We couldn’t be through. That transcendent thrill accessible only through tasting life beyond our bubble, no, I refused to believe that was another 2020 casualty. We could start small. We could go slow. Masked and calculated. But we had to move. Try. That was the important thing.
I missed it desperately, maybe even stupidly. The stimulation of new stimuli. So, when my deep dive into who was opening and how they were doing it and would they accommodate this new Pandemic paradoxical life we’re shaping, Hotel Cerro didn’t just give me hope. It showed up with loft style suites, a pool with a view, and an edible garden that sung of epicure and easy living like a daydream I prayed was once for real.
I told you. I really missed it.
San Luis Obispo is one of those Central California collectives of coastline and countryside, quaint and collegiate, and culturally lead by the land that got there first. Boutiques are independent, businesses artist driven, and cafés are cornerstones of their comfortable, casual ease. The pace is unrushed. If you’re not taking a leisurely stroll, you always kind of feel like you are.
Hotel Cerro, in the heart of this calm and completely unpretentious culture, opened its doors, luxurious and laid back, for the first time in January of this year. Three months later the world shut down. Come June 11th, they invited us back, fully ready to revisit how to vacate.
I knew they had done their homework. I knew they had achieved meticulous cleaning protocols, met CDC regulations, triple sheeted their beds (this one they’d done anyway), employees all masked, housekeepers wearing PPE and changing gloves between each room, tables more than amply spaced. I knew things about their air vents I never thought I’d need to know. But how was it going to feel? Frankly I wasn’t sure.
Ok. So. While the modern meets mission design certainly lends itself to an airy, aesthetically spotless welcome, what I didn’t anticipate was the safe in place sensation securing my anxiety around every corner. Masked staff who know the meaning of six feet, hands free sanitation stations, and a sensory swoon up in the Edible Garden.
Up on the second floor, in an open-air enclosed terrace, herbs and organics and botanica bloom. One can sip a summer something in many of the socially scattered nooks within the garden, inhaling those herbal aromatics, snacking on some strawberry spinach right off the vine (it’s a thing!), and my friends, this exercise may cure your quarantine blues once and for all. Or at least until your glass is empty.
At which point visiting the hotel’s Brasserie SLO becomes a spectacular idea. Here a wood burning oven and a wood-fired grill create Mediterranean feels and feasts that emit a sense of place. Flatbreads are excellent and al fresco dining is refreshingly easy. Particularly for those who haven’t partaken in way too long.
And with the Wi-Fi being free and fast, suites being spacious and loft-life, brick bound and beautifully high beamed, I couldn’t stop my mind from wandering into the what if distanced learning could be done say here, what if remote could double time as a retreat? Upsides of being upended begun to dance in my head.
Because this. This is what travel does.
The hotel continued to dazzle us with discerning details. Guests are provided with refillable water bottles, with distilled water stations scattered throughout. Pour over coffee is provided in each room. And all that edible botanica on the terrace? It goes into the organic amenities provided in every room, garnishes the elixirs, and enhances the house made meals. The rooftop pool, with massive cabana beds and mountain views from every angle, makes it hard to want to be anywhere else, and easy to swim at a distance.
Finishing a day at the pool over at SLO Brew Rock (quick little drive) is effortless, outdoors, and brew-pub casual. This 30-barrel brewhouse hosts a taproom restaurant where burgers (all available with Impossible meat – I found this exciting) and salads and fries and fixings are served on enamel and eaten under market umbrellas beneath a So Cal sunset. And given that our state is a bit seamless when it comes to seasons, al fresco dining can be a year-round ritual. Next store, taste some bourbon at Rod & Hammer’s craft distillery, SLO Stills. We left with a souvenir destined to be featured in many happy hours to come.
Breakfast at the hotel restaurant, Brasserie SLO, is so pleasant. Lemon poppy pancakes, breakfast burritos out on the sidewalk, shaded by a canopy of lollypop red umbrellas. It’s the breather that ignites the kind of inspiration that comes only from venturing outside our norm. The one I’ve missed. Our Hotel Cerro experience felt like a gateway into the glorious bellwether of bringing back travel; bringing back all those infinitesimal nuances that amount to creative kickstarts and emotional cobwebs being lifted. Twenty twenty has done a number on so many fronts. If your wanderlust is wailing, know my friends, there is a place to begin again.
This is a great socially distant getaway for families. The loft suites are spacious, and the penthouse pool and cabanas make it easy to maintain distance.
Hotel Cerro 1125 Garden Street, San Luis Obispo, CA 93401, USA.
Tel: +1(805) 548-1000
The hotel is located in Downtown San Luis Obispo in California’s Central Coast region. Take the 101 to Marsh Street. Parking is easy and readily available on-site. Avila Beach is just a short drive from the hotel.
Type of Hotel: Luxury Boutique Hotel
Number of Rooms: 65 guest rooms, includes residential style penthouse lofts and garden suites with complimentary Wi-Fi throughout the hotel.
Price Band: Medium
Insider Tip: Request one of the loft rooms on the second floor. Those high ceilings are great. And if you’re road tripping from Los Angeles, Santa Barbara, Los Olivos, and Los Alamos are all great stops along the way.
Reviewer’s Rating: 8/10
Jolie Loeb is a Luxury Lifestyle columnist based in Los Angeles.
Photographs courtesy of Hotel Cerro
Wow. This sound amazing and just what I/ we need. Will be looking into this asap!
So beautiful!!! Can’t wait to go!!
I felt like I went with Jolie! She transported me, as she always does, to a place outside of my own day to day dullness. I’m not sure I’m ready to stay at a hotel, but when I am this is top of the list! I close my eyes and I’m there!!!!!
I can’t wait to get traveling again. This looks like a delightful and relaxing place to start. I love the edible gardens. Thanks to Jolie for getting me motivated!
