Allegretto Vineyard Resort ~ Paso Robles, CA

When someone mentions the California Wine County, I’m sure Napa Valley is the first place that comes to mind for most people. However as some wine lovers are aware, there has been a quiet evolution going on in California’s Central Coast for the past decade or so that is offering a viable alternative to Napa Valley…if you are not already aware of this area, let me acquaint you with the Paso Robles Wine Region.

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The Paso Robles Wine Region is located approximately equal distance between San Francisco and Los Angeles and is home to more than 200 wineries, most of which are family owned and operated, and has the perfect climate for producing award-winning premium wines. The Paso Robles AVA {American Viticultural Area, a designated wine grape-growing region in the United States} is acknowledged for its wide range of grape varietals including ZinfandelBordeauxCabernet, Sauvignon, and most recently the Rhône varieties, including the first Syrah planted in California. Paso Robles is also receiving recognition for its original Paso blends that are unique to the area.

Photo Courtesy of PasoRoblesDowntown.org

Photo Courtesy of PasoRoblesDowntown.org

This lovely wine region would be reason enough to visit the Paso Robles area {Paso, as it’s known to locals}, however, with the expansion of these first-class wineries has come the emergence of a flourishing community.

Beyond the wineries, downtown Paso offers a small-town atmosphere with its City Park surrounded by many one-of-a-kind boutique shops, antique stores, wine and olive tasting rooms and hometown experiences such as a weekly Farmer’s Market, along with wine festivals and other local activities.

And where there is wine, there is fine food. The fine dining restaurant scene in Paso is quickly expanding in an effort to complement the many wineries. As with the wide range of varietal grapes offered here, so too, is the diversity of food offerings from American classics to Thai, Italian, Japanese and anything in between. Paso is attracting notable chefs from major cities and abroad who are redefining the culinary experience in this small town; and with the proximity to local ranches and the Pacific Ocean there is a bounty of fresh food offerings for the many restaurants serving organic, farm-to-table style meals.

With the growth in sophistication and popularity of the Paso Robles region, so must the hospitality industry refine its presence in this town. In general, Paso has not been known for its luxury resorts…until now.

The Allegretto Vineyard Resort, built from the ground up, opened in the Fall of 2015 and has conceived a brand new standard of what a luxury resort looks like in the Paso Robles region.

The Property

dsc_2700The Allegretto Vineyard Resort {Allegretto} is owned by Ayres Hotels, a family-owned and operated company since the early 1900’s. Douglas Ayres is the visionary behind this elegant Mediterranean-style inspired resort. The resort is said to be modeled after an Italian Villa that Douglas encountered on his European travels and the stone was imported from Italy for the construction of the resort.

Allegretto is situated on 20 sprawling acres of land which includes 4 acres of vineyards, Olive and fruit trees, and Mediterranean-style gardens that showcase authentic statuary and sculptures nestled throughout the property ~ many of which are from Douglas’ personal collection. And although the property is located only 1 mile from Highway 101 and amongst local businesses, from the moment you turn into the driveway, you immediately feel as though you have been transported to the Tuscan countryside.

Check-in

As you approach the round-a-about at the front of the building you can’t help but be impressed by the large structure with its Mediterranean style, Olive trees lining the property, potted plants, striking blue shutters and large arches that seduce you in to see more.

I was greeted by a Valet who ushered me in through the arched passage into a covered entry where I was pleasantly surprised to discover gorgeous hand-painted frescos by local artists on the walls and ceiling immediately evoking an old world feeling…little did I know that this would only be the beginning of the wonderment I was about to experience.

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Upon entering the lobby, you are greeted by a grand staircase with scrolled wrought iron rails that split off in two directions mid-way creating a very dramatic entrance. The staircase draws your eyes toward the ceiling where there are more exquisite frescos in soft, soothing colors. A delicate glass chandelier gives the appearance of a floating waterfall above the staircase. To the left of the staircase is the lobby desk and to the right of the staircase is the entrance to the resort restaurant and a cozy sitting area with a large stone fireplace.

