Hotels

The Central Coast is a huge swath of land, stretching from Santa Barbara to Monterey, more or less the middle third of coastal California. But for all the region's immensity, many of the finest wine producers are grouped in small areas, amenable to exploration by the enterprising wine lover. That goes for lodgings too. Here are our editor's picks for the top accommodations from Carmel to Paso Robles to Santa Barbara.

Please note that prices and other details can often change. We recommend that you call ahead before you go.

Carmel

Bernardus Lodge
415 Carmel Valley Road
Carmel Valley, CA 93924
Telephone: (831) 658-3400; (888) 648-9463
Fax: (831) 659-3529
Website: www.bernardus.com

Rooms: 46
Suites: 11
Rates: $545 to $825
Services: Babysitting, Concierge, Dry Cleaning, Internet Access, Laundry, Parking, Restaurant/Bar, Room Service
Amenities: Beach, Fitness Center, Golf, Jacuzzi, Sauna, Spa, Tennis

Eight acres of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay vineyards frame the lodge's entrance, and nine tasting rooms are a five-minute drive away, setting the stage for the ultimate wine country escape. Rooms offer at least 525 square feet of space, private decks or patios, fireplaces, bathtubs for two and soft feather beds. Be sure to request a view of the vines. Also, make time for an afternoon at the spa, where you can unwind in a meditation garden, warming room and lap pool. No need to go far for meals. Alfresco dining is available at Wickets, and Marinus,a Wine Spectator Grand Award winner, is ideal for dinner with dishes such as tuna tartare with foie gras and lemon confit and grilled squab with confit and bacon vinaigrette.

Carmel Valley Ranch
One Old Ranch Road
Carmel Valley, CA 93923
Telephone: (831) 625-9500; (877) 585-0052
Fax: (831) 626-2574
Website: www.carmelvalleyranch.com

Suites: 139
Rates: $425 to $800
Services: Babysitting, Dry Cleaning, Internet Access, Laundry, Parking, Pet Services, Restaurant Bar
Amenities: Fitness Center, Golf, Jacuzzi, Pool, Sauna, Spa, Steam Room, Tennis

Though it's hidden away of a forested, 500-acre parcel of land among the Santa Lucia Mountains, Carmel Valley Ranch has a bit of an apartment-complex feel. But activities abound: There's a championship Pete Dye-designed golf course, clay- and hard-surfaced tennis courts, two pools and a new, full-service spa with treatments based on local, natural ingredients. For wine lovers, several producers have set up tasting rooms in Carmel Valley Village, a 10-minute drive from the ranch. Request the 1,100-square-foot Veranda Suite, which comes with two wood-burning fireplaces (one in the bedroom, the other in the sitting room) and a private deck.

Highlands Inn, Park Hyatt Carmel
120 Highland Drive
Carmel, CA 93929
Telephone: (831) 620-1234
Fax: (831) 626-1574
Website: www.highlandsinn.hyatt.com

Rooms: 37
Suites: 11
Rates: $289 to $899
Services: Babysitting, Concierge, Dry Cleaning, Internet Access, Laundry, Parking, Restaurant/Bar, Room Service
Amenities: Fitness Center, Jacuzzi, Pool, Spa

It's hard to imagine a more gorgeous view: Two-story windows in the main lodge frame the deep blue Pacific Ocean crashing onto the rocks below with cypresses and Monterey pines blowing in the wind just steps from the beach. Guestrooms are terraced on the steep hillside, and each one comes with a striking view of the sea, wood-burning fireplace, plush feather bed and binoculars for whale watching. Dine at the resort's Pacific's Edge restaurant, a Wine Spectator Best of Award of Excellence winner, for dishes made with fresh, local ingredients and an eclectic 1,700-bottle wine list. For afternoon wine tasting, several Monterey County wineries are around 10 miles away. Make a point to visit Talbott.

La Playa Hotel
Camino Real at Eighth Avenue
Carmel, CA 93921
Telephone: (831) 624-6476; (800) 582-8900
Fax: (831) 624-7966
Website: www.laplayahotel.com

Rooms: 75
Rates: $190 to $775
Services: Babysitting, Dry Cleaning, Internet Access, Laundry, Restaurant/Bar, Room Service
Amenities: Garden, Pool, Spa Services

A renovated Mediterranean villa built in 1904, La Playa Hotel is the best place to stay inside the city of Carmel, combining the feel of a cozy bed-and-breakfast with the amenities (fine dining restaurant, pool) of a larger hotel. Still, there are drawbacks like no tennis or golf. But the beach, shops and restaurants are all within walking distance, and Monterey County tasting rooms are 15 minutes away. Request one of the private cottages: Four have fireplaces and the fifth offers a private deck.

