus, if you want to grab pre-dinner drinks, the hotel boasts a chic lobby bar and a spectacular rooftop bar featuring stunning mountain views.

3. Hotel Cerro

Best Hotels in San Luis Obispo, California: Hotel Cerro
Photos: Hotel Cerro

Hotel Cerro is widely hailed as one of the best hotels in San Luis Obispo – and it’s easy to see why. Located in the heart of downtown, just across from Bubble Gum Alley and the Downtown SLO Farmers’ Market, you’ll have every amenity you could possibly need if you stay at Hotel Cerro.

You can spend your days getting pampered at the 4,000-square-foot Spa Cerro, soaking up the sun around the rooftop pool, relaxing in the plant-filled Edible Garden, working up a sweat in the state-of-the-art fitness center, or cruising around town on one of the complimentary Hotel Cerro bikes. The options are endless!

Once you work up an appetite, order food and drinks from the poolside menu. Better yet, book a private customized dinner and wine pairing at The Distillery or enjoy farm-fresh meals at The Fig Veranda, which is home to an actual fig tree.

And we haven’t even gotten to the rooms yet. Opt for the Garden View Cerro Classic, and you’ll get a plush bed, a large sofa, and a private balcony overlooking the mountains. If you’re in town for a special celebration, The Penthouse Loft features a huge living room and a luxurious bathroom with a deep soaking tub.

4. The Wayfarer San Luis Obispo

Cool San Luis Obispo Hotels: The Wayfarer San Luis Obispo
Photos: The Wayfarer San Luis Obispo

If you’re looking for cool San Luis Obispo hotels, you’re going to love staying at The Wayfarer San Luis Obispo. Book a stay at the “campus-inspired” hotel, and you’ll be less than a mile from the Downtown Historic District and Cal Poly, so the location is super convenient. 

Guests at The Wayfarer San Luis Obispo get much-appreciated freebies, like parking and Wi-Fi, as well as use of the fitness center. Plus, kids and adults alike will love mixing and mingling at the on-site Schoolyard Burgers & Brew, which serves breakfast staples, massive burgers, boozy milkshakes, and local brews alongside all sorts of fun games, including Skee-Ball, giant Jenga, and shuffleboard.

The stylish rooms have been completely reimagined and feature plaid carpeting and California-inspired artwork on the walls and ceilings. You’ll also be able to brew your morning coffee with the Starbucks coffee maker, catch up on emails at the ergonomic workstation, and watch movies at night with the 55-inch flat-screen HDTV. If you need more space, upgrade to the Professor’s Suite, which features a separate bedroom and living room and can sleep up to four guests.

5. Garden Street Inn Downtown San Luis Obispo

Cool Hotels in San Luis Obispo, California: Garden Street Inn
Photos: Garden Street Inn

Set in the Downtown Historic District, Garden Street Inn is one of the most unique hotels in San Luis Obispo, especially if you prefer a B&B-style stay. This former single-family home dates back to 1887 and has been meticulously renovated as a place where “old-world charm meets new-world hospitality.”

The Italianate/Queen Anne-style building now houses nine rooms and four suites. While each guest room is unique, you can expect antique furnishings and luxurious amenities to adorn each space. 

Opt for The Lovers unit, and you’ll love the English garden design, the four-poster bed in the bedroom, and the private deck just off the bedroom. Or, choose the Sound of Music-inspired Edelweiss room for its original fireplace and early 1900s antique clawfoot tub. 

No matter which guest room you choose, you’ll enjoy complimentary gourmet breakfasts in the charming McCaffrey Morning Room each morning. After you’ve had your fill, settle in for a read in the Goldtree Library or simply enjoy the fresh air on the communal outdoor deck.

You’ll also be treated to fresh-from-the-oven snickerdoodle cookies at check-in and wine socials in the evenings, perfect for mingling with your fellow guests!

