Rooftop pool, color-therapy and distillery: SLO’s new luxury hotel spares little expense

One of San Luis Obispo’s incoming luxury hotels will feature no shortage of luxury amenities, including a rooftop pool and bar with 360-degree views, full-service spa, edible gardens, gourmet restaurant and even its own distillery.

Workers are nearing the final stretch of work on the four-story, 65-room Hotel Cerro in downtown SLO, and it’s expected to open in October, Beverley Matthews, a hotel co-managing partner, said.

The high-end lodging facility — located along a stretch of Marsh, Garden and Nipomo streets — previously was expected to open in August. But delays such as winter rains and the complexities of a 95,000-square-foot project surrounded by businesses and vehicle and pedestrian traffic in the bustle of downtown have pushed back the plans, Matthews said.

“It’s a very complicated to plan our work around a very busy downtown, as you can imagine,” she said.

Plenty of work remains on flooring, walls, furnishing and landscaping, among other features, in the space that includes the old SLO Brew restaurant and bar. SLO Brew founder Hamish Marshall also has an ownership stake, with other partners in the Hotel Cerro property.

A tour of the facility provided to The Tribune shows the makings of a high-end hotel that will cater to clientele who might include: wine country guests, parents of Cal Poly students, wedding and business groups, Bay Area and Los Angeles travelers, as well as out-of-state visitors, among others.

A rendering of the incoming Hotel Cerro in SLO. This image depicts a suite. Courtesy image

“Most of our rooms will be around the $350 per night price range,” Matthews said.

Some of Hotel Cerro’s highlights include:

A full-service spa open to hotel and non-hotel guests alike will have numerous massage areas, foot baths, steam rooms and even a chromotherapy (color therapy) shower with misty, glowing sprays of red, blue, yellow and green lights.

A distillery that will produce its own liqueurs.

A fourth-story rooftop bar with 360-degree views of SLO, which will be open to the public on certain nights of the week or for special events (the space will be open only to guests otherwise); the rooftop pool will be open only to guests.

A second-story, rooftop edible garden will feature tomatoes, green beans and beets with spaces to sit or look out at the hills.

A 2,400-square-foot restaurant, called Brasserie, featuring locally grown foods and modern Mediterranean flavors, including a wood-fired oven and wood-fired Argentinian grill.

Event space facing Garden Street on the second floor, looking down upon a ground floor courtyard with a signature fig tree.

A rendering of the incoming Hotel Cerro in SLO. This image depicts the completed look of the spa’s quiet room. Courtesy image

Beverley and Shaun Matthews are the co-managing partners of the new hotel. Their resume includes operating high-end hotels such as a resort on Necker Island, Sir Richard Branson’s private island resort in the British Virgin Islands, according to a hotel press release. Their experience also includes managing Twin Farms, a five-star hotel in Vermont.

“We’re striving to create a relaxing environment, with places to sit and read and pick vegetables from our edible garden, with great views of the mountains and close walking range to downtown SLO,” Matthews said.

Matthews said the design of the hotel places a strong emphasis on soundproofing because the development is in the heart of downtown, where guests could hear cars, sirens and other noises that might bother them.

“We’ve spent a lot of time and effort in figuring out the best ways to engineer our rooms,” Matthews said.

Another large downtown project, Hotel San Luis Obispo, is expected to open in August, its publicist said Friday. That project will consist of 78 guest rooms, two restaurants, a spa, meeting space and more.

The two incoming hotels, along with the new La Quinta Inn & Suites on Monterey Street, will provide economic benefit to SLO with a “new insurgence of guests in the downtown walking, eating, dining, and playing in the community,” said Molly Cano, SLO’s tourism manager.

A rendering of the incoming Hotel Cerro in SLO. This image shows the new hotel’s 2,400-square-foot restaurant. Courtesy image

Cano said the new luxury hotels could bring some potential guests to Pismo Beach or Shell Beach lodgings to SLO because of the higher end nature of the new facilities.

“I think SLO will hit a new stride where people have stayed in Pismo now may choose SLO now with a higher level of accommodation,” Cano said.

Cano said the city is projected to collect $7.8 million in transient occupant tax revenue this fiscal year.

“As we look toward 2019-20, the city expects revenue to increase by approximately 2 percent,” Cano added. “This will be in part to the new lodging properties within the city, but also the increased demand and offerings the region provides to visitors.”

Hotel Cerro will be hiring for positions in coming months and will soon begin training its massage therapy staff, which includes masseuses with experience through the U.S., Matthews said.

Hotel Cerro has 47 ground-floor parking spaces, which guests will be charged for, while others will receive vouchers to park in the Marsh Street garage space, Matthews said.

Related stories from San Luis Obispo Tribune