food

Central California’s Hidden Gem: Hotel Cerro Is the Perfect Weekend Getaway

Just a couple of hours north of the hustle and bustle of Los Angeles lies the serene and subtle landscape of San Luis Obispo, CA. There you’ll find golden, rolling hills dotted with oak trees and meticulously groomed vineyards spreading across the landscape. This stretch of the Golden State one of the most gorgeous places to visit in the whole country.

With deep roots set in “Old California,” you’ll feel transported back in time when you travel through the area. When sprawl and the everyday demands of the digital world get the best of you, San Luis Obispo, better known as SLO, is the perfect place to breathe in the fresh air and stretch your legs. Located directly off US-101, this hidden gem of a city is easy to access, yet it feels miles off the beaten path. And while there are several options for lodging, I recently spent a few days at Hotel Cerro, and it has become my new favorite spot for a weekend getaway.

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food, central california’s hidden gem: hotel cerro is the perfect weekend getaway

hotel cerro

This hotel one of the coolest places I’ve stayed at in quite some time. It’s located right in the heart of the downtown zone, so it’s a short walk to just about anything you could need.

For access to bars, restaurants, shopping, grocery stores, and everything in between, you can’t beat Hotel Cerro’s location. Its casual elegance feels like something out of a romantic film, yet its modern twist on classic, loft-style architecture and decor is refreshingly hip and thoughtfully designed.

food, central california’s hidden gem: hotel cerro is the perfect weekend getaway

hotel cerro

The hotel opened its doors in 2020, and it features 65 rooms, eight residences, a full-service spa, a rooftop pool, wonderful onsite dining, and even a delightful edible garden that guests can meander through to pick their own fruits and veggies. My kids loved picking their own strawberries and eating them right off the vine.

The impressively spacious guest rooms feature vaulted ceilings, and they’re designed with a rustic feel that’s reminiscent of mid-century industrial spaces. They’re adorned with accents from the original building like exposed brick, polished concrete floors, and gorgeous wooden beams arching across the ceiling. The interior decor is charming, and the in-room amenities are the perfect mix of luxury and functionality—during my stay, I particularly appreciated the self-serve gourmet pour-over coffee.

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food, central california’s hidden gem: hotel cerro is the perfect weekend getaway

hotel cerro

Hotel Cerro also offers complimentary bike rentals and a full fitness room, but the prime highlight might be on the roof: The rooftop pool gives guests 360-degree views of the stunning Cerro San Luis mountain (how the hotel got its name). It’s like something out of a postcard.

As for onsite dining, the hotel boasts one of the best local eateries in town: Brasserie SLO. Located right on the property, the hotel refers to Brasserie SLO’s menu as “coastal French dining,” and I’d say they nailed it. The restaurant is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and the menu is stacked. You can start your day with locally roasted coffee (or a delicious craft Bloody Mary, if that’s more your style), a croque monsieur, or lemon poppy seed waffles. For lunch, you can dive into a shaved prime rib sandwich or a Nashville hot chicken sandwich.

food, central california’s hidden gem: hotel cerro is the perfect weekend getaway

hotel cerro

But if you ask me, dinner is the best meal of the day at Brasserie SLO. Start off with fresh West Coast oysters or citrus and chili braised pork empanadas. For the main course, you have all kinds of options: the horseradish and beet-crusted salmon, drunken manilla octopus and clams, or a delicious take on lamb two ways (i.e. grilled lamb chops paired with fire-roasted spicy lamb sausage).

While the town of SLO has plenty of excellent options for dining, you really don’t need to leave the hotel to immerse yourself in the local Central California cuisine. The restaurant sources many of its ingredients from nearby farms and even gets produce straight from the hotel’s edible garden. It’s truly farm-to-table.

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food, central california’s hidden gem: hotel cerro is the perfect weekend getaway

hotel cerro

If you’re looking for some serious relaxation, the onsite Spa Cerro is a must-visit. With a serene, modern motif, it offers everything from Swedish and deep-tissue massages to aromatherapy and Himalayan salt stone treatments.

The standout for me? The CBD massage. This full-body treatment takes you to the next level of relaxation using organic CBD massage oil from Moon Mother Hemp Company. I highly recommend it.

food, central california’s hidden gem: hotel cerro is the perfect weekend getaway

hotel cerro

If you’re planning a trip out to the California coast for some adventure, fine food and drink, and relaxation, then make Hotel Cerro your home base. With much of the country bracing for colder weather, now’s a great time to visit: Even the fall and winter months can feel like summertime in California.

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