L'Auberge Carmel
Monte Verde at Seventh St.
Carmel-by-the-Sea, CA 93921
Telephone: (831) 624-8578
Fax: (831) 626-1018
Website: www.laubergecarmel.com

Rooms: 20
Rates: $375 to $700
Services: Babysitting, Breakfast Included, Concierge, Dry Cleaning, Internet Access, Laundry, Parking, Restaurant/Bar, Room Service

Built in 1929, this distinctive inn raises the bar for high-end accommodations in Carmel: Beds are covering in luxurious textured linens, bathrooms have heated travertine floors and twice-daily housekeeping services keeps the place spotless. Dine at the inn's intimate 12-table restaurant, where dishes are made from ingredients purchased at a local's farmer's market and crafted into a multi-course prix fixe menu. The wine list caters to a variety of tastes with bottlings from California, Italy, France, Germany and Spain. Many Monterey County wineries are within at 20-minute drive of the property, including Talbott.

Lodge at Pebble Beach
1700 17-Mile Drive
Pebble Beach, CA 93953
Telephone: (831) 624-3811; (800) 654-9300
Fax: (831) 625-8598
Website: www.pebblebeach.com

Rooms: 144
Suites: 17
Rates: $695 to $2,250
Services: Babysitting, Concierge, Dry Cleaning, Internet Access, Laundry, Parking, Pet Services, Restaurant/Bar, Room Service
Amenities: Beach, Fitness Center, Golf, Jacuzzi, Pool, Sauna, Spa, Steam Room, Tennis

This elegant, oceanside lodge is a 15-minute drive from Tiffany & Co., Cole Haan and Louis Vuitton—just a few of the designer boutiques in the city of Carmel. For an afternoon of wine tasting, guests can make the 16-mile drive to Talbott (near the airport) or the 20-mile trip to the wineries of Salinas Valley. Rooms are comfortable, with wood-burning fireplaces and private terraces or patios; request one with an outdoor whirlpool overlooking Pebble Beach Golf Links' storied 18th hole.

Paso Robles

Hotel Cheval
1021 Pine St.
Paso Robles, CA 93446
Telephone: (805) 226-9995; (866) 522-6999
Fax: (805) 226-9979
Website: www.hotelcheval.com

Rooms: 16
Rates: $225 to $525
Services: Breakfast Included, Concierge, Internet Access, Restaurant/Bar
Amenities: Library, Spa Services

Situated just off the downtown square, this intimate hotel blends an Old World atmosphere with comfortable New World luxury. The courtyard, with its rough stone architecture, fountains and fireplaces, recalls an European village. The rooms are on two levels and many feature patios, high ceilings and fireplaces. All are done in rich but subtle tones, with wooden shutters and handsome bathrooms with granite highlights and large soaking-tubs. All the must-have gadgets, such as wide, flat-screen televisions, are at hand. Continental breakfast is delivered to the rooms, and the town's top restaurants are all a short stroll from the hotel, making Cheval an ideal choice for wine touring all day and leaving the car behind at night.

Just Inn Bed & Breakfast at Justin Winery
11680 Chimney Rock Road
Paso Robles, CA 93446
Telephone: (805) 238-6932; (800) 726-0049
Fax: (805) 237-4164
Website: www.justinwine.com

Suites: 4
Rates: $375 to $395
Services: Concierge, Internet Access, Restaurant/Bar, Room Service
Amenities: Jacuzzi, Pool

With luxurious rooms overlooking the vineyards of Justin Winery, the Just Inn is a true gem in rustic Paso Robles. Accommodations range from 600 to 1,400 square feet and come with cozy leather armchairs, queen-size canopy beds, flat-screen televisions and a complimentary bottle of wine. (The winery producers Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah, plus Bordeaux- and Rhone-style blends.) For those who want to venture off the property, many of the wineries of Paso Robles are within nine miles of the inn. Make reservations at least three months in advance, as there are only four suites.

La Bellasera Hotel & Suites
206 Alexa Court
Paso Robles, CA 93446
Telephone: (805) 238-2834
Fax: (805) 238-2826
Website: www.labellasera.com

Rooms: 40
Suites: 20
Rates: $179 to $663
Services: Concierge, Internet Access, Laundry, Restaurant/Bar, Room Service
Amenities: Fitness Center, Pool, Spa Services

La Bellasera is at the doorstep of Paso's much-lauded Westside, where most of the leading producers of Rhône-style wines are located. It has all the services visitors expect of a full-service hotel, with fashionably upscale rooms that have an assortment of layouts and amenities, including flagstone fireplaces, balconies, kitchenettes and whirlpool tubs with theatrical columns and vineyard-scene murals. Rooms feature overstuffed beds and sleek, modern bathrooms and are well-equipped with the latest high-tech toys. Enoteca is the hotel's three-meal-a-day restaurant and wine bar; just off the lobby, it's an easygoing space with a large fireplace and solid menu of California cuisine. La Bellasera is near the highway but is surprisingly quiet inside.

