A Central California town known for its Spanish colonial architecture, relaxed vibes, and gorgeous countryside with rolling green hills, San Luis Obispo is an unmissable stop on your California itinerary.
Whether you want to spend just a few days in San Luis Obispo or spend a while here exploring this part of Central California, you will need a place to stay. There are many hotels in San Luis Obispo California, from modest budget accommodations to swanky resorts where you can enjoy the views of the craggy coastline, sample dishes from the top chefs, and recharge in luxurious spas.
Why visit San Luis Obispo
While some travelers treat San Luis Obispo as a pit stop between Los Angeles and San Francisco, this town deserves more time: San Luis Obispo is a gem with year-round outdoor opportunities, vibrant culture, and some of the most famous wine regions in California at there foothills of the Santa Lucia Mountains.
This article provides a detailed overview of some of the best hotels in San Luis Obispo, so whether you are a budget-conscious traveler or someone who has more money to spend, you will find a place that fits your needs.
Planning your adventure in San Luis Obispo.
If you need help planning your trip to San Luis Obispo, check my guide that gives a detailed overview of some of the best things to do in the area.
Renting a car for your trip to San Luis Obispo
If you want more freedom and want to explore some of the best places to visit near San Luis Obispo and check other incredible destinations along Central California Coast off your bucket list, consider renting a car. I recommend Discover Cars, one of the best car rental companies that has thousands of vehicles and very reasonable prices.
How to get around San Luis Obispo
If you want to explore the area beyond downtown SLO, hop on the RTA bus which stops across from the Government Center at Palm Street and Osos Street.
From there, you can get to several nearby towns such as Pismo Beach, Avila Beach, and Morro Bay. And don’t forget to bring cash, because this bus doesn’t accept credit cards! Most of the time, you can’t get change either, so prepare 5 or 1-dollar bills for your trip.
You can also check the RTA bus schedule online.
Luxury hotels in San Luis Obispo California
San Luis Obispo knows how to do luxury. From spacious oceanfront resorts to quaint downtown hotels in Victorian style, there are many high-end hotels in San Luis Obispo that offer stylish accommodations, top-notch amenities, and on-site restaurants.
Garden Street Inn
Located in downtown San Luis Obispo, Garden Street Inn is a boutique hotel with the Victorian charm that features neatly decorated rooms. It offers a nice change from traditional hotels with its French-inspired decor and authentic furniture.
Guests can grab a book from the well-stocked Goldtree Library, or sip your morning coffee on our spacious outdoor common deck. Free breakfast is served every morning in the McCaffrey Morning Room. Parking is available on the property.
Mission San Luis Obispo De Tolosa is less than 5 minutes away by walking and California Polytechnic State University is less than 10 minutes away by car from Garden Street Inn.
A historic landmark and one of the best places to visit in San Luis Obispo, Madonna Inn is not just a hotel. The property boasts a colorful past and is one of the most popular stops in San Luis Obispo for photographers who come here because of the whimsical decors.
Madonna Inn has 110 unique rooms, each with its own unique style. Some of the fixtures include waterfall showers, rock fireplaces, and fine furnishings among others.
The hand-carved marble balustrade in the Gold Rush dining room came from the famous Hearst Castle located at the gateway to the iconic Big Sur. All copper and brass items were etched and/or shaped from original designs and fabricated right on the premises.
Madonna Inn also has a restaurant where friendly staff members serve delicious food and drinks in whimsical dining room settings; and a world-famous bakery that serves freshly-baked cakes, cookies, pastries, dinner rolls, specialty bread, and pies.
And finally, Madonna Inn also has a spa where guests enjoy massages, facials, and body treatments that are available by appointment to hotel guests and day visitors, alike.
Sycamore Mineral Resorts and Spa
Located in Avila Beach a quick drive from downtown San Luis Obispo, Sycamore Mineral Springs Resort is a great alternative to hotels in downtown San Luis Obispo, as it offers a quiet beachside setting.
The resort boasts 72 guest rooms and suites and a 3-bedroom guesthouse where guesses can enjoy privacy. All accommodations include individual hot mineral spring tubs on private balconies or patios.
The Cliffs Hotel and Spa
One of the best luxury hotels in the San Luis Obispo area, The Cliffs Hotel and Spa sits on the edge of the craggy coast in Pismo Beach and boasts spectacular views of the Pacific. The hotel features a bar, restaurant, big pool, and relaxing spa where you can regenerate after continuing your adventures.