As I approached the lobby desk, something I found quite endearing was that in all this Italian magnificence were large black and white photos honoring the history of the town, land and surrounding area bringing both world’s together.

As you start to make your way around the resort, you cannot help but be captivated by all the incredible details so thoughtfully executed throughout every inch of the resort. From the eclectic antiquities precisely placed in each position to the exquisite artwork on the walls, carved wooden doors, and beautiful architectural details, your senses are on overload as you try to take it all in.

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The Piazza del Magico

Then you discover the Piazza. This 12,000 sq. ft. court yard is charming with several stately Olive trees, colorful potted plants, several gathering spots and firepits all surrounding the central water fountain featuring an ornamental rock imported from China while piped-in music softly filters through the Piazza creating the most ambient atmosphere. This is a perfect spot to take in the sunny weather during the day or to star gaze by a glowing fire in the evening.

Guest Rooms

The Allegretto offers 171 guest rooms including 14 suites. 52 of the rooms overlook the Piazza while the rear exterior facing rooms offer views of the vineyard and pool while the front facing rooms look out over the Bocci Ball courts and front landscape. Selected rooms on the second floor offer full balconies facing the Piazza or Romeo and Juliet style balconies facing the exterior grounds, while selected first floor rooms offer patios looking out to the Mediterranean gardens.

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The guest rooms are a slight departure from overly stated Mediterranean characteristics throughout the rest of the property. The rooms offer a more subdued luxury with touches of European-inspired elegance such as their 14′-height ceilings, rich fabrics personally hand-chosen by Douglas Ayers from 15 different European mills, custom designed headboards, high-count linens, robes, slippers, along with the Allegretto Dream Sleeper pillow-top mattresses and room amenities including a Keurig coffee maker and mini-bar. The spacious marbled bathrooms offer lush bath amenities and plush bamboo towels. The resort offers complimentary wi-fi and charging stations next to the beds. The resort also offers pet-friendly rooms so Fido can join you.

I stayed in a second floor Prelude King room with a balcony overlooking the backside of the hotel with a serene view of the vineyards, rolling hills and pool. I found the room to be spacious and comfortable and the bed was quite dreamy. I would like to point out that the hotel only has one elevator which is on the front side of the resort. I mention this because some of you may prefer to be closer to the elevator so you do not have to walk around the extended hallways to get to your room…although, I do feel that the rear rooms {where I was located} offer some of the best views.

Dining

The word Allegretto in musical terms means “perfect tempo” and that is exactly the feeling this resort exudes with its relaxed luxury ~ elegant and refined without being stuffy. Musical references are echoed throughout the property but no more so than at the resort’s restaurant, Cello.

Executive Chef Eric Olson oversees this Mediterranean-style restaurant where his creative dishes are inspired by the gardens, farms and vineyards of the Central California wine country. Chef Olson and his team create Italian dishes that use the finest and freshest locally farmed ingredients. My meals were delicious here and created with unexpected twists on Italian classic recipes.

The restaurant and bar are open to the public and they do draw in the locals for both dinner and lively libations. The warm decor of the restaurant with its stone walls, wood-beamed ceilings and welcoming ambiance create the perfect atmosphere for an evening of fun.

During my stay here, I was drawn into the bar each evening by the gregarious chatter and laughter that filtered out. It was apparent that many locals were at the bar and you could almost hear the chant of “Norm” {a reference from the TV show Cheerswhen one of them walked in. The crowd was warm and friendly and everyone at the bar was mingling with one another.

The bartenders are talented mixologists and I had one of the best and most unusual margaritas with black Himalayan salt around the rim that gave it an exotic look. The bar offers extraordinary wines, crafted beers and unique mixed drinks. Food is served at the bar as well. I do believe that this lively, fun and inviting atmosphere where everyone is considered extended family is what the Ayer’s family were hoping to invoke when they came up with the term, crafted with joy.

The restaurant serves breakfast, lunch and dinner and serves in-room dining until 8pm.

You may also choose to take your libations out the Piazza and sit by one of the many fire pits, play a friendly round of Bocce Ball or just enjoy a quiet conversation under the trees wrapped in twinkling lights.

