The Stables retains much of its original motel DNA, a string of small rooms with parking spaces directly in front of each door. The design picks up on the equine theme of Cheval. (Long before Paso Robles established itself as the epicenter of California’s Central Coast wine region, this was horse country.) The white facade conjures the romance of western ranch-hand barracks and stables, with antique horse tie-ups planted in the pavement along the edge of the sidewalk.
The rooms are small but comfortable. Faux cowhide rugs add softness to hardwood floors. White lamps sit atop barn-red side tables while iron-frame beds are draped with luxurious gray quilts and fluffy seersucker duvets. The mattresses are too soft and bouncy for my taste, but it feels sort of appropriate for a nostalgic motif like this. The pillows are great, though. (There is one large room, The Bunkhouse, a family suite that includes a large bed for adults and bunkbeds for the kids, but I didn’t see inside.)
The bathrooms are tiny, occupying their original footprint, which served to provide but a quick resting place for weary travelers passing through at night. The new tile work and fixtures are nice, though. I absolutely loathe shower curtains in hotels, but at least for now the shower curtains here still feel brand new— and they are unquestionably cute.
The owners curated an incredible collection of black and white photographs for the property, mostly of cowboys and ranches but also a few gallery prints picked up on their overseas travels.
There is no pool or restaurant. (The town square and dining hub is a 15-minute walk away.) And there’s not much of a lobby, just a front desk. The vibe is decidedly low-key. Most people spend their days wine-tasting at the growing roster of vineyards in the area. However there is a charming sun porch adjacent to front desk that serves as a coffee nook (with complimentary self-serve coffee, espresso, juice and simple snacks throughout the day). And there’s a grouping of Adirondack chairs under the large shade tree at the center of the parking lot, which is a perfect spot to relax and sip wine while social distancing. (Nice glasses are provided, but you’ll need to bring your own bottles.)
Bottom line: Paso Robles has no shortage of old roadside motels, but this is undoubtedly the freshest and most modern of them all, and probably the most comfortable. Also, the price is a bargain, particularly midweek. For now, at least. It’s hard to imagine that prices won’t skyrocket once the pandemic is over.
Rates from $155; 730 Spring St., Paso Robles, California, 805-296-3636, stablesinnpaso.com