6. San Luis Creek Lodge

Where to Stay in San Luis Obispo, California: San Luis Creek Lodge
Photos: San Luis Creek Lodge

When it comes to boutique hotels in San Luis Obispo, there are quite a few excellent options, but with its boho-chic, California farmhouse aesthetic and well-thought-out amenities, San Luis Creek Lodge stands out from the rest.

The rooms were all designed with the help of acclaimed designer Nina Freudenberger of Haus Interior, and every aspect of each room has been thoroughly thought through. The bathrooms alone feature designer Aesop toiletries, oversized walk-in showers with custom tiles, and sleek black bathrobes.

Head into your magazine-worthy room, and you’ll find original artwork by LA-based Block Shop, oversized flat-screen TVs with in-room movie systems, and a curated mini-bar with Erewhon snacks. Wake up in the morning, and you’ll even find a complimentary Stanley thermos of hot HoneyCo coffee and a tote bag full of pastries hanging on your door. There’s a reason San Luis Creek Lodge has such good reviews from guests!

7. Madonna Inn

Best Hotels in San Luis Obispo, California: Madonna Inn
Photos: Madonna Inn

Chances are you’ve heard of the Madonna Inn before, or at least seen pictures of it! This iconic hotel is set right off of Highway 101 and just a few minutes from downtown San Luis Obispo. This is easily one of the best hotels in San Luis Obispo if you’re looking for a touch of whimsy in your life.

This place is famous for its 110 individually-themed rooms, which are tailor-made for your Instagram feed. For example, the “Vous” room boasts a circular bed, a glitzy chandelier, and over-the-top blue and yellow decor, while the “Caveman” features solid rock floors and walls and all sorts of animal prints.

Funky rooms aside, the property boasts a heated infinity pool, two hot tubs, and a 45-foot waterfall perched on a beautiful hilltop setting. There’s also a Pool Bar, where you can grab smoothies, wraps, and cocktails. 

If you want to fit in your daily workout, you’ll find a gym on-site. Or, if you prefer to relax during your trip, book a massage at the spa or have a nice steak dinner at the popular Alex Madonna’s Gold Rush Steak House.

8. The Piccolo

Unique San Luis Obispo Hotels: The Piccolo
Photos: The Piccolo

The Piccolo is an incredible boutique hotel located in nearby Paso Robles, a charming town located 30 minutes north of San Luis Obispo. From the on-site wine lounge and tasting room to the Moët & Chandon vending machine, this place is a great choice if you plan on hitting up some of the area’s wineries during your trip!

This boutique retreat boasts 24 rooms and suites, which offer all sorts of extras to make you feel completely pampered during your stay. From the locally made furniture, wine fridge, and local Joebella coffee to the 55-inch smart TV, floor-to-ceiling windows, and Juliette balcony, there’s a lot to love about the guest rooms at The Piccolo.

If you can manage to tear yourself away from your luxury room, head up to the Tetto rooftop bar, where you can order wine by the bottle while savoring beautiful mountain views. Of course, there’s also The Piper wine lounge and tasting room, which offers carefully curated tastings with wines sourced from local wineries.

9. The Cliffs Hotel and Spa

Best Hotels in San Luis Obispo, California: The Cliffs Hotel and Spa
Photos: The Cliffs Hotel and Spa

The Cliffs Hotel and Spa is one of the best hotels near San Luis Obispo if you just can’t bear to stay away from the ocean. Located on the bluffs in Pismo Beach, just 10 miles from downtown San Luis Obispo, this place has everything you need for a relaxing home base. 

Opt for the Cliffs Coastal Room, and you’ll get ocean views from your floor-to-ceiling windows, which lead out to a private balcony, as well as a spacious workstation, Italian bathroom, and a handy Keurig coffee maker and beverage cooler.

If you’re in town for a special occasion, the Lighthouse Suite is perched on the hotel’s highest floor and offers a huge wraparound balcony with panoramic ocean views. You’ll also get luxurious extras from a whirlpool soaking tub to “His & Hers” robes and slippers. 

Dine with ocean views at Marisol, which serves up California coastal fare and delicious handcrafted cocktails. Or, if you’d prefer to have dinner in your bathrobe, you can always have a filet mignon or Wagyu burger delivered right to your room!