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Spa/Pool

The quaint boutique Spa at Allegretto has six beautifully appointed treatment rooms offering a full-service menu including massages, facials, mani’s-pedi’s, along with specialty treatments and a gentleman’s menu of services. There is a private lounge patio for relaxing but there are no locker rooms or steam showers at this property. The spa offers products from France and at the time of this print {2016}, the resort is in the process of curating its own product line for the spa.

The Spa also offers a holistic wellness program which includes group or individual classes for Chära, Fitness and Barre & Balance as well as two labyrinths for spiritual well-being. All resort guests have complimentary access to the fitness center, pool and jacuzzi.

The pool and jacuzzi have the privileged backdrop of the rolling hills and vineyards and several private cabanas are available on a first come, first service basis. For a special treat, enjoy a massage in a poolside cabana. Casual poolside service is available during the summer months.

Event Space

Allegretto offers an assortment of meeting rooms available for a variety of events from small private functions to large corporate gatherings or weddings.

Dylan Board Room: This beautifully appointed intimate space offers a room that can accommodate up to 20 attendees designed in old-world elegance with access to audiovisual equipment, Internet and onsite event planning services.

Murano Private Dining Room: Host an unforgettable private event for up to 24 guests in this exquisite room designed with Murano glass light fixtures and walls that have been hand-painted in 20 carat gold. Sheer opulence.

Veneto Ballroom: This ballroom is the largest venue on site and can accommodate the needs from corporate gatherings to large wedding receptions for several hundred people and offers state of the art equipment if needed.

Willow Tasting Room: The resort has a charming tasting room for intimate gatherings or wine tastings.

The Abbey: There is a beautiful Abbey on property that is a replica of a church in France. It’s a gorgeous stone structure with stained glass windows that cast lovely shadows at certain times of the day. It’s available for private events and would be a lovely location to celebrate a special occasion. During my stay, the St. Petersburg Men’s Ensemble from Russia were practicing in the Abbey because of the amazing acoustics and I’m telling you, the sound that resonated throughout was heavenly. It was such a treat to have experienced this moment.

Piazza del Magico: The Piazza is also available for outdoor events.

Overall, there is over 38,000 sq. ft. of event space that can accommodate all needs and this property is a lovely location for outdoor weddings.

Activities

To try to list all the activities that this Central California area offers would be impossible. The possibilities are endless, truly. If you are visiting because you are a wine lover, then you will have no problem spending a day or more exploring the vast wineries in the area. Allegretto is happy to arrange custom wine tours for you for an optimal experience.

If a day of golf captures your fancy, head on over the Hunter Ranch Golf Course, a beautiful 18 hole championship course with a 4.5 star rating.

For some culture and entertainment, visit the Vina Robles Amphitheater or attend one of the many festivals throughout the year. Stroll historic downtown Paso Robles and enjoy the unique shops and trendy restaurants.

If you’re a little more adventurous, explore Paso by horseback or zipline. Or venture out a little farther and within a short distance you will find yourself at the coast where you can visit Hearst Castle, the charming town of Cambria, or head to the college town of San Luis Obispo or the unique Danish village of Solvang. Honestly, the options go on and on.

Summary

Paso Robles may not be the first location that comes to mind when you think of California but make note of this town because this is an emerging area that is making a name for itself and staking its claim on the California map. And if you’re looking for a luxurious spot to hang your hat while in town, Allegretto Vineyard Resort is a perfect choice.

Douglas Ayres has managed to create a Mediterranean getaway in the midst of the Central California Wine Region that transports you mind, body and soul to the foothills of Tuscany. There is no doubt that this was a personal investment for him and his family and that Allegretto is indeed crafted with joy and it shows in every detail of this property.

Let Allegretto inspire you with joyful discoveries and let the perfect tempo of this resort soothe your soul.
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Allegretto Vineyard Resort
2700 Buena Vista Drive
Paso Robles , CA 93446
Tel: (805) 369-2500
Fax: (805) 369-2501
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