The High Bar at Hotel SLO | Photo: Ryan Gobuty

When my son was young, a lot of our summer travel revolved around theme parks and water polo tournaments. Now that we’re empty nesters, more and more often music is the driving force in our adventures. Last weekend we hit the road to see Tori Amos, one of my favorite artists since I first discovered her Little Earthquakes album in 1992. She’d been performing for more than a decade by then, but to me she was edgy and new with a passionate sound and more substantive lyrics than a lot of her fellow rockers.

Tori Amos at Vina Robles Amphitheater on July 22, 2023. | Photo: Leslie Dinaberg

She’s still got the passion, and watching her swivel between instruments — a giant Bösendorfer piano on one side and a bank of keyboards on the other — is exciting, especially while sitting under the stars at the Vina Robles Amphitheater in Paso Robles. It’s a wonderful space to see concerts, the wide-amphitheater, 3,300-seat set-up means that every seat truly is a good one. All of the seats are within 150 feet of the stage, but the “VIP Box” seats that we had as part of our Hotel SLO Summer Vibes package were particularly excellent. My husband and I had done this before, but the friends we brought along with us were particularly impressed by the sponsor box service, which included someone to bring us beer and wine (handily, we were on the Vina Robles Winery property), as well as food. 

The VIP treatment also includes super close parking, and gives you entry through the Vina Robles tasting room (no lines), as well as access to the private winery patio with comfy chairs and fire pits, another menu of food and