Santa Barbara County

Bacara Resort & Spa
8301 Hollister Avenue
Santa Barbara, CA 93117
Telephone: (805) 968-0100; (877) 422-4245
Fax: (805) 968-1800
Website: www.bacararesort.com

Rooms: 311
Suites: 49
Rates: $475 to $10,000
Services: Babysitting, Concierge, Dry Cleaning, Internet Access, Laundry, Parking, Pet Services, Restaurant/Bar, Room Service
Amenities: Beach, Golf, Fitness, Pool, Sauna, Spa, Tennis

This 78-acre resort's Spanish Mission sophistication evokes the easy grace of the 1930s, and the wineries of Santa Ynez Valley are only a 35-minute drive away. Rooms are bright and elegant, with Spanish terra cotta floor tiles, Frette bathrobes and private decks or patios, and the majority have fireplaces. No need to go far for meals with three restaurants on the grounds. Miro, named after Spanish artist, Joan Miró, offers Basque-Catalonian cuisine and a 12,000-bottle wine list. The Bistro affords outdoor dining on a stone terrace and Mediterranean-influenced dishes, and Spa Café serves low-fat regional dishes with Asian-inspired textures and flavors. The 42,000-square-foot spa offers 36 treatment rooms and the signature Bacara Body Melt, a full-body exfoliation treatment and massage incorporating heat and essential oils from exotic plants.

Ballard Inn & Restaurant
2436 Baseline Avenue
Ballard, CA 93463
Telephone: (805) 688-7770; (800) 638-2466
Fax: (805) 688-9560
Website: www.ballardinn.com

Rooms: 15
Rates: $245 to $315
Services: Babysitting, Breakfast Included, Concierge, Dry Cleaning, Internet Access, Laundry, Parking, Restaurant/Bar, Room Service

This inn, in the heart of the Santa Ynez Valley, is an ideal pied-à-terre for exploring California wine country. Several wineries are just minutes away, and the inn offers nightly tastings of wines from local producers such as Kenneth-Crawford. The 15 guestrooms each have a different look, ranging from a Shakers motif with antique wooden farm tools mounted on the wall to a delicate feminine design with a charming white-picket headboard and duvet patterned with pale violets. If you're headed when the nights are chilly, request one of seven rooms with a wood-burning fireplace. Breakfast dishes such as maple-almond French toast with raspberry coulis are served daily and included in the room rate.

Four Seasons Resort The Biltmore Santa Barbara
1260 Channel Drive
Santa Barbara, CA 93108
Telephone: (805) 969-2261; (800) 819-5053
Fax: (805) 565-8329
Website: www.fourseasons.com/santabarbara

Rooms: 181
Suites: 26
Rates: $395 to $4,600
Services: Babysitting, Concierge, Dry Cleaning, Internet Access, Laundry, Parking, Pet Services, Restaurant/Bar, Room Service
Amenities: Beach, Fitness Center, Golf, Sauna, Spa, Tennis

Built in 1927, this Spanish Colonial-style hotel has hosted Golden-era movie stars such as Greta Garbo and Clark Gable as well as modern-day celebrities such as Jennifer Aniston and Will Smith. The 22-acre complex is private, yet feels airy and open, with lush gardens and palm trees. Rooms range from comfortable to extravagant. The hotel's Bella Vita restaurant offers views of the ocean, and the waterfront Coral Casino club allows private access to secluded Butterfly Beach. For wine lovers, the wineries and vineyards of Santa Ynez are about 35 miles away. Don't leave without a trip to the renovated spa, where the signature Grape De Vine—an 80-minute full-body scrub and massage incorporating grape seed, rose and lavender extracts—and the Chardonnay Clay Body Wrap—a 50-minute treatment where Chardonnay-infused French clay is slathered on the body from head to toe to draw out toxins—afford utter bliss ($155 to $220).

