Allison Levine is owner of Please The Palate, a boutique marketing and event-planning agency. As a freelance writer, she contributes to numerous publications while eating and drinking her way around the world.
Staying on a vineyard in Italy or Greece sounds dreamy, but you can also do that in California. Many wineries have guest houses or guest rooms, but they are not available to the public. Having said that, a new hotel resort has opened in Paso Robles that is unlike anything else in the region.
Located off Highway 46, just one mile east of the 101 Freeway, you will drive up the long driveway and see a large Italian-style villa ahead. Am I in Italy? No, you are in Paso Robles, California at the Allegretto Vineyard Resort. But it feels like you are in another country.
Situated on twenty acres, Allegretto Vineyard Resort was designed and built by visionary Douglas Ayres who comes from a long line of developers. His great-grandfather Frank H. Ayres established a land development company in Los Angeles in the early 1900s. His grandfather Don Ayres Sr. and father Don Ayres Jr. continued to grow the business and developed distinctive homes throughout Southern California. Don Ayres Jr. developed the concept of European boutique hotels, known as the Ayres Hotel group. Today the family-owned business includes twenty-one Ayres Hotels throughout Southern California in addition to the Allegretto Vineyard Resort.
Inspired by both his travels as well as the beauty of Paso Robles, Douglas Ayres created Allegretto Vineyard Resort in the style of an Italian vineyard estate. The resort is named after the musical term “allegretto” which is a moderate tempo (120-132 beats per minute). Neither too fast, nor too slow, this is the way you will feel as you enter the property.
The resort is shaped in one large square with the 12,000 square-foot courtyard in the center.
The musical theme is carried throughout the hotel, from the name of the restaurant, Cello Ristorante, to the images of musical notes and instruments painted on the walls and elevator doors. But the artwork goes beyond music and there is an incredible attention to detail. The corridors and spaces are filled with art and artifacts from Ayres’ world travels. Family photos showing the family’s early land developments line one wall. There is a natural formation of silica sand and a large cut of a sequoia tree that dates back to 215BC. Finally, in the center of the courtyard, there is a fountain with natural river stone from China.
Allegretto Vineyard Resort includes 171 guest rooms and suites. The rooms are elegant and inviting with all the right touches. A comfortable bed, high thread count sheets, a spacious bathroom, a flat screen television and wifi are important. But the multi-charger station by the bed that will accommodate any mobile phone demonstrates an extra touch.
After exploring the art in the interior of the hotel, you can relax by the pool or in one of the cabanas. You can work out in the fitness center or take a long walk along the walking paths. There you can see the manicured Mediterranean gardens, the eight acres of vines planted or the two hundred plus olive, persimmon, pomegranate, lemon and tangerine trees. There is also a small boutique Spa that offers massages, facials and body treatments and also has zero gravity chairs and an infrared detox sauna.
Cello Ristorante & Bar is a Mediterranean-inspired restaurant that focuses on local ingredients. Executive Chef Eric Olson has a garden on the property where he is growing edible flowers, basil, Thai basil and Russian tarragon. But he also forages in the local area. He finds items like acorns, bay nuts, elderberry, milk thistle, wild radish, wild mustard and purslane, which are used in his cooking. The wine card is a great example of a “local” list. The offerings showcase wine primarily from Paso Robles but include wines from the Central Coast, such as Edna Valley, Santa Maria, Santa Barbara County and Sta. Rita Hills to fill in varieties that are not grown in Paso Robles. There are even a few wines from Sonoma, Napa, Germany, Italy and France that can be found on the list. Cello Ristorante is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. It is a casual restaurant and the only option on the property. You can sit in the dining room, at communal tables or outdoors on the patio.
Allegretto Vineyard Resort is an oasis in the heart of Paso Robles wine country. You can spend your entire vacation at the property and never leave. But, if you can tear yourself away, there are hundreds of wineries nearby to visit. The closest wineries are less than five miles away.
2700 Buena Vista Dr.
Paso Robles, CA 93446