If you're planning to stay in one of the San Luis Obispo hotels, it is better to book early. Considering how small San Luis Obispo is, there is a relatively large number of tourists who come here every year, and hotels are often packed to capacity during the peak summer months. In addition, lodging in San Luis Obispo is often fully booked for events at Cal Poly University, such as graduation or freshman week, when family members will often come to the Central Coast to stay for a few nights. Because of the year-round popularity of San Luis Obispo hotels, even a small motel can charge upwards of $60 per person per night. Obviously, it can be worthwhile to spend a little time planning in advance and searching for the best deal.
San Luis Obispo Hotels
If you truly want to stay at one of the most famous San Luis Obispo hotels, you have to consider booking a stay at the Madonna Inn. Located off of Madonna Drive just south of the downtown area, the Madonna Inn has been immortalized by the large white letter "M" displayed prominently on the hillside above. This bubble-gum pink hotel is a tourist attraction in its own right, and is known for its kitschy interior décor. In the lobby, gigantic pink leather wing-chairs flank a large stone fireplace, and the dining room is upholstered entirely in hot pink, while crystal chandeliers and puppets—yes, puppets—and other garish décor hang from the ceiling. Each room in the Madonna Inn is uniquely decorated according to a different theme, from animal prints, to a cowboy-Western theme, to the Caveman Room. And don't forget the public men's restroom, where one of the urinals becomes a rustic stone “waterfall" when used. Ladies, please make sure the restroom is empty before trying to view this unique attraction. Even if you don't ending using the Madonna for lodging in San Luis Obispo, it's worth a stop to take a peek at the lobby.
However, let's say you want local charm without the gaudy décor of the Madonna Inn. In that case, the Apple Farm on Monterey Street (pictured at top) is probably the best place to stay in San Luis Obispo. This quaint and rustic hotel is designed to have a homey, cottage-like feel, boasting what they call traditional American hospitality. This hospitality translates to free cookies, tea, and coffee in the lobby at all hours, and a continental breakfast is included. The Apple Farm Restaurant next to the Inn offers pastries and their famous pies. Meanwhile, rooms are decorated with a traditional "Country Victorian" touch, with canopy beds, wing-back chairs, and cozy fireplaces right in your room! The Apple Farm is located in close proximity to downtown attractions, and is a great place to relax in the evening, especially if you take a soak in the hot tub, or join the wine reception in the afternoon.
Other hotels are dotted all around San Luis Obispo, including some larger chain hotels. Another alternative to lodging in San Luis Obispo is to look a little further on the coast. There are some fine seaside resorts in Pismo Beach where you can get pampered with a gorgeous view of the ocean from the seaside cliffs, about fifteen to twenty minutes' drive south of SLO. And farther north, staying in Morro Bay gives you easy access to the famous landmark of Morro Rock, a large round stone jutting out of the ocean and gives you a head start if you're planning to head up to Big Sur on scenic Highway 1, also known as the Pacific Coast Highway.