10. La Cuesta Inn

Where to Stay in San Luis Obispo, California: La Cuesta Inn
Photos: La Cuesta Inn

Located right off of Hwy 101, La Cuesta Inn is conveniently located just one mile away from Cal Poly and downtown San Luis Obispo. It’s a great option if you’re looking for inexpensive places to stay in San Luis Obispo.

In the mornings, you can brew your morning joe with the in-room coffee maker before enjoying the complimentary breakfast, which features everything from eggs and sausage to pancakes and breakfast wraps. Be sure to snag some of the free cookies in the lobby before you head out for the day!

The stylish rooms are all outfitted with plush beds with crisp white linens, an ergonomic workstation, and a handy microwave and mini-fridge. If you need more space, the Suite with King Bed gives you a sitting area with a pullout sleeper sofa.

Unlike most SLO hotels, La Cuesta Inn also has a heated outdoor pool and a hot tub for you to relax in. Other perks include free Wi-Fi and parking.

11. Apple Farm Inn

Unique Hotels in San Luis Obispo, California: Apple Farm Inn
Photos: Apple Farm Inn

The Apple Farm Inn is one of the best San Luis Obispo hotels if you prefer charming and intimate stays rather than a traditional hotel. This gem is set on the San Luis Obispo Creek, less than a mile from the heart of downtown.

From an outdoor pool and hot tub to a flower-filled garden and peaceful sitting areas, this property honestly has it all. Plus, you’ll be treated to complimentary cookies, two bottles of water, Wi-Fi, parking, a glass of wine, and coffee, tea, and apple cider each day.

But one of the very best things about staying at the Apple Farm Inn is the farm-to-table Apple Farm Restaurant, where you can fill up on delicious dishes like the Apple Bacon Brie Omelette or Apple Fritter Pancakes. There’s also the Apple Farm Marketplace, where you can pick up goods from over 70 local artisans. 

When it comes to the rooms, you can opt to stay in the inn, in the adjacent Trellis Court, or in one of the beautiful Millhouse rooms.

12. Embassy Suites San Luis Obispo

Where to Stay in San Luis Obispo, California: Embassy Suites San Luis Obispo
Photos: Embassy Suites San Luis Obispo

Located just off of Hwy 101, near the Madonna Inn, the Embassy Suites San Luis Obispo is one of the best places to stay in San Luis Obispo if you’re in need of a comfortable, clean, and modern hotel.

You’ll love all of the freebies, including daily made-to-order breakfasts, evening receptions with appetizers and drinks, and parking, as well as use of the indoor pool, hot tub, and 24-hour fitness center.

Plus, whether you’re in town for work or play, the all-suite rooms have everything you need for a comfortable and relaxing stay. You can have movie nights in bed, get some work done in the living area, and soak in the bathtub. There’s also the option to book the Executive Suite, which gives you a separate living room and bedroom.

You can store and heat up leftovers with your room’s mini-fridge and microwave. Or, if you prefer to dine at the hotel, The Greenhouse Grill & Café serves up “Mexi-Cali” dishes like spicy tuna nachos and gourmet pizzas.

That completes our list of the 12 best San Luis Obispo hotels! Did we miss any cool boutique hotels in San Luis Obispo? Comment below so we can add them to the list!

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  • Justine Lopez

    Justine is a writer and editor who always seems to take the unconventional route in life. She also suffers from a serious case of wanderlust!

    In 2013, she left her hometown in California and set off on a yearlong round-the-world journey with her now-husband – they never looked back. Since then, she’s lived the expat life in Indonesia, Cambodia, China, Vietnam, Mexico, and now Dubai. Along the way, she's written and edited for magazines, newspapers, and websites in Asia and beyond.

    When she's not stoking her wanderlust by working on travel articles for Wandering Wheatleys, Justine is busy caring for her many foster cats in Dubai, seeking out all the delicious vegetarian food, and taking every chance she gets to explore a new corner of the world!

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