The Cliffs Hotel and Spa make for a perfect pit stop along your journey as it’s located right off Highway 101 and a quick drive from downtown San Luis Obispo.
From here, you can reach restaurants and stores on foot or make your way down to Shell Beach to watch wildlife or make your way to downtown Pismo Beach where you can enjoy surfing, ride a buggy on Oceano Dunes or visit the Monarch Butterfly Grove.
La Lomita Ranch
La Lomita Ranch is a gorgeous travel sustainable property and one of the best hotels in San Luis Obispo. The hotel offers a tranquil setting in the countryside away from downtown San Luis Obispo, continental or buffet breakfast and spectacular views of the surrounding area.
Book your stay in La Lomita here
Best mid-budget hotels in San Luis Obispo California
If you are not ready to spend top dollar, there are many great mid-budget hotels in San Luis Obispo California where you can spend a few nights and enjoy many great amenities.
Hotel Buena Vista
Located right off Highway 101, Hotel Buena Vista is a great basic stay in San Luis Obispo, if you want to stop in town for a night or two before continuing your adventure in Central California.
Hotel Buena Vista offers great basic accommodations and serves free continental breakfast that includes fruits, tea, coffee, pastries, cream, and granola. A lot of restaurants are located within walking distance from the hotel.
There is also a big fitness center, heated outdoor pool, and jacuzzi where you can relax and unwind after a long day of exploring. Electric car charging stations are available at the property.
El Colibri Hotel and Spa
El Colibri is a Tuscan-inspired boutique hotel located in the scenic town of Cambria between the coastline of Central California and the nearby mountains.
One of the biggest draws of this luxury-style hotel is a walking distance from Moon Stone Beach Park. It’s a perfect stay for travelers who are continuing their trip to Hearst Castle and Big Sur.
El Colibri Hotel and Spa features a full-serve spa, and free on-site parking and electric car charging stations are available.
Some of the nearby attractions include Hearst Castle and the Piedras Blancas Lighthouse from where you can see many elephants seals that frequent this part of California. Paso Robles wine country is about 40 minutes away by car, which makes El Colibri one of the best hotels near San Luis Obispo.
Quality Suites Downtown San Luis Obispo
Conveniently located right off Highway 101 and within walking distance from downtown San Luis Obispo, Quality Suites is one of the best hotels in San Luis Obispo California if you are looking for a combination of value and comfort.
Quality Suites SLO provides value to its guests as it offers a central location, great amenities, and a FREE made-to-order breakfast that includes pastries, waffles, fruits, cereal, and coffee. There is also a heated outdoor pool, a hot tub, and a fitness center.
Several wineries and beaches are located within a short distance from the hotel. Free transportation to San Luis Obispo Airport is available at the property.
Best boutique hotels in San Luis Obispo
San Luis Creek Lodge
San Luis Creek Lodge is one of the best hotels in San Luis Obispo that offers quick access to some of the best things to do in the area, as well as free continental breakfast and free private parking.
Guests love the hotel’s quiet setting, friendly staff, and comfort. Although San Luis Creek Lodge is located in the center of the action, it boasts a nice quiet setting, which is perfect for those travelers who need to relax but don’t want to book a more expensive accommodation away from downtown San Luis Obispo.
Hotel San Luis Obispo
A modern urban resort, Hotel San Luis Obispo brands itself as “both destination and experience.” The property boasts spacious rooms with unique decor touches such as hand-woven rugs, natural wood, and custom built-in features.
Guests particularly love Sol Spa which offers a relaxation lounge, salt sauna, pool, jacuzzi, and meditation room. Hotel San Luis Obispo is located a few steps away from downtown and is an excellent point for taking some time off before continuing your trip along Central California Coast.
Also located downtown San Luis Obispo, Hotel Cerro is one of the best eco-hotels in California.
Built with historic storefronts to minimize the use of new materials, Hotel Cerro was designed toward LEED Silver and meets California’s energy efficiency standards which means it has implemented a variety of measures to minimize its use of energy and conserve water.
To keep things green, the hotel offers charging stations for electric cars and uses mostly locally sourced organic produce in its restaurant.
Furthermore, Hotel Cerro strives to minimize its use of single plastic as every guest receives a complimentary reusable water bottle that they can refill at water stations around the hotel, and provides all products served in rooms in refillable containers.
