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Updated August 2023

Visiting California’s epic coastline? These are the best hotels in San Luis Obispo to book for your stay in town. An iconic location in central California, there are several chic hotels to consider booking.

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San Luis Obispo is renowned as a college town due to California Polytechnic State University. However, it has far more to offer. This part of the state has plenty of attractions. The downtown area is vibrant and full of local businesses.

The coast is stunning and perfect for exploration, providing something for everyone to enjoy. It is a great spot for those taking the popular drive down the coast who want to rest for a few nights.

Because it’s a smaller city with a population below 50,000, there aren’t the same big-name hotel brands you might find in other destinations. Still, hotels in San Luis Obispo are plentiful.

In place of well-known chains, you’ll find design hotels and charming boutique options with plenty of history, character, and details that tell the story of the city and surrounding area.

Whether you want flashy and ornate or subdued and sleek, you can find hotels in San Luis Obispo that fit your style and budget. Read on for some of my top picks for the best hotels when visiting this delightful corner of the California coast.

Short on Time? Here Are My Top Picks for the Best Hotels in San Luis Obispo:

  1. San Luis Creek Lodge, for the best overall hotel
  2. Granada Hotel & Bistro, for the best downtown hotel
  3. Edna Farmhouse, for the best private home stay

The Best Hotels in San Luis Obispo, California

1. San Luis Creek Lodge

Design lovers, look no further than San Luis Creek Lodge. This revamped motor lodge now boasts stunning interiors from the renowned Nina Freudenberger of Haus Interior. Here, farmhouse and bohemian styles converge to make something uniquely California. The rooms are as comfortable as they are beautiful, and fresh-baked pastries and coffee appear outside your door each morning. And for those traveling with their fur babies, this stay in San Luis is pet friendly. Book the best rates here.

Address: 1941 Monterey St, San Luis Obispo, CA 93401

2. Granada Hotel & Bistro

The Best Hotels in San Luis Obispo, California
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You can’t beat the location of Granada Hotel & Bistro, a 17-room boutique property in the heart of downtown. Numerous shops and restaurants are just outside the hotel’s front door. But it’s not just the location that shines here: Guest rooms are stunning, with exposed brick walls, steel windows, hardwood floors, Persian rugs, and a clean, minimalist design. Don’t miss the on-site dining and drinking options, which are standout.

Address: 1126 Morro St, San Luis Obispo, CA 93401

3. Historic Edna Farmhouse

The Best Hotels in San Luis Obispo, California
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Built-in 1908, Edna Farmhouse is a historic home sitting on two private acres in Edna Valley Wine Country. It’s a restored vacation rental that sleeps six, with three suites and one bathroom. 360 degree-views are a highlight here, as is the proximity to wine tasting, which you can experience by foot, bike, or car. You can also easily pop down to Pismo Beach from here. Book the best rates here.

Address: 1655 Maxwellton St, San Luis Obispo, CA 93401

4. SLO Brew Lofts

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The SLO Brew Lofts offer something unique as a boutique hotel. They’re a collection of five luxury short-term vacation rentals at the center of the action in downtown San Luis Obispo, walking distance from the best the city has to offer in dining and entertainment. The property also includes a stylish, intimate space that can fit up to 30 people for meetings, parties, or events. Book the best rates here.

Address: 738 Higuera St, San Luis Obispo, CA 93401

5. Hotel San Luis Obispo

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The Hotel San Luis Obispo calls itself a modern urban resort, and it’s a spot-on description. Rooms are simple but stylish, and there’s lots more to discover around the property, too. A spa with a pool, a restaurant, and an “art bar”–where art workshops are held–and ample meeting and event space are just a few of the hotel’s noteworthy features. Book the best rates here.

Address: 877 Palm St, San Luis Obispo, CA 93401

6. Hotel Cerro

The Best Hotels in San Luis Obispo, California
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For a perfect summer escape, consider Hotel Cerro, whose rooftop outdoor pool boasts a poolside menu and epic views of the surrounding mountains. Another unique feature of this modern, design-forward property? The Edible Gardens, showcase sustainability and provide space for guests to relax among the produce and herbs. Complimentary bikes help you get out and explore the world outside the hotel, too. Book the best rates here.

Address: 1125 Garden St, San Luis Obispo, CA 93401

7. The Butler Hotel

The Butler Hotel
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The Butler Hotel is a relatively new option in the city’s trendy MOJO district. Once an auto repair garage, the building now fuses industrial and modern design. Rustic on the outside with a steel exterior, inside you’ll find a sophisticated aesthetic, mid-century furnishings, and well-appointed rooms. Guests can also enjoy the property’s library lounge and sunny outdoor patio. Book the best rates here.

Address: 1511 Monterey St, San Luis Obispo, CA 93401

8. Madonna Inn

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A longtime staple on Highway 1, the Madonna Inn is one of a kind. Each of the hotel’s 110 guest rooms has its own theme (Desert Sands, Antique Cars, and Caveman are just a few of them). Each features bright colors, lots of patterns, and textiles with character. Nightly music and dancing and a beautiful hilltop pool will make your stay especially memorable. Book the best rates here.

Address: 100 Madonna Rd, San Luis Obispo, CA 93405

9. Apple Farm Inn

The Best Hotels in San Luis Obispo, California
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There’s an accommodation type for everyone at Apple Farm Inn, ranging from deluxe rooms to upscale motel rooms. The inn rooms are charming and elegant, with a country feel (think four-poster beds and cozy gas fireplaces). Fresh cookies and a daily voucher for a glass of wine are just a couple of the amenities on offer to make your stay special. Don’t miss the hot tub and swimming pool here to relax. Book the best rates here.

Address: 2015 Monterey St, San Luis Obispo, CA 93401

10. Garden Street Inn

The Best Hotels in San Luis Obispo, California
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Set inside an 1887 Victorian home in SLO’s historic core, Garden Street Inn has been a bed and breakfast since 1989. Today, it describes itself as a mix of old-world charm and new-world hospitality. Rooms reflect the property’s Victorian roots, with elegant decor, fabrics, and chandeliers in each room. Book the best rates here.

Address: 1212 Garden St, San Luis Obispo, CA 93401

What To Know Before Traveling To San Luis Obispo

When is the best time to come?

While weather along California’s central coast is mild and extreme heat or cold is not the norm, temperatures do fluctuate by season. For highs in the 70s and a few days of rain, consider May or June. Keep in mind that it tends to cool down after dark, and pack layers.

Do I need a rental car?

Downtown San Luis Obispo is very walkable, but if you really want to see the best the area has to offer, I do recommend renting a car. It will give you the freedom to explore some of the beautiful natural regions nearby, such as Montaña de Oro State Park, which is about half an hour from the city center. Book the best rental car rates here.

How far ahead should I book?

San Luis Obispo is not as big a tourist destination as some other places in California, but it’s still always a good idea to book as soon as you can.

Many of these hotels are on the smaller side and don’t have many rooms. San Luis Obispo is also home to multiple colleges and universities, so be sure to check for big events (such as graduation) that could make hotel rooms scarce.

Where should I travel to after?

One of the best parts about visiting San Luis Obispo is its proximity to other destinations in California.

Located roughly halfway between San Francisco and Los Angeles, San Luis Obispo is easy to visit as part of a longer road trip. Even if you aren’t doing the whole Highway 1 drive, consider stopping in Santa Barbara, Ojai, Cambria, or Big Sur. Each of these places has so much to offer.

Looking for inspiration?

Check out this post for a full guide to San Luis Obispo, including things to do and places to eat.

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The Best Hotels in San Luis Obispo, California

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