I love the Central Coast so much. It’s so beautiful and serene. And I need more serene in my life these days! Looks immaculate and the perfect get away for us in So Cal. Beautiful review as always. xoxox
Jolie, you did it again! Transported me to a beautiful place! Will put it on my list for the future!
Jolie got me at Lemon Poppy Seed Pancakes. The rooms look amazing and so does everything else. I want to be there now.
So happy to read there is a world still out there! And it’s a place I’ve always wanted to go! Thanks for the marvelous insight into the world beyond COVID.
Oh, I want to travel SO BADLY that the minute I saw this fabulous review I gobbled it up greedily and lived – if only for a short time – vicariously and happily through Jolie! This place sounds absolutely perfect and it is now on our short list! Thank you!!
Big fan of SLO. This sounds like a good option. Will have to check it out!
Looks lovely! We love the central coast and SLO is such a nice little town. Thank you for the write up! It’s very inspiring and I will definitely check out their website for our next trip!
As of now I can only vicariously live through your adventures, Jolie!
I am so happy to hear this hotel handles the pandemic safety needs so well. I finally have a place I feel like I can be comfortable going to!
Oh this place looks fabulous and I’m so glad you were able to get away and and feel the joys of travel again. That rooftop pool…I’d like to be there now!!!
Booking now 🙂
I have never wanted to go anywhere more, it seems. And not just because I haven’t left my immediate 3 mile area since March! It sounds heavenly.
You make me wish it was still summer! Sounds absolutely delightful. Forwarding to a friend who’s dropping her daughter at Cal Poly SLO. Thanks for always bring something bright into our lives.
Wait…spinach and strawberries made a baby? Chalk that one up to yet another 2020 surprise for this local yokel. I love that this little gem is actually IN the town. So presumably, one could spend a weekend there without getting in a car? That’s really intriguing. What is the town up to these days? Are things open?
This looks amazing- going to look at their website now!
A dream come true during quarantine! Looks so lovely!!! Thanks for filling us in!
A bit of a twist on the times we are living thru. Why my mind is already wandering into this lovely place with the edible garden and herbal aromatics. Must make it a destination soon.
Oh my goodness, I love the design of this place. Looks wonderful and I’ll have to make a visit sometime. Love SLO.
Central coast is one of my favorite destinations! SLO is so fantastic and if you can there on a Thursday, you can experience one of the best Farmer’s Market I have ever seen. (Hoping for the return of it real soon)
I appreciate the call out to CDC guidelines. This matters. Shows true care for all that want to getaway worry free and I know I do! I can’t wait to check it out!
I am SO ready to go there! Need to get away and this sounds like an amazing spot! Thanks, Jolie!
I think I’m brave enough to do it especially since you went first and it seems to have gone swimmingly!
I wish more travel writers would mention standout pancakes.👍🏼🥞‼️
That looks amazing! Thank you for sharing
Ohhhh, this sounds amazing. I want to travel!!! I think we might need to follow your lead with this one.
We love SLO & can’t wait to check out this hotel. I wish I could catapult into that swimming pool right now!!
This place sounds like the perfect place to celebrate the essence of California. Thanks Jolie for setting my mind at ease and letting me know that short jaunts with my hubbie can be doable again!
Hmmm? SLO…..that’s a new thought. It looks like Los Olivos or Cambria. I’ve never been there but you make it so inviting. The quiet unflourished tone downed atmosphere sounds like a prescription for all we’re longing for. A natural garden, a sweet walk through town and well chosen furnishings that are comfy as well as charming. The menu offered brand new take on old favorites. Was it you or me who convinced me? Were going to try it !
This is good. Really good. We have ventured out a bit with varying covid-ready results. Love knowing that Hotel Cerro has all their i’s dotted, t’s crossed, vents clean. While I feel a call to Montana and Wyoming (like everyone else, apparently), SLO is doable which is top-o-the-list category. And thanks Mara for the FM tip!
I’m in love with it. All of it! Especially that King Size room!!!
So enticing. Beautiful review for a beautiful place. Who wouldn’t want to be there?
Thank you Jolie for transporting me if only for a few minutes. Keep traveling for us!!!
When we discussed taking one last quick vacation before the girls began this bizarro virtual school year, I hadn’t really thought about SLO as a destination. We’ve really only driven through SLO on the way to Paso Robles, Big Sur, etc. But, SLO was not LA, so it was worth trying! I was so pleasantly surprised. Hotel Cerro could be a beautiful, boutique hotel in any small city and was far nicer, more welcoming, and better run than most that have been around for much longer.
The room was large (and felt huge because of the crazy high ceilings. I spent most of the first two days we were there in the room working, which was easy with the great wifi and comfortable (far more comfortable than our garage/sweat shop at home).
We loved our meals — the food wasn’t fussy, but was delicious and the service was a balance of COVID-cautious, but friendly. The breakfast burrito on Saturday morning was actually one of the better ones I’ve had in a while. I daresay it even compares to Cofax in LA (which for those who know me is s BIG deal).
I never felt uncomfortable there. While the hotel was not full, there were other people staying nearby. However, it was easy to maintain distance and everyone was very respectful of each other.
SLO itself was great — I can only imagine what it’s like in non-COVID times. It’s super close to Avila Beach and Pismo Beach and was a great, relaxing place to spend a weekend. I’m looking forward to heading back.
Wow. Your description of this hotel sound magical I love the exquisite detail & would like to transport myself into that magnificent suite right now!! We love SLO & always happy to have solid recommendations in the area. As always, thank you for sharing.
Have not been to SLO in quite some time. Next time that is our destination, we will remember your enticing review of Hotel Cerro.
You had me at “Central California collectives of coastline and countryside”.
Its officially on the “if I survive 2020” travel list!