Over the last decade, Paso Robles, California exploded with new wineries and now boasts over 200 on the books. Unfortunately, the tourism sector — specifically the luxury hotel industry — has not kept pace. For a region capable of such artisanal, soulful wines, it’s puzzling more hoteliers haven’t opened commensurately boutique, aesthetically-conscious properties so synonymous with wine country in other parts of the state.
Fortunately, the team behind SummerWood Winery had the vision to open just such an inn, completing a total renovation more than a year ago. And their fully booked calendar, sold out months in advance, proves the stylish lodging void desperately needed filling. Tucked off the main highway and abutting acres of newly planted vineyards, Summerwood Inn provides the region with a fresh, design-focused perspective evoking a chic, modern farmhouse.
Calming hues of sand, slate, and blue carry throughout the nine grape-themed rooms. (The theme is really in name only. There’s nothing gimmicky about this property.) Framing the vines yonder, picture windows in the spacious rooms deliver practical wall art through scenic country views. My suite featured a double-headed shower, plus a stand-alone tub which would’ve been tempting but for the drought crisis afflicting the state. Had I more time than a single night, I would’ve cracked open my complimentary bottle of wine, either on the sofa affronting the gas fireplace, or on the private deck. Alas, after a long journey from New York, and a few stops at wineries along the way, the soft cotton sheets tucked into a fluffy, pillow top bed beckoned my fatigued limbs to climb in and never get out. The next morning, I was lured away solely on the promise of a generous, chef-inspired breakfast which did not disappoint.
Great properties highlight the relationship between small details and big concepts. An expansive great room filled with smart, custom furnishings draws shape and warmth from textured throw blankets, potted orchids, and mercury vases. From freshly picked flowers adorning breakfast tables, to locally-made custom bath products, to evening platters of decadent desserts and turndown service treats, it is evident innkeeper and chef Kelly Wangard and general manager Shayne Kline, understand the finer points of hospitality critical to leaving an indelible mark on guests.
SummerWood Inn’s only flaw: its handful of rooms can’t satisfy demand. If you’re lucky enough to plan in advance, or catch a last-minute cancellation, however, you’ll enjoy the best lodging experience in town.
Breakfasts are substantial and deftly executed by the innkeeper Kelly Wangard who is also a trained chef. Submit selections with preferred breakfast time, the night before. Fresh fruit, coffee, and juice complement main dishes ranging from smoky chilaquiles with a fried egg (essentially high-brow breakfast nachos), to fluffy biscuits and savory gravy.
SummerWood Winery & Inn is located in Paso Robles, California exactly halfway between San Francisco and Los Angeles. They are just one mile off Highway 101, on the corner of Highway 46 West and Arbor Road. From Highway 101 take the exit for Highway 46 West, Hearst Castle, and Cambria. Travel one mile west and turn right on Arbor Road. Summerwood Winery is on your left and the Inn is on your right.
- Choice of gourmet breakfast included
- Large demonstration kitchen and dining area can be booked for private events
- Outdoor patio
- Wine hour with substantial hors d’oeuvres, plus evening desserts and coffee
- Complimentary bottle of wine
- Nearby Summerwood Winery tasting room. Definitely try the Grenache Blanc.