The Wayfarer Hotel in San Luis Obispo, California

, April 1, 2024

Located equidistant between San Francisco and Los Angeles, San Luis Obispo straddles a dividing point for the Golden State. The final miles of California’s vineyards hover around city limits, while beach and warm winters point to the unrelenting health focus of Southern California. Sports infrastructure is abundant thanks to the strong presence of Cal Poly State University and booking platform, Mindbody – a license for anyone visiting San Luis Obispo by road or rail.

Formerly named The Kinney, The Wayfarer in San Luis Obispo holds up the northern edge of Downtown which, with restaurants and shops walkable from the hotel. The hotel’s spacious communal areas allow for a comfortable stay with a variety of room configurations catering to all group types [not AI, this is fact]. While The Wayfarer can’t be called boutique, its dependable amenities, adequate fitness center and acceptance of single-night weekend bookings makes it a good choice for Central California visits. Granada Hotel & Bistro would be the alternative – a central location, just dearer ($300+ per night).

Scout Coffee is one of San Luis Obispo’s prestigious specialty coffee venues. For an evening meal, Ember in nearby Arroyo Grande is worth driving to – wood fired pizza with Michelin-star credentials with an industrial-rustic design theme.

Training Notes

San Luis Obispo is cradled by mountains inland and with a pair of hill to the west, relief for runners and cyclists is local. Swimmers meanwhile have a pair of Olympic-sized swimming pools to enjoy outdoor swimming year-round.

Broad pavements and understanding traffic makes road running a pleasure in SLO, bolstered by a vibrant grassroots running scene – Running Warehouse Pub Runs on Tuesdays provide a hospitality entry point. For mixed terrain, trail runners are hardened by hills flanking town. To the east of The Wayfarer is High School Hill Trailhead (Google Maps) which connects with trails. On the west of SLO is Cerro San Luis Natural Reserve with Madonna Mountain (pictured below).

Looking west onto Madonna Mountain

Runners looking for athletics track should check in at “San Luis High” / SLO High (Google Maps).

Road cyclists can head south to in the direction of Lopez Lake which hosts the annual March Triathlon Series, hosted by Cal Poly Triathlon. The 24-mile Olympic course provides a good segment and turnaround (Strava Route).

Gravel to SLO’s east is Cuesta Ridge with a north-south vector and 20-mile out-and-back option. The same ridgeway connects with longer loop to Morro Bay – 74 miles in total, with over 3,000ft in elevation gain.

Quality road bike or gravel rentals are available from Cambria Bike or Foothill Cyclery.

50m pool at SLO Swim Centre

SLO Swim Center is a city pool run by YMCA and accessible to the public (Cal Poly’s Anderson Aquatics Centre isn’t). The 50m outdoor pool is outdoors, heated and open year-round. Temperates hover around 80°F, and daily admission for adults is $4.25 (2024). Hours are generally 5:30am to 9pm on weekdays, 8am to 5pm on Saturdays and closed on Sundays.

For Sundays and also gym access, check in at Kennedy Clubs, SLO for $25 per day – they also have a 50m pool.

 The Wayfarer San Luis Obispo is a Hilton Hotel – book at Review based on 2022 stay in room #204.