Sycamore Mineral Springs Hotel

, San Luis Obispo, United States
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Sycamore Mineral Springs Hotel

, San Luis Obispo
1215 Avila Beach Dr - San Luis Obispo - California - 93405 - United States Hotel Website | 805 595 7302
211 Traveller

Reviews - Sycamore Mineral Springs Hotel

Historical Traveller Reviews of Sycamore Mineral Springs Hotel

VERY Relaxing and romantic getaway

from A TripAdvisor Member
My wife and I spent two nights at Sycamore Springs recently and had a very positive experience. We stayed in a West Meadows suite, which we would definitely recommend because it is a short walk away from the main part of the resort and much quieter. They will take you to and from the main resort via golf cart if you would like, but the walk was easy and nice so we only took advantage of that when checking in and out. Our suite was quite nice; a great bed and bathroom, a very comfortable sitting room and the private spa on the deck (not mineral water on this side of the street, but we didn't care). The only faults we found in the room were very squeaky floors, TVs that didn't work very well (but TV should not be a priority here!), and inadequate soundproofing between the adjacent room (it was OK, but when the couple next door got overly romantic, we knew it!).

We ate at the Gardens of Avila restaurant at the resort the first night and enjoyed it so much we had lunch and dinner there the next day. The service at dinner was very good, but the service at lunch was a bit lacking. Our meals were excellent; very creative and beautifully prepared and presented. We were lucky both evenings that the weather was gorgeous and we could dine in their outdoor area. They also have a large and comprehensive wine list.

We'll go back, that's for sure! It was worth every penny we spent.

Would Never Return! Horrible Customer Service.

from A TripAdvisor Member
I traveled all the way from New York City to San Luis Obispo to spend a fun and relaxing long weekend with friends. After an afternoon of wine tasting, we were very excited to soak in a large mineral bath that we had reserved. We arrived and were greeted by obnoxious college-age kids who seemed to be running the entire facility. They cancelled our reservation without informing us, left us with no transportation home, and threatened to call the police if the taxi did not arrive shortly (as they did not want us "lingering" around.) I have never been treated so poorly in my entire life!

I expressed my concerns and extreme disappointment to the Customer Service Department and they did NOTHING to rectify the situation. The representative told me that she would "call me tomorrow" and see if she could "send me something in the mail," but I never received a call back.

I would never waste my time visiting this pathetic place again! It was a horrendous experience and I am still livid!

A magical retreat in a beautiful setting

from A TripAdvisor Member
I have stayed at Sycamore twice in recent years, once in the West Meadows and once in Noble. Each time the accomodations were impeccable, clean and well appointed. Can't imagine where all these unhappy people are being housed... Both rooms had living rooms with a couch, coffee table, two arm chairs as well as a sitting table with two straight back chairs. Both rooms had a marble fireplace. The bedroom had a beautiful four poster bed with a step up to it and nice linens. The bath had an extra large shower with two shower heads.

I can't believe people are complaining about the smell of the's in the name...MINERAL SPRINGS!!

As for the restaurant, certainly it isn't cheap, but it has to be some of the best and most imaginative meals I've ever had. We had the chef's tasting menu which was, I believe, five courses and also had the wine pairing along with it. It was fabulous and by the fourth course we were stuffed and had to get dessert to take back to our room. Breakfast on the patio was relaxing and wonderful.

Don't believe those negative reviews!!

