Jamie Rosenthal, owner of Lost and Found in LA, first turned me on to Inn Paradiso in California's Central Valley (she's one of those people you listen to when she casually mentions something). So on a recent trip to LA, I took a detour via Paso Robles and headed straight to Inn Paradiso, family in tow. It did not disappoint.
The inn is a quirky combination of old-time-Big-Sur-meets-Gaudi-run-amok, but in a good way. Owners Steve Werndorf and Gisela Marin (the couple also owns Hotel Cielo Rojo in San Pancho, Mexico) bought the place a few years ago, after "trying not to buy it for a year and a half," as Steve told me. Lucky for us that he finally succumbed. Steve, who had his own graphic design firm in LA that specialized exclusively in designing movie posters, is an avid collector, and the inn is an effortless mix of vintage pieces, flea market finds, and original art and photography, resulting in an environment that is charmingly unexpected and uncontrived. Add a thick layer of laid-back bonhomie, and Inn Paradiso is one of those rare, eclectic places that reflect both the individuality and generosity of spirit of the owners. Well worth a detour. For more, visit Inn Paradiso.
Above: A board with rope knot pieces found at a local antique show sits above vintage metal seating from a store in Hollywood.
Above: Resident Italian greyhound Carlo Mollino at the entry to the great room of the Inn with a character reading machine on display for good measure.
Above: The great room with original stone fireplace and midcentury furnishings.
Above: A Murano lamp hangs on the wall above a tabletop telescope.
Above: A collection of black and white photographs in a reading corner with two chairs originally from a Japanese love hotel.
Above: An original 1959 Miles Davis concert poster.
Above: The wooden terrace outside the great room where breakfast, including housemade goat yogurt and granola, is served.
Above: The outdoor bar with metal luck letters on the wall was found at the local Remnants of the Pasts antique show in San Luis Obispo. Steve bought the old rope sack held together by twists of wire from designer John Dennis at the Rose Bowl.
Above: A Richard Avedon original poster from a Berkeley Art Museum exhibition in 1980.
Above: The bedroom in the Gaudi suite with a moody black bed spread. The adjoining shower is made from large rocks of Big Sur jade.
Above: A lamp assembled by Steve from a found sculptural wooden form and a vintage round-based lamp.
Above: Hammocks slung across the terrace overlooking the grounds.
Above: A pull out bar on the wall with help-yourself custom-made tequila from Mexico.
Above: A wrought iron balcony in one of the suites.
Above: The rooms feature Jon Robshaw bedding.
Above: Laundry drying in the gardens. The inn sits atop an oak knoll five minutes from downtown Paso Robles.
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If you are heading to LA, see our posts on other places to stay.