It’s been said that Paso Robles in California is Napa 20 years ago. The region is located along the Santa Lucia Mountains about a 3-hour drive from Los Angeles and San Francisco. The city is a burgeoning destination of untouched natural beauty, fresh farm cuisine, luxury hotels and over 200 boutique wineries covering 26,000 acres of vineyards. Inside the oak-lined town square, there are a wide variety of specialty boutiques, wine-tasting rooms and restaurants housed inside gorgeous 19th century architecture.
All around Paso Robles, farmers and artisans provide locally grown produce, grass-fed beef, artisanal cheeses and extra virgin olive oil to restaurants in the city. Be sure to try the delicious prime rib sandwich at Paso Robles Steakhouse—five ounces of prime rib with organic white cheddar cheese, avocado and Dijon mayonnaise on warm sourdough.
For a great group wine tasting experience, the Robert Hall Winery hosts groups up to 400 pax. Start the day with an educational tour of the vineyard, winemaking facility and largest underground wine cavern on the Central Coast.
After the tour, groups participate in a tasting as guides explain the winemaking process inside the Cavern Club barrel room seating 120 pax. Groups can also reserve a private garden terrace or the 130-seat Meritage room, serving spinach pasta and feta salad with chicken on warm focaccia bread. To end the day, groups can sip cocktails inside the 400-seat amphitheater and walk the courtyard of rose gardens and swaying oak trees.
Vina Robles Winery is a European-inspired facility specializing in unconventional blends to create wines of distinct quality and flavor. The winery has a 14,000-sf hospitality center with large windows, state-of-the-art technology and pretty fountains on the exterior. There are private dining rooms, an art gallery, a banquet room and a tasting room for groups. All indoor/outdoor spaces have sweeping views of the 30-acre vineyard.
PASO ROBLES HOTELS
There are 19 hotels in the Paso Robles region. The most luxurious is the 16-room Hotel Cheval (above) in the middle of the downtown square with limestone patios, log fireplaces and 17th century art. Just off the hotel lobby is the equestrian-themed Pony Club, a horseshoe shaped bar with live jazz music on weekends. The hotel library is another one of the best kept secrets in Paso Robles. Curl up with a copy of your favorite classic novel or challenge a group member to your favorite board game. Also check out the ivy-covered courtyards with outdoor firepits where planners can employ the services of a s’mores butler.
La Bellasera Hotel & Suites is an enchanting 60-room roperty with meeting space for 120 pax, located near the landmark Heart Castle. The Mediterranean design elements include stone floors, rock fountains and Roman columns. La Bellasera Spa features wine-inspired treatments, including a soothing grape seed body scrub and a lavender patchouli massage. For dining, Enoteca Restaurant & Bar offers semi-private rooms and a covered patio seating 24. The restaurant specializes in innovative seafood such as plank grouper with tequila marinade and pineapple mango salsa, paired with local wine of course.
For golfers, there are four premier golf courses in the area, including the 18-hole Paso Robles Golf Club.