Gardens Restaurant ONLY

from A TripAdvisor Member
We took a couple days on our own, (kids generally grown up), to explore some of the newer wine areas in the south. We did not stay at the Syacmore, but rather the Cliffs that is owned by the same group and is a beach resort. The Cliffs restaurant featured awesome views, but the food, mostly seafood, was equivalent to just any average neighborhood fare. We found the Gardens of Avila restaurant looking for Wine Country Cuisine...that I would generally describe as quality cooking based on products that are far better that are normally available at most markets. There are a number of these types of establishments in the Napa/Sonoma area like Brix, French Laundry, etc. We asked at a lot of the Paso Robles/SLO wineries and got few good suggestions that had high gayot, fodor, or zagat scores. I had seen the Gardens on the way to play golf at Avila Beach and did a little investigation. We almost made the mistake of not going after reading some of the reviews about other diner experiences at the Gardens. The only pattern we noticed in the reviews was that the people staying in the winter months seemed to have a much worse time and we speculated that the amount of staff during this time could be less than during the warm summer months when the Syamore is packed. People complained about the Springs temperature and smell and I know from visiting these type of places that Winter is often not a good time for a hot springs. Also, if you don't like the smell of sulphur, it is best not to try a sulphur hot spring or sulphur mud bath as in Calistoga. When we arrived at the Gardens, there was no noticeable smell other than the wonderful flowers, scrubs and bushes surrounding the place. Entering the restaurant, we were greeted by several young attractive folks who seemed to know their jobs pretty well. The dining room itself sits behind a large bar, in a separate room, and is built adjacent to the forested mountain. I found the layout very pleasing as well as the high quality hard wood furniture. Our waiter was a charming young man, hailing from Missouri, whom we got to know fairly well. He was passionate about wines, and shared his recent experiences when he and his girlfriend spent a bit too much money for his budget on a bottle of "burgundy" as he was simply overwhelemd. Nearly all the produce is grown on property and is organic. The romaine lettuce in my salad was a dark leafy variety that clearly came from a garden, not the local Andronicos. I wanted to stay on the healthy spa menu, but decided I needed the Asiago in my Caesar Salad. My wife felt hungry, largely because of the reviews that mentioned tiny portions, and ordered polenta. Both the salad portion and the tangy polenta were well portioned even for the big eater that I am. Also, I am now amazed about the comments on price as the salads were about $8-9, less than normal wine country restaurants. I ordered the grilled jumbo prawns and I was expecting maybe 2...I would have been thrilled with 3...but actually got 6 (well over a half pound) on top of a medley of green beans, pea pods and other veggies...that was $26. When I buy that type of prawns at the store, they are about $20 per pound. My wife's pasta dish also was satisfying. Oh, did I mention NO CORKAGE an area where top restaurants are hard to find, Gardens is the closest to Wine Country cuisine that you are likely to find.

Avoid this one; not as good as it sounds

from A TripAdvisor Member
I made the mistake of staying at this "resort" for several days. It was not very nice at all. Your money can be very well spent staying somewhere else. The facility appears to be quite old and in the process of renovations. While the spa tub for each room is nice, the rest of the room is not very nice and many do not include air conditioning.

My first night there I was moved to a different room because the room I reserved was under construction. It was supposedly an "upgrade". The room temperature was sweltering, and the carpet in the bathroom was soaked. Turns out the room didn't have air conditioning. When I called the front desk their solution was to send someone over to open the windows for me. As if that was too difficult a task for me to manage. After 8 hours of all windows open and the two paddle fans on full blast (they had no other fans available) the room was still, at 11pm, at 80 degrees. I couldn't sleep most of the night because of the heat. They did agree to move me to another room with air conditioning (that so politely had been set to 60 degrees, so it was way too cold). I thought we were having an earthquake, until I realized that the walls were paper thin and the folks next door were trying out the bed. I'm sure they would be mortified if they knew just how thin the walls are.

There are many great spas in southern California...this is definitely not one of them. And there is a reason why, when you call, it is so easy to get a room. If this place was as great as it sounds on their web site, it would be booked months in advance. The constant room availability tells you all you need to know.

Prepare to be disappointed!!

from A TripAdvisor Member
Sycamore Mineral Springs is quickly ruining a property with a great setting and huge potential. It is clear that the management has chosen to take short cuts and hire staff with little experience or concern for guest comfort. The whole experience for us was a major disappointment, as we were so looking forward to the "rejuvanation" package ($499/night). It turned out to be so frustrating and exhausting, that we needed an extra day at home to finally recover from our stay.

The "luxury suite" that we were given on the resort side of the road was very dated and not clean at all! Dinner at the restaurant was again very inconsistant and no where near worth the prices. And the spa and tubs were again very crowded and the staff very unconcerned with working with our schedule. After we had already paid for treatments through our package deal.

