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Rooftop pool at Hotel Cerro at sunset
Hotel Cerro

SmarterTravel Spotlight: Hotel Cerro Review

Editor’s Note: The author was hosted by Visit SLO.

Although it opened its doors hardly two years ago, it’s impossible to distinguish Hotel Cerro from the surrounding architecture. Retrofitting a historic building as part of its construction, the property grew into the city as if it was always there. Designed with a contemporary, spa-like feel and decked out in pieces from local artists, Hotel Cerro is both a retreat from and an homage to the vibrant life of San Luis Obispo, California (SLO).

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Table of Contents

Price & How to Book

Location: San Luis Obispo, California

San Luis Obispo, California: A great road trip stop and a model for sustainability

Located at the halfway point between San Francisco and Los Angeles along the Central Coast and just twenty minutes from Pismo Beach, San Luis Obispo is the perfect place to spend a weekend or stop in for the night on your road trip down Highway 1. Aptly called SLO, this nickname is not only an abbreviation of the city but a reflection of the slower pace and relaxed vibe of the area. Here you can enjoy hiking the trails in the roughly 3,500 acres of protected open space, ride along the city’s bike-friendly streets, or visit a local SIP-certified vineyard. With over 300 sunny days per year, outdoor dining and recreation is a way of life.

What sets this destination apart, aside from its bustling downtown and temperate climate, is the city’s dedication to sustainability. Residents, businesses, and tourists all do their part to contribute to the citywide goal to be carbon neutral by 2035, with services such as free green waste pickup, strong public transportation and biking infrastructure, a ban on plastic bags, and limits on single-use plastic.

Property: Hotel Cerro

Hotel Cerro: A boutique hotel in the heart of the city

Exterior view of Hotel Cerro in San Luis Obispo, California
Carol McPherson

Opened in 2020, Hotel Cerro is a 65-room boutique hotel in the heart of downtown San Luis Obispo. Abutting the main drag of Higuera Street and located within walking distance to many of the city’s best dining and shopping spots, it’s the location to beat. With all the amenities on offer, however, you could spend a comfortable weekend without ever leaving hotel grounds. 

Spa Cerro is open Wednesday through Friday (9:00am to 4:00pm) and weekends (10:00am to 6:00pm) and offers a range of treatments from traditional massages to Chromatherapy, a treatment that uses colored lights to boost your mood and reduce stress. Follow up your spa appointment with a stroll through the hotel’s edible garden, where guests are encouraged to harvest the seasonal fruit and veggies to snack on at their leisure, or unwind by the rooftop pool and bar. You can also make use of the hotel’s fitness center, located next to the pool, with access to free weights and a selection of cardio equipment.

If you’re feeling social, drop by the lobby from 4:30pm to 6:00pm for complementary local wine with fellow guests. The property also offers a range of dining options, including their main restaurant Brasserie SLO.


Rooms: Modern and Warm

Contemporary furniture and sleek features like electric fireplaces and rain showers are balanced by an abundance of ambient lighting and views of the property’s gardens, giving the accommodations at Hotel Cerro a feeling that is modern but still cozy. 

The property offers standard rooms with either garden or city views, as well as rooms with two queen beds and ADA-accessible rooms. It also offers a range of suites including:

  • Garden Suites, which open up onto a private patio and the hotel’s edible garden;
  • Loft Suites, located inside a retrofitted building and featuring historic brickwork;
  • Penthouse Lofts, complete with 8-foot wide windows and custom furniture
  • ADA Suites, offering accessible luxury to guests

As part of their agreement with the city, Hotel Cerro also offers select rooms for extended stay residencies, available for a minimum booking of 30 days.

Each room features a queen sized bed, a spacious shower and bathtub, a balcony or a garden patio, and a Smart TV. High quality soundproofing keeps the noise of the city at bay while guests sleep. In the spirit of sustainability that is a constant throughout SLO, guests are encouraged to use (and keep!) the reusable water bottles supplied in each room and to refill at water stations around the property.


Brasserie SLO

Exterior of Brasserie SLO, part of Hotel Cerro in San Luis Obispo, California
Carol McPherson

Brasserie SLO is Hotel Cerro’s main restaurant. With its roots in casual French dining, the Brasserie offers options suitable for any taste, often made with fresh ingredients from the region and the hotel’s edible garden.

The Distillery

Still and wall of wine in The Distillery dining room at Hotel Cerro in San Luis Obispo, California
Carol McPherson

An extension of the Brasserie, The Distillery can be rented out for private dining and tastings. Enjoy artisanal liquor brewed on-site in The Distillery’s own Holstein Still.

Other Dining Options

Mission Fig Patio outdoor dining space at Hotel Cerro in San Luis Obispo, California
Carol McPherson

Hotel Cerro offers outdoor dining on their Mission Fig Patio as well as their Rooftop Poolside bar so guests can continue to make the most of the sunny weather.

Hotel Cerro will soon be introducing a new restaurant called Life of Pie to showcase their range of delicious pies, baked in-house and currently available as part of the menu at Brasserie SLO.

Price & How to Book

Accomodations at Hotel Cerro run roughly between $365 and $555 per night, not including any add-ons such as snacks, bottomless mimosas at brunch, or a bottle of champagne.


Q: Does Hotel Cerro have a pool?
A: Yes! Hotel Cerro has a rooftop pool and bar that is open to the public Wednesday through Saturday, 5:00pm to 8:00pm, and Sunday, 12:00pm to 7:00pm.

Q: Does Hotel Cerro offer free cancellation for a full refund?
A: Hotel Cerro offers free cancellation for travelers who cancel no later than three days prior to arrival or thirty days prior to arrival during peak season.

Q: What are the cleanliness and hygiene measures currently in place at Hotel Cerro?
A: Hotel Cerro introduced a variety of measures in an effort to reduce the spread of COVID-19, including more frequent cleaning of high touch surfaces, increased sanitization of common areas, and limited seating capacity at their main restaurant and rooftop bar. You can read more about their cleanliness and hygiene measures here.

Q: Does Hotel Cerro have a gym?
A: Yes, Hotel Cerro has a fitness center complete with treadmills, cardio equipment, free weights, and a Peloton bicycle.

Q: How much does it cost to stay at Hotel Cerro?
A: For all of its perks, Hotel Cerro does have a higher price point, running guests anywhere from $365 to $555 per night. If an overnight stay is out of the budget, you can still visit Spa Cerro, Brasserie SLO, and the Rooftop Poolside bar, all of which are open to the public (check their website for hours of operation). Check out SmarterTravel Hotels for other accommodations in the area.

Q: Can you swim at Pismo Beach?
A: Yes, you can swim at Pismo Beach. Pismo Beach is just a 16 minute drive or a roughly 30 minute bus ride from Hotel Cerro. Be aware that there is a $10 parking fee and, unlike many of the outdoor areas in SLO, dogs are not allowed.

Q: Why is San Luis Obispo historic?
A: The city of San Luis Obispo sprung up around the San Luis Obispo de Tolosa Mission, founded in 1772 by Father Junípero Serra. Mission Plaza (a 3 minute walk from Hotel Cerro) remains a popular spot for outdoor recreation and concerts.

Q: Does San Luis Obispo have a mask mandate in place?
A: At time of publication, masks are “strongly recommended” for unvaccinated individuals for indoor public spaces, however there are no distancing or masking requirements currently in effect.

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