Allegretto Vineyard Resort: Where Art and Wine Collide

Allegretto by night

This is a guest post by Susan Guillory of The Unexplorer.

Despite the fact that Allegretto Vineyard Resort is just minutes away from the interstate in Paso Robles, California, the second you arrive on the property, you’re transported to somewhere much more remote. A Tuscan hill of Italy, perhaps. Wander around the 20-acre property, absorbing the breathtaking gardens and art throughout, and you feel like you’ve been here in another life.

That’s exactly the aim of the resort.

The name Allegretto refers to an Italian musical term that describes a joyful tempo in a composition. The resort staff uses this theme of joy to ensure that guests feel at home there.

Artfully Curated Decor

Italian statue

I have to admit: I rarely pay much attention to art in hotels. Too often it consists of cheap reprints identical in each room. But from the second I arrived with my girlfriends for a weekend getaway on California’s Central Coast, I noted the unusual pieces throughout the resort.

Having just toured Hearst Castle, my brain was chock-a-block with the mix of Renaissance, religious icons, and marble statues that Hearst crowded into his enormous mansion. As I learned about Allegretto and Doug Ayres, its owner and visionary, I began to see correlations between Ayres and Hearst (though ultimately I was more a fan of Ayres’ tastes).

Both curated art and artifacts from around the world and found a way to place them all in harmony in their space. Ayres studied sacred geometry and successfully carved out areas that evoked different feelings. The Asian art in the corridor near our room resonated with me, with Ganesh and Buddha looking on approvingly as we gawked back.

Buddha statue

I could write an entire article just about the art, but here are a few highlights:

  • French-inspired abbey
  • 12,000 square foot Piazza Magica (with fire pits and lit-up fountain at night)
  • Labyrinth
  • One-of-a-kind sculptures and paintings from around the world
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Wine and the Psychology of John

Willow Creek Tasting Room

In addition to graciously providing me and my friends a complimentary room in exchange for this review, Allegretto also provided us with a wine tasting at Willow Creek Tasting Room, hosted by John Stallcup, Director of Wine Hospitality. As we sampled every wine on the tasting list, from the refreshing Viognier to the gentle Malbec, John shared a bit of his extensive knowledge about wine and tasting. I learned that 25% of people are hypersensitive to bitter, mostly women (including me). As gatherers, it was up to us to determine whether those berries we picked would kill us and our families, so our bitter instincts had to be spot-on.

John was proud of his role in getting the tasting room up and running a year ago (the resort is about two years old), and in designing the room we were in. I’d immediately complimented him on the fact that there were purse hooks under the bar when we walked in!

Can I Live Here?

Alegretto suite

Our very helpful valet, Sam, led us to our ground floor suite, which was just steps away from the pool. The living space and kitchenette were enormous. The bedroom inviting. But the bathroom immediately won us over. Not only was there a shower, but also a deep tub (sorry, I didn’t take a photo that could do it justice). Allegretto spared no expense in designing these rooms, and I was impressed to see how spacious they were.

“Can I live here?” my friend Sandra sighed as she sunk onto the bed.

Allegretto suite living space

Room rates, which may fluctuate, range from $289 to $549. A splurge, to be sure, but one that is well worth it.

Dinner with a View

sunset at Allegretto

After a quick afternoon dip in the ample saline pool and a lounge in a cabana, we dressed for dinner and headed to Cello, the on-site restaurant. We were seated facing the lowering sun and told we’d be in for a spectacular sunset. Indeed we were.

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The service and food were stellar. We tried a funghi pizza, risotto, and frutte di mare, as well as a bottle of bubbly Le Vigne from Paso Robles. Unable to resist dessert, we moaned over the buttermilk cheesecake and lemon cake.

Cello Restaurant

After dinner, we wandered around the property, which was a fairyland of lights.

We stayed only one night, though it would take a week to really enjoy every aspect of this magical getaway.

Need to Know: There are pet-friendly rooms, with a fee of $100. Breakfast is not included, but Cello does it right. I recommend the unique chilaquiles. There is a spa on site, as well as complimentary bikes for guest use.

Bonus Tips: If you’re so inclined to get up early, watch it from the second and third floors to see an excellent sunrise over the vineyard. Also you can request a terraza (patio) room.


If You Go:

Allegretto Vineyard Resort

2700 Buena Vista Drive

Paso Robles, California, 93446

(805) 369-2500

Allegretto Vineyard Resort review and all photography by travel writer Susan Guillory. I received a comped stay, wine tastings, and meals at this hotel, though all opinions are my own.