Ojai Valley Inn & Spa
905 Country Club Road
Ojai, CA 93023
Telephone: (805) 646-1111; (866) 697-8780
Fax: (805) 646-7969
Website: www.ojairesort.com

Rooms: 233
Suites: 72
Rates: $400 to $3,000
Services: Concierge, Dry Cleaning, Internet Access, Laundry, Parking, Pet Services, Restaurant/Bar, Room Service
Amenities: Fitness Center, Golf, Jacuzzi, Pool, Spa, Tennis

This inn's setting couldn't be more breathtaking: It's nestled in a valley surrounded by the Topa Topa Mountains, a site so idyllic is was used to depict Shangri-la in Frank Capra's 1937 classic Lost Horizon. Rooms and suites range from 475 to 1,900 square feet and come with romantic Spanish Colonial-style, four-poster beds. Request a room with a balcony for panoramic views of the mountains the property's top-notch, 18-hole golf course. Horseback riding is offered nearby, where miles of trails overlook the 220-acre resort grounds. Tours with an expert guide can be arranged at check-in. Before leaving, try the spa's signature Kuyam, which combines cleansing Moor mud from the Utah desert, dry heat, inhalation therapy and guided meditation.

Santa Ynez Inn
3627 Sagunto St.
Santa Ynez Valley, CA 93460
Telephone: (805) 688-5588; (800) 643-5774
Fax: (805) 686-4294
Website: www.santaynezinn.com

Rooms: 17
Suites: 3
Rates: $255 to $495
Services: Babysitting, Breakfast Included, Concierge, Dry Cleaning, Internet Access, Laundry, Room Service
Amenities: Fitness Center, Jacuzzi, Sauna

This cozy inn offers the intimacy of a bed-and-breakfast but the privacy and amenities of a hotel. While the interior has been styled with a 19th-century Victorian home in mind, decorators didn't overdo the antiques. All of the rooms have high ceilings and ample elbow room, and most of them also come with a fireplace, oversized whirlpool tub and private patio or balcony. A full gourmet breakfast is served each morning, with dishes such as Italian eggs benedict with cream pesto sauce and Gruyere crepes served with eggs and grilled tomatoes. For those who want to lounge the day away, there's a Jacuzzi and sundeck, and for wine tasting, make the 10-minute drive to Sanford, Gainey and more.

San Ysidro Ranch
900 San Ysidro Lane
Santa Barbara, CA 93108
Telephone: (805) 565-1700; (800) 368-6788
Fax: (805) 565-1995
Website: www.sanysidroranch.com

Rooms: 8
Suites: 33
Rates: $650 to $5,500
Services: Babysitting, Concierge, Dry Cleaning, Internet Access, Laundry, Parking, Pet Services, Restaurant/Bar, Room Service
Amenities: Fitness Center, Pool, Spa Services

Long a celebrity magnet, the 500-acre San Ysidro Ranch hosted John and Jackie Kennedy on their honeymoon in 1953, and the wedding of actress Gwyneth Paltrow to Coldplay-frontman Chris Martin 50 years later. The exclusive retreat underwent a $150 million renovation, reopening in January 2007. Today, 41 private cottages and suites dot the property's hillside creek and tree-lined paths. Each one offers a four-poster, king-size bed, Pratesi linens, a fireplace, heated bathroom floors, flat-screen televisions and antiques. For wine lovers, the wineries and vineyards of the Santa Ynez Valley are 30 miles away. Make reservations at least one night to dine at Stonehouse, a Wine Spectator Best of Award of Excellence winner, where the menu takes advantage of organic herbs and vegetables grown on the property.

Simpson House Inn
121 East Arrellaga St.
Santa Barbara, CA 93101
Telephone: (805) 963-7067; (800) 676-1280
Fax: (805) 564-4811
Website: www.simpsonhouseinn.com

Rooms: 7
Suites: 8
Rates: $ to $
Services: Concierge, Dry Cleaning, Internet Access, Laundry
Amenities: Fitness Center, Garden, Library

Guests have their pick of lodgings on this one-acre property. There's a Victorian mansion, restored barn built in 1874 and private cottages, each with unique charms. Rooms in the estate are quaint with oriental carpets and custom-designed wallpaper, while accommodations in the barn have special touches like antique pine floors, wood-burning fireplaces and private decks. Cottages are cozy and private with stone-faced fireplaces, European antiques and Jacuzzi tubs. Rates include a decadent breakfast (think Darjeeling bread pudding and lemon-chiffon pancakes), afternoon wine and hors d'oeuvres and evening dessert and coffee. Try the inn's signature massage with lavender, citrus and rosewood oils in the privacy of your own room. For wine tasting, make the five-minute drive to the Jaffurs and Whitcraft tasting rooms in downtown Santa Barbara.

MEMBER LOGIN

= members only

Keep me logged in      Forgot Password?

Free Email Newsletters

Sips & Tips | Wine & Healthy Living
Video Theater | Collecting & Auctions

» View samples
» Or sign up now!
» Manage my newsletter preferences

Classifieds

The marketplace for all your wine needs, including:

Wine Storage | Wine Clubs
Dining & Travel | Wine Auctions
Wine Shops | Wine Accessories