Updated: Mar 16
I don't know about you guys but when someone tells me I can experience some spooky history while drinking wine in my own private hot tub on a balcony in a super luxe hotel in the middle of the quaint wine town of Paso Robles? I'm going to hit the road as soon as possible and that is JUST what I did when I was invited to stay at the historic and haunted Paso Robles Inn.
Location, Location, Location.
When staying in Paso Robles, it's important to be within walking distance of food and of course, more wine after you've spent your entire morning wine tasting and no hotel is more central than the Paso Robles Inn. In fact, this hotel has been a central landmark for the town even BEFORE the town was even a town.
HISTORY BREAKDOWN - In 1857, Daniel and James Blackburn decide to buy 25,000 acres of the Spanish land grant that was El Paso de Robles because there was an incredible natural mineral hot spring that was currently bubbling its goodness. Since mineral hot springs have been considered healing since the time of the ancient Roman's, people traveling the historic El Camino Real trail were already stopping here looking for rest and healing. The Blackburn brothers saw the financial potential and built the first hotel on the site, the El Paso de Robles Mineral Spring Hotel.
Business got even better when the Southern Pacific Railroad started stopping in Paso in 1886 which meant A LOT more people were heading west in search of the springs and by 1889, the Blackburns (along with Drury James, Jesse James's Uncle) realized the hotel needed an upgrade and upgrade they did. By 1891, the hotel was reopening as a grand, 3 story stone hotel that included spicy things like separate billiards for men and women, a saloon, a barbershop, bath house and a ballroom.
Things go great until December 19th, 1940. Heres a tip - never, ever, EVER, make claims that your structure is invincible. The hotel was dubbed "fire proof" in the same way that Titanic was called unsinkable and we all know how that turned out. So in the evening of the December 19th, with 200 guests in attendance, a fire broke out that would test the fire proof theory.
Spoiler alert - the hotel failed.
The hotel was reduced to rubble, utterly destroyed all but the ballroom. Amazingly, no one died EXCEPT for the night clerk, J.H. Emsley, who sounded the alarm, called 911 and then promptly died of a heart attack. It's absolutely fair to say his luck was rotten. Paso still needed a hotel though so they rebuilt YET AGAIN and voila! By 1942, the brand spanking new Paso Robles Inn was opened. This time with a central garden courtyard. For 60 years the hotel is great, no tragedies or disasters but then in 2003 an earthquake decided to remodel the hotel. No worries though, Martin Resorts would rebuild, repair and elevate the hotel.
Welcome everyone, to Paso Robles Inn 2.0.
History Meets Luxury
As with most historic properties, some things linger. For the Paso Robles Inn, it's ghosts.
I was thrilled to be invited to stay at the Inn, I was extra excited that they hosted me in deluxe spa suite 1007, the most mysterious room at the Inn. Remember night clerk Emsley who died the night of the fire in 1940? Well, some believe he's still around and making phantom calls from room 1007. The front desk was regularly getting phantom calls at night, all from room 1007, each time when no one was booked in it. A call was even made to 911 from that room when it was empty. Odd? I think so. When I checked into the hotel and asked about the log book of phantom calls, they told me they no longer had it because once the hotel switched to digital phones, the phantom calls stopped. Was it the ghost of Emsley or just a glitch in the system? We'll never know. Whatever the truth, room 1007 is still their most requested room and I can see why.
Each of the 18 spa deluxe rooms features a local winery. Room 1007 is the Robert Hall winery and the room is decorated with different ribbons, awards and art that pertains to the winery. Along with this awesome nod to the community, the rooms feature luxe beds, fireplaces and my absolute FAVORITE thing; private hot tubs on your balcony or patio.
Did I experience anything paranormal in the room? No. Was I happy and felt like I was soaking in a healing bath like they've been doing there for hundreds of years? Absolutely.
An interesting tidbit on this hotel is that in both the fire and the earthquake, the ballroom remained totally intact. I was lucky enough to be granted access to the ballroom to visit with their resident ghost, a little girl named Helen Sawyer. The legend is that she was the daughter of a GM around the year 1900 and still likes to run and play in the gorgeous Victorian ballroom. Sadly, I had no encounters with little Helen but if you visit, you may just get lucky.
An Experience You Won't Forget
It's been less than a week since my stay at the Paso Robles Inn and I am already looking to return. The hospitality of the staff is top notch, the rooms are comfortable, luxe and full of little nods to both their history and the town that has sprung up around it. Oh, did I mention the robes? OH MY GOD THE ROBES!!! It's the only time I've actually wanted to pack the hotel robe in my suitcase and take it home, it is ooooh so soft.
Can I promise you will have a ghostly encounter at the hotel? No, but I can promise you that your stay will be the R&R you never knew you needed and with it being in the center of town and walking distance to EVERYTHING, you will be left wanting for nothing.
Want to see for yourself? Follow my custom link to book your stay and thank me later. You're welcome in advance 😜 http://bit.ly/prixmacabremondays
Paso Robles Inn
1103 Spring St, Paso Robles, CA 93446