Southern California is undoubtedly one of North America’s most beautiful driving regions. Lush rolling hills frame a weaving highway that takes you in and out of quaint small towns. One of these towns is Paso Robles, located between San Jose and Los Angeles Paso is the ultimate wine country. Allegretto Vineyard Resort is one of the many wineries in the area but in more than a few ways this property is absolutely unique and a destination within itself. Having spent a brief two days on the property I can with certainty say that Allegretto Vineyard Resort is where art, wine, and romance meet in Paso Robles.
“There is so much to do and see” I kept thinking to myself, constantly debating between sitting back and enjoying my time or trying to document every square inch of the property. So as you read through this review and virtually walk through the gardens in the many photos, plan for a longer stay with as few solid plans as possible. Allegretto is best experienced with a relaxed state of mind.
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The stay was hosted by Allegretto Vineyard Resort Paso Robles, which did not review or approve the story.
On Art & Architecture
A third-generation hotelier Douglas Ayres came to Paso Robles in 2002 and fell in love with the beauty and agriculture of the region. By 2015 this love interest materialized into a 171-room hotel built in the style of a Tuscan Villa. Douglas’ most personal project yet Allegretto is filled to the brim with culture, vision, and history. Many of the art and antique pieces were brought from Ayres’ travels. Many were commissioned specifically for the resort. And some, are quite literally built into the walls thus creating a sense of “walking through time”.
Here at the Allegretto, we’re recreating a small town with the village walls, the monastery (cloistered courtyard) and the chapel.~ Douglas Ayres
The entirety of the property is built following the philosophy of harmony. At the center of the property is a 12,000-square-foot courtyard called “Piazza Del Magico”. The Piazza footprint, hidden from the raw eye, forms a shape of a cello, which you will hear playing in the background throughout the day. The Piazza is a gathering place. On the far side are two parquets with fire pits, closer to the lobby is a wine-tasting patio and a cafe terrace, often used for private functions. A looping square pathway wraps around the interior, shaded by an impressive growth of trees and flower bushes. The centerpiece of Piazza Del Magico is a fountain: two intersecting circles with a sandstone rock statue in the middle representing the “movement of creation”.
The interior of the hotel is a showcase of Douglas’ finds and if you visit on the weekend you can take a docent-guided art tour. The surrounding area is lush with gardens all leading to the vineyard on a hill. Various outdoor games are scattered, sometimes almost hidden throughout the gardens. Chess here. Ping pong table there. In the evening the guests are invited to enjoy a cocktail by a fireplace in the lobby or cozy up with a blanket by one of the bowl fire pits.
It is no surprise that such a property would be of high interest for special occasions like weddings and graduation parties. To the far side of the building is an Abbey, built specifically for the celebration of love and life. This small, non-denominational building is modeled after the chapels of Europe. The Abbey is adorned with custom-made stained glass windows depicting a range of ancient symbols, world religions, and spiritualities.
Winery & Wine Tastings
Allegretto Wines began with a purchase of a seventeen-acre cabernet sauvignon vineyard in the Willow Creek District. Viognier, Vermentino, Malbec, Tannat, and Cabernet Sauvignon grapes were later planted in a separate, 20-acre property allowing the team to produce a wide range of experimental and classic wines. Tannat, a red wine grape originating in the South of France, is their hero grape and during the tasting, you can try a mix of its iterations over the years.
The wines are available at the resort in the Willow Creek Tasting Room. It is a cozy room with an outdoor terrace. Here, you can purchase a glass of wine or sit down for a guided tasting. During the tasting, you will learn about the climate, process, and various unique techniques and flavours used in the development of Allegretto Wines.
The tasting room is open to anyone interested in learning about the wines so even if you are not a guest you can come in and enjoy a glass or four and soak in the views of the Piazza. Through a tunnel on the other end, the visitors are invited to take a stroll through the vineyard. This vineyard is shaped like a circle, communicating a warm welcome for the guests. Naturally, this shape is not the most desirable for the wine production team but as a garden walk it is certainly very social.
The wine-tasting tour is $30 per person and $45 for non-resort guests.
Inside the Suite
The rooms have impressively high ceilings and no matter which way you face the view will always be nice. Each unit begins with a standard setup: one or two beds, a desk, a wardrobe with a coffee station and a mini fridge, a sitting area, and a spacious bathroom. Prelude King Room (pictured here) has access to the Piazza. The room doors swing open to welcome the music and fresh air into the room. Outside is your individual terrace with a garden table and two chairs, a perfect setup for a sunset happy hour. One-bedroom King will have a fireplace and some of the second-floor suites have a balcony overlooking the Piazza.
Allegretto Resort is pet-friendly and accessible.
Dining, Entertainment & Activities
Cello Restaurante and Bar
Situated on the ground floor to the right of the entrance Cello Restaurante and Bar offers upscale casual dining to guests and Paso Robles locals. The Mediterranean-inspired menu features generously portioned seafood and meat dishes expertly crafted by Chef Jeremy D. Fike.
Your dining options range from locally sourced scallops and fish to whole milk Burrata, crisp green salads, and hearty pasta or grilled meats. Shrimp and scallops can be added to any dish. Many of these plates are dippable by design – shrimp juices, various sauces, and delicious olive oils can all be soaked up with an in-house baked ciabatta. The liquid libations menu includes a range of Allegretto favourites, French, Italian and local wines as well as a selection of craft cocktails and beers.
Things to do
There is a lot. There is so much to do that at first I was overwhelmed and overstimulated. Exploring on your own can take hours. If taken slowly enough with wine breaks possibly days. Piazza alone has many nooks and sitting corners for reading, sipping wine, and having conversations with your resort neighbours. The interior halls weave in and out of shared spaces. The lobby with a custom fireplace has weekend serenades. Past the staircase is the Sequoia Room with another fireplace, games table, and a slice of a giant Sequoia tree. From this room, you can enter the Piazza or sit down for a video art tour in the connected conference room.
The outdoor spaces wrap all around the resort. In the far right corner is a swimming pool. Lined with a string of cabanas the pool has a lovely view of the vineyard and resort architecture peeking through the tall trees. Beyond it is the vineyard garden and to the side of the building are Manzillo and Mission gardens. The gardens are all connected by a “Star Garden Trail” – “a journey through heavens on the sacred lands of Paso Robles”. Each stop represents a Zodiac constellation, the environment around it naturally changing from one season to the other.
There are many experiences organized by the resort. From the above-mentioned wine tastings and tours to weekend yoga, art walks, and musical entertainment. You can even taste local olive oil during a guided tasting with San Miguel Olive Farms. The guests can also borrow bright yellow tandem bikes to cruise around the region.
Do not miss: George the alpaca and his friendly sheep friends at the far end of the resort. Make sure to check in with the front desk about the location and feeding schedule.
Wellness & Fitness
Resort of such grander will of course also have a spa. Spa Allegretto is open daily for massage, facial, and body treatments. On the weekends the resorts host Yoga in the Abbey, available to guests only ($15) and all guests have access to a fitness center. This gym is quite spacious with a decent range of equipment and French doors opening to the Piazza.
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Allegretto Vineyard Resort Paso Robles
Rooms starting at $249 USD / Queen or King
2700 Buena Vista Dr, Paso Robles, CA 93446, United
Book directly on allegrettovineyardresort.com or your favourite booking website: Booking.com* | Expedia* | TripAdvisor* | Hotels.com*