FUN FACT: Did you know that San Luis Obispo is also the first destination in the United States to start an urban reforestation sustainability initiative “Keys For Trees” that is funded by local hotels? Thanks to the initiative, 1 percent of the annual revenue funds a partnership with EcoSLO, a non-profit that plants trees throughout the area to facilitate reforestation.
Granada Hotel and Bistro
One of the most stylish hotels in San Luis Obispo California, Granada Hotel and Bistro is located in the red-brick building with hardwood floors and features many industrial design elements throughout the property.
The hotel is 3 minutes away from many San Luis Obispo shops, cafes and art galleries.
Select suites feature a private balcony at Granada. Featuring plush bathrobes, each room is styled in antique Persian rugs, hardwood floors, brick walls, original artwork and a flat-screen TV.
A book library is available for guests. And free bike rental is also provided.
Best Budget Hotels in San Luis Obispo California
If you are traveling around Central California and need a good basic stay, you can choose from several budget hotels in San Luis Obispo located just a short distance away from the city’s downtown. Here you can find basic amenities and comfy rooms that are perfect to recharge when you get back to your hotel after a day of exploring.
While many downtown hotels in San Luis Obispo California tend to be on a more pricey side, many alternatives cost only a fraction but offer enough amenities and plenty of comfort for a basic stay.
One of them is Vagabond Inn San Luis Obispo is a great place to stay if you have a car, but you can easily catch an Uber or bus to the city’s downtown. The hotel is within driving distance from Hearst Castle and San Simeon Mission.
There are several types of rooms available including a single king, queen, and a suite with three queen beds. There is also a complimentary breakfast available and discounts for several restaurants in the area.
Sun Beam Motel
One of the best affordable hotels in San Luis Obispo California, Sun Beam Motel offers a good value for the price.
Conveniently located in downtown San Luis Obispo, Sun Beam Motel is a real bargain for many travelers who are looking for a combination of a convenient location with access to Highway 101, walking distance to many restaurants, and some of the best things to do in San Luis Obispo.
Homestead Motel is another great basic stay in San Luis Obispo half a mile from downtown San Luis Obispo and a few minutes from California Polytechnic University by car.
The motel offers free parking, nice spacious rooms, and budget-friendly rates.
The motel is 12.8 miles from Morro Bay and 16.9 miles from Pismo Beach State Park.
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Is San Luis Obispo worth visiting?
San Luis Obispo is one of the best places to visit in Central California! It offers a laid-back atmosphere, gorgeous scenery, opportunities for outdoor recreation, and close distance to the famous Big Sur.
Although some tourists skip San Luis Obispo when traveling around the coastal part of the state, San Luis Obispo deserves a spot on your California itinerary, and you can easily spend a few days here enjoying everything that this city has to offer.
What is the best time to visit San Luis Obispo?
When planning a trip to Santa Barbara, keep local weather in mind. San Luis Obispo has a slightly cooler climate compared to Southern California. But the difference is not significant: the best time to visit San Luis Obispo is from March through May when it’s not too busy and from September through early November before the cold spell rolls in the area.
Summers bring hot temperatures and can get busy, since a lot of kids are on school break. July and August is the most expensive time to visit San Luis Obispo when travelers from all over the country flock to this part of California.
More resources for planning your trip to San Luis Obispo
Looking for hotels in San Luis Obispo California is only one part of planning your trip.. Whether you need to book a car, organize a tour or book a flight while in Central California, consider using some of my suggested services.
Agoda.com – a great website for budget accommodations in many parts of California.
WorldNomads – Great service for insurance coverage that will keep you safe on the road.
Safety Wing – Excellent insurance plan for long-term travelers that offers competitive rates is you are planning to stay on the road several weeks in a row.
GetYourGuide.com – Thinking about booking a tour while in San Luis Obispo? Get Your Guide is my favorite platform that offers awesome tours and top-notch guides in many destinations across California.
DiscoverCars.com – There’s nothing like exploring the incredible California Coast at your own pace. Consider renting a car at Discover Cars if you want more freedom exploring this part of the United States.
CheapoAir.com – One of the best platforms for saving money on flights within United States and beyond.
Booking.com – a popular website with tons and tons of options for accommodations of all sorts.
Check more ideas for your California road trip:
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