We expressed all of our concerns to the front desk manager at check-out, who quickly gave us what sounded like a well practiced response ("we'll send you something out in the mail").

Very disappointing.

Surprised at all the negative reviews

from bigislanddaydreams
Three of us stayed here Feb 21 to Feb 23 2005. We had a second floor, two-bedroom suite with a fireplace -- didn't use the hot tub on our porch because it rained the whole time. But we were very happy. The staff was helpful with starting the fire with damp wood (and fire starters), the restaurant was great (young and a bit inexperienced servers, but very pleasant), very good food.

My friend from San Francisco appreciated the vegetarian options at Gardens of Avila. The only downer was the dour-faced woman at the desk entry to the restaurant, who looked askance at our somewhat dissheveled (sp?) post-rain, post-hiking appearance when we appeared for dinner. (We would have missed dinner altogether if we had taken the time to shower and change).

What else ... prices were reasonable (under $300/night for 2 very pleasant bedrooms, living-dining-kitchen area with sleeper sofa, 2 baths, private porch with hot tub). All were clean, functioned fine, no bugs. We visited the nearby Baileyana Winery (excellent), and returned home to watch "Sideways" on pay-per-view TV, order room service from Gardens of Avila and play Yahtzee in front of the fire. A real treat.

I also highly recommend a great little casual near-by diner called Fat Cats Cafe, right on the water. We had planned to go kayakking from there ... but it was still raining.

My teenage daughter and I also had massages, preceded by a half-hour soak in a hot tub on the hill behind the hotel. There was a soft rain during our soak, which only enhanced the experience. My massage was so-so. The masseur was confused about appointments, he had a fat belly that kept butting into me and he huffed and puffed a bit. However, my daughter had a female masseuse and enjoyed her massage with no problems. (Thank God.) My friend enjoyed the yoga class, which was included at no extra cost (and there were only one or two other clients).

All in all, we look back on our time at Sycamore Springs with great pleasure. Maybe it was because it rained so much in California that month, but (unlike other people who have posted reviews) we found our time there peaceful, calm and relaxing. No noise issues whatsoever.

One thing ... as the person who volunteered to take the sleeper couch instead of one of the two bedrooms ... oh me achin' back!!! Please replace with good mattress or stock suite with ibuprofen!

Disappointment from a non-picky customer

from Curly13
My husband and I stayed at Sycamore Mineral Springs hotel over Memorial weekend. I want to say upfront that we are not overlly picky travelers and have an open mind when we go on trips and like to make the best out of everything. But even though we are not complainers, we were VERY disappointed by our hotel stay and even complained to the front desk (not that it helped or anything).

A few years ago, I rented one of Sycamore's outdoor hot tubs with a group of friends and thought it was so wonderful. I could not wait to go back and actually stay there. Big mistake. We got there and the grounds were as beautiful as ever - very lush, foresty and serene. I loved that they offered free yoga classes and hiking. We got a standard hotel room, which was over $200 - we would have loved to have stayed in a suite, but was expensive due to the holiday weekend. The mineral springs smell like sulfur (like rotten eggs), which does not bother us - what bothered us is the room smelled that way INSIDE the room. We had to buy air fresheners to even stay there. The room was tiny with furniture so old and dated - not comfortable at all. The shower hardly had any water pressure and was rusted over - you could hardly turn the shower knob. You expect that there would be spiders and bugs outside, but we killed three big spiders, 3 moskitos, as well as other creepy-crawley things inside.

The private room hot tub was very nice and was the best part of the stay, but was not very clean - I don't know how often they clean them. We made the best of it and drank plenty of wine after wine tasting and relaxed in the tub. Once back inside, there was no air conditioning (or one that was working), so there was a cealing fan, but it clanked very loud and we couldn't sleep with it on. If you opened the window, you heard loud cars - even though we were away from the street, so that didn't work either. Only 5 channels on the TV worked.

Even worse was the noise. We were on the second/top floor, but you could hear EVERYONE around you. The last straw was waking up at 7 am on a sunday to people below hanging out in their hot tub and talking very loudly - the room below even had kids who were using the hot tub like a swimming pool! Quiet hours were from midnight to 7 am, but to hear people yelling at 7 was terrible. I don't need to sleep in to all hours of the day, but my husband and I work so hard normally, we just wished we could sleep in past 8 am for once!

My recommendation is to stay somewhere else and rent one of those gorgeous hot tubs like I did from my friends and explore the grounds, meditation gardens and do some hiking if you are in to that. You don't have to stay at Sycamore to have enjoyed the beauty of the environment.

It is all about the water after all

from Sancarlo
It is the third time I stayed at this hotel and I must confess that it wasn't my first choice, but my last stay was better than it used to be. The Sycamore Hot Springs was sold to new owners in late 2004 and I can already tell there is a difference. The rooms are still outdated and noisy, but the restaurant has improved a lot. In the past the food used to be terrible.
There is still plenty of improvements that this hotel could attend to, but overall it has improved. The prices for the rooms and the spa have increased, and hopefully they'll use the money for a major remodel - especially for the individual rooms.
The true reason to stay here is to bathe in the hot minreal springs. The hotel, despite its many faults, is still a romantic place... it feels more like camping. There are newer and better hotels in close proximity, with new grand ones coming soon... but none can offer access to your personal tub filled with hot mineral water. That is why the hotel never felt the urge to update or remodel... there wasn't any competition. And this is a shame, because it could truly be a jem!
The grounds are pretty and they have added a labyrinth to meditate, (yes... they are now catering to the yoga crowd with a wellness institute).
There are a couple of suggestions to consider before reserving a room:

1) NOT ALL ROOM OFFER TRUE MINERAL WATERS - All of them offer private tubs, but some are filled with regular water. So make sure you ask for the true stuff.

2) ONLY A FEW ROOMS HAVE BEEN REMODELED - Ask for the remodeled rooms which are a bit better than the old ones. They are still modest, but not as bad. I don't like the pillows.

3) BETTER TO BE ON TOP - It is a romantic place and people will get frisky. Because the construction is lightweight and you can hear people walking above your head, I suggest the rooms located on the second floor, with tubs facing the hill.

Bring your sense of humor and pretend you are on a camping trip. It is still a semi-rustic experience, therefore you must be in the mood for it. One day this place will become fancy and expensive, so enjoy it for what it is.

Opinion from a local

from SLOJen
I actually live here in gorgeous San Luis Obispo (10 minutes from this hotel)and have stayed at Sycamore 3 times during the last 4 years, or so. Be warned--it does take awhile to get past that "rotten egg" smell! You really do get used to it though, especially after a glass or two of champagne:) I agree with some of the other reviewers in that the rooms are quite outdated. The bedspreads, couch, "art" and the basic feel of the room does not match the $300/night that you pay to stay here. However, I feel that the back patio and the private hot tub can almost make up for that. I don't know if this is true of all the rooms, but the ones I've stayed in have a hot tub that backs up right against a hill with trees and native plants. The moon looks beautiful shining down at night and if you're lucky to get a sunny morning/afternoon I would recommend laying out on the chaislounge (sp?) on the patio and enjoying the privacy. You don't even need a bathing suit! I first came here when I was 22 with a man that I had just started seeing, so it felt very thrilling to be at such a serene and expensive place. But for those who are used to luxury, you may be a bit unimpressed.

Top Local Tips for San Luis Obispo

Bob Jones Trail If you like bird/reptile watching, this is THE place! Quiet, serene, beautiful...

Restaurants We like the Big Sky Diner -- great food, nice people.

Avila Beach nearby. Take a drive to nearby Avila Beach and have lunch. The Custom House has seafood and is not expensive. The entire beach area has just been rebuilt with new restaurants, hotels, shopping, etc. A short distance up the beach is an old fishing wharf (still active) with free parking and a restaurant. You can buy freshly caught fish there at the fish market.


Other names for Sycamore Mineral Springs Hotel

  • sycamore springs
  • sycamore mineral springs resort
  • sycamore mineral springs hotel
  • mineral resort springs sycamore
  • Address: 1215 Avila Beach Dr - San Luis Obispo - California - 93405 - United States
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