San Luis Obispo/The Butler Hotel

Open for two years, six-room boutique property The Butler Hotel was built by local architect George Garcia who’d been a fan of this building – a former automotive garage – for some time before purchasing it to create a modern, small hotel in San Luis Obispo.

San Luis Obispo/The Butler Hotel

The building, consisting of concrete floors and rusting steel panels, remained vacant for years. The biggest surprise? The contrast between a retro garage (with a historic 1950’s façade and sign) and the modern fixtures, artwork and lighting you’ll find upon entering.

San Luis Obispo/The Butler Hotel

The steel, ivy-covered hotel is completely self-check-in. Prior to arrival, you receive an email with the access code for both door and room entry (don’t worry, they’re the same number so it’s easier to remember).

San Luis Obispo/The Butler Hotel


Each room features artwork of a different modern artist (I’m in the Franz Kline room). Rather than large rooms with desks and sofas, the elongated lobby forms the hub for reading, working (by the doorway is a slender wooden desk) and enjoying a cup of French press coffee, Portland’s Steven Smith Tea or a glass of wine from the communal fridge.

Bathrooms contain both dimmer and mirrored lighting for winding down at the end of the day.

San Luis Obispo/The Butler Hotel

A small cupboard with clothes rack is off by the side of the bed, as is a small side table with a black lid that lifts to expose USB and standard plugs.

I like the compact, useful arrangement of the furnishings; Garcia and team have worked through all the details for a truly elegant, yet minimal approach to their property, including duvets and pillows, Guild + Pepper bath amenities, marble and walnut counters, floor-to-ceiling porcelain tile, eco-friendly lighting and plumbing plus a quiet airco system.

Even the Butler’s Do Not Disturb sign is hand-carved from walnut and maple woods.

On a first-come, first-served basis are a pair of seven-speed cruiser bikes for guest use.

San Luis Obispo/The Butler Hotel


As this is a self-service hotel, the kitchen area of the lobby is stocked with glasses, coffee cups, French press makers, a water kettle, snacks and a fridge with fruit.

San Luis Obispo/The Butler Hotel

If you’re in the mood for music, the lobby lounge also houses a vinyl listening station with seating that’s an ode to modern design.

San Luis Obispo/The Butler Hotel

There’s free onsite parking outside the door, adjacent to a small patio with wooden tables and chairs for chilling with a glass of regional wine.

San Luis Obispo/The Butler Hotel

Note that while the hotel is working on advancing the soundproofing, the building is located at the intersection of two busy roads. Bring earplugs if you’d like to experience the Butler (my room, #5, is the smallest, yet the quietest of the six).

The pet-friendly Butler Hotel is located at 1511 Monterey Street in San Luis Obispo, halfway between Los Angeles and San Francisco.

My stay was hosted by the City of San Luis Obispo. Opinions, as always, are my own.

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