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What’s New in San Luis Obispo County

From New Tours at Hearst Castle to New Winery Ampitheaters, it’s all about Pure Play this Summer on California’s Central Coast

SAN LUIS OBISPO (July 9, 2013) – San Luis Obispo County, located halfway between San Francisco and Los Angeles on California’s wildly beautiful Central Coast, offers many new reasons to visit this summer, from renovated hotels and hip new restaurants and breweries to fascinating tours and a new renowned amphitheater nestled in a vineyard. Here are just a few of the latest visitor industry developments, and you can find out more at Visit San Luis Obispo County’s exciting new website – featuring everything from regional overviews and events to activities and trip ideas.

Hotel Happenings

Bayfront Inn Upgrades, Morro Bay: The hotel recently underwent a facelift, including new carpeting throughout the hotel, new 32” flatscreen TVs in the rooms and a new rear stairway to increase room access.

Best Western Casa Grande Inn Wins 3-Diamond Award, Arroyo Grande: The inn recently received the prestigious Three Diamond Award from the American Automobile Association (AAA), due in part to its top notch service, amenities, and AAA Preferred Gold Crown Club offerings.

Cambria Landing Inn & Suites Renovation, Cambria: Pacifica Hotel Company completed a $1 million renovation on the inn in May, celebrating its new look with a special 25 percent discount on all rooms until Dec. 31, 2013. The beachfront property’s guestrooms and suites feature new carpeting, window treatments, fresh paint, updated bedding, furniture, and upgraded bathrooms, while the common areas received enhanced flooring, paint, and furniture, as well as new skylights and a remodeled

La Quinta Inn & Suites Expansion, Paso Robles: Spurred by Paso Robles’ continued renaissance, including the opening of the major Vina Robles amphitheater, the owners of La Quinta Inn & Suites recently announced a year-long expansion scheduled to start late summer 2013. Changes include 37 new rooms, some of which will include luxurious Villa Suites with special features such as full size balconies, fireplaces, and full kitchenettes. The two-room suites feature spacious bathrooms with Jacuzzi tubs, a separate living room and large bedroom. Guests will enjoy special amenities including a complimentary breakfast buffet, free Wi-Fi, an evening wine and gourmet cheese reception, a heated outdoor pool and spa, fitness center, and business center.

Madonna Inn’s New Amenities, San Luis Obispo: To keep improving the guest experience, the famous Madonna Inn – known for its themed rooms and outstanding bakery -- recently introduced new amenities, including signature pink bicycles available for $25 day rental, which guests can ride on the Madonna Inn Bike Path towards downtown San Luis Obispo. Other features include new “farm-to-table” vegetables and fruits incorporated into appetizers, drinks, entrees and desserts, including local organic strawberries in the hotel’s renowned strawberry cakes, pies and waffles. The hotel now offers in-room Wi-Fi and 60 more high-definition TV channels, and no corkage fee on Wednesdays this summer for local wines. Coming soon is a new Secret Garden, featuring outdoor lighting, a romantic pond and paths.

Paso Robles Inn Renovation, Paso Robles: The historic Paso Robles Inn, renowned for their therapeutic mineral spa tubs, is scheduled to complete a multi-million-dollar renovation this month. This 98-room inn will feature new exterior paint and décor along with new guestroom furniture, soft goods and upgraded spa tubs.

The Rose Garden Inn Upgrades, San Luis Obispo: The inn recently debuted the largest spa in the area, including two new waterfalls, a steam volcano, large heated pool and new landscaping has added some new features to this pretty garden style hotel. The management also remodeled the Premier rooms to be more family and corporate friendly, including new desks, free Wi-Fi, deluxe beds, DVD players and more.

Sandcastle Inn Offers Beer and Wine, Pismo Beach: The inn recently secured a beer and wine license and now offers guests the chance to savor local beer and wine varieties.

New Valentina Suites Hotel, Pismo Beach: Pismo Beach’s newest hotel , the Valentina Suites, recently opened less than two blocks from the beach. The hotel offers one, two, and three-room suites with fully equipped gourmet kitchens, adjacent living and dining areas, and beautiful views.

Tour & Attraction Activities

Ancient Peaks’ New Guided Vineyard at Santa Margarita Ranch and Food Pairing Tours, Paso Robles: Wine lovers can experience a new 90-minute vineyard tour at this renowned vineyard, home to Sunset SAVOR the Central Coast, featuring an intimate hands-on look at growing wine from the ground to glass, followed by a special wine and food pairing experience.

Hearst Castle’s New Tour, San Simeon: Now through Labor Day weekend 2013, Hearst Castle® is offering a new tour option that lets visitors get an insider’s glimpse into parts of the castle that have been viewed in recent years. The “Designing the Dream” tour gives smaller groups (maximum 15) a live interpretation of the Neptune and Roman Pools, Guest House “Casa del Mar,” the North Wing of Casa Grande and the Dressing Rooms at the indoor Roman Pool. After the tour visitors can stroll the gardens and terraces at their leisure and enjoy the spectacular coastal and mountain views just as Mr. Hearst’s guests did during the Castle’s heyday. Tour costs $30 per adult and $15 per child 5-12 years old. Children under 5 are free. Ticket includes a viewing of the large format film, “Building the Dream” at the Hearst Castle Visitor Center Theater.

13th Annual Great Kitchens of Cambria Self-Guided Tour, Cambria: See eight unique and wonderful kitchens in this charming coastal city, featuring a refreshment at each home, such as hors d’oeuvres, soup, salad, cheese, wine and more. Tickets cost $35 in advance ($40 tour day) and benefit the Friends of the Fiscalini Ranch Preserve, a 437 hiking preserve in Cambria.

Wining and Dining Developments

Downtown Paso Robles Opens Wave of New Restaurants, Brewpubs and Tasting Rooms

Downtown Paso Robles, the heart of one of California’s leading wine regions, continues its ongoing renaissance with a wave of new restaurants, brewpubs and tasting rooms, such as:

Artisan Reopens in New Location on Downtown Paso Robles’ Square: The James Beard-nominated Artisan restaurant – an acclaimed leader in the farm-to-table dining movement -- just opened in its new location at 843 12th Street last month, directly on Downtown Paso Robles’ main square.

Brewing Company (PRBC): Beer fans can taste brews from 21 taps in this hot new brewpub, featuring the wares of PRBC, other local brewers, and guest brewers from around the U.S. The restaurant also features an outstanding collection of specialty bottles, plus local cider and wines, which can all be savored while enjoying local and traveling musical acts.

New Paso Underground: Paso’s newest downtown tasting room, Paso Underground, features the creations of four of Paso Robles’ rising star winemakers – from Aaron, Clos Solene, Edmond August and Turtle Rock Vineyards. Oenophiles can taste critically acclaimed boutique wines that usually sell out before reaching the public spotlight.

BarrelHouse Brewing Co: After years of blood, sweat and beer, the Central Coast’s newest and most unique craft brewery is open. This 17-barrel brew house features a bottling operation, beautiful half-acre beer garden with pond and waterfall and a flatbed truck used as a stage for live music, surrounded by seating and a large grassy area for picnicking.

Clautiere Vineyards Renovated Tasting Room: Known for their room full of silly dress-up gear, this whimsical winery recently completed an extensive renovation of their large barn, including a stage outfitted with multi-channel surround-sound for special recorded or live music.

La Cosecha Bar + Restaurant: This new eatery centers on the flavors of Spain and the Americas, featuring regional ingredients and a menu by celebrated chef, Santos MacDonal.

New Late Night Dining in Downtown San Luis Obispo

Two of downtown’s hottest restaurants recently unveiled new late night dining and entertainment, such as:

Luna Red’s New Late Night Menu and Entertainment: This popular eatery, known for its grassroots cooking and locally sourced ingredients, is now open late Thursday through Saturday nights from 10 p.m. to midnight. “Luna Late Night” features live music Thursday nights, a patio fire pit lounge and a late night menu.

Novo Restaurant and Lounge’s New Beleza Nights: Known for its global cuisine and extensive wine list, the restaurant recently launched “Beleza Nights at Novo,” featuring a late night menu, outdoor patio lounge, drink specials and DJ on Friday and Saturdays.

Performing Arts, Culture and Entertainment News

New Amphitheatre at Vina Robles: The Central Coast’s hottest new music venue, Vina Robles Amphitheatre, recently opened with top-tier global entertainment. Last week the venue announced they appointed Thomas Drahos as the new executive chef of the Amphitheatre Restaurant as well as the Hospitality Center, overseeing to oversee all menu creation and culinary execution. Perched on a picturesque, oak-dotted hillside in Paso Robles, the intimate, 3,300-seat boutique amphitheatre features a style reminiscent of the historic California missions with modern amenities and hospitality. The venue offers various seating options within 150 feet from the stage, including regular, VIP and general admission lawn seating.

Performing Arts Center Announces Exciting Fall Lineup: Cal Poly’s renowned Performing Arts Center recently announced an exciting fall lineup of concerts, starting with La Guitarra 2013 Festival (Sept. 6-8)

Comedian Lewis Black (Sept. 12), Emmylou Harris and Rodney Crowell (Sept. 28). For more concerts go to

Shopping Updates

New Stores in Downtown Paso Robles

Joining a slew of new restaurants, tasting rooms and brewpubs in downtown Paso Robles are two unique stores across from the park:

General Store Paso Robles: The General Store Paso Robles recently opened on the main town square, offering artful provisions for picnic, pantry and home. With a heavy focus on local products, the store is known for its Paso-centered t-shirts and kids’ apparel.

AndBe Boutique: Right on the square, this Euro-sleek store offers beautiful and unique jewelry, handbags, home accessories and clothing.

For more information on planning a trip to San Luis Obispo County, go to