One of the benefits of having kids in college is the fact that it gives you a valid excuse to travel several times a year This is an especially fabulous benefit if they choose to attend college in a beautiful place, like Santa Barbara. In just a couple of weeks we will be heading back down the coast from Northern California to help Boy #4 get settled into his off-campus apartment to begin his second year at UC Santa Barbara.
We’ve made this trip down the coast several times now and each time my husband and I have taken a little extra time to ourselves to explore the Central Coast. On each trip we’ve made new discoveries, including the totally charming town of Avila Beach. There was so much to do in the area that we returned last June for a second visit.
Both times we stayed at the gorgeous Avila Village Inn. The location of the hotel with the hills as a backdrop, gives it a feel of total seclusion but it is within easy walking, biking, and driving distance to all kinds of wonderful activities. So many, in fact, that I’m dividing this post into two parts to cover it all.
The craftsmen style and beautiful wood construction of the lobby entrance sets the tone for the interior of this gorgeous hillside hotel.
The ambiance carries to the interior with a great big stone fireplace in the stately but super cozy lobby. The spiral staircase leads upstairs to the guest rooms. Both times we’ve visited they’ve had a roaring fire going regardless of the beautiful weather outside. It should be mentioned that the weather on the Central Coast is mild for most of the year making the fall months a fantastic time to visit. We’ve stayed in both June and November and had beautiful, warm weather and blue sunny skies both times.
The view down to the lobby from the guest room floor.
The big guest rooms have lots of rich, beautiful wood, a King size bed, in-room gas fireplaces, impressive bathrooms, and free wifi. The rooms are dimly lit which didn’t allow for a bright beautiful photo but the room was gorgeous! For those of you who don’t want to leave Fido at home, call the hotel directly to book a pet-friendly room.
Some of the rooms (including ours) have their own private outdoor hot tubs on the balcony. Nice touch.
Included in the price of your room is complimentary access to to the Avila Bay Athletic Club and Spa, an upscale, full-service swim and tennis club. My water polo playing husband was thrilled to have access to the pools for a workout. They have a full gym with all the usual workout equipment available to guests of the hotel.
You’re probably thinking these rooms cost an arm and a leg but I was pleasantly surprised. Both times we stayed we paid less than $200 per night for the room shown here. For the coming months, the rate calendar shows rates running from $169 to $249 for the Standard Deluxe and Outdoor Hot Tub Rooms. There are also Creekside Suites available at a higher rate. A simple but ample continental breakfast is included each morning. Considering the amenities, these rates are quite a bit lower than in neighboring toursity cities like San Luis Obispo, Pismo Beach, and Santa Barbara.
The Bob Jones Bike Trail lies directly behind the hotel.
The easy walking trail runs along the San Luis Obispo Creek and takes you all the way to downtown Avila Beach and the ocean. If you’d prefer to bike instead of hike, there are bike rentals available at the hotel and at both the beginning and end of the trail.
It was a nice morning walk for us and the reward was the incredibly charming Front Street in the downtown area of Avila Beach. Like most beach towns, Avila is a very family friendly and dog friendly town. All of the establishments we visited reflected that feeling.
And, the biggest draw of all, the ocean. There’s The Big Man holding my camera bag. Thanks honey.
We headed back to Front Street that evening for dinner at The Custom House. The restaurant has lots of great outdoor seating with a stunning view of the ocean. In addition to dinner, the restaurant opens at 8am every day of the week and has a great breakfast and lunch menu. Does it get better than breakfast at the beach? I think not.
If it’s warm, be sure to get a table outside. You really can’t beat this view.
We started with the Crab Cakes. Two panko encrusted deep sea red crab cakes with black beans and fire roasted corn salsa, drizzled with spicy chipotle aioli. Seriously… to die for.
We ended with the fresh Olallieberry Pie that is baked fresh daily at The Custom House. Gorgeous, no?
I’m married to a pie snob. If he detects refrigerated pie crust or frozen filling he’s instantly disappointed.
This pie did not disappoint. Delicious.
Read more about our Central Coast adventures here – Avila Beach and San Luis Obispo – Part 2.
Avila Village Inn is located at 6655 Bay Laurel Drive in Avila Beach, California
The Custom House is located at 404 Front Street in Avila Beach, California
I was not compensated in any way by any of the businesses mentioned in this post. The opinions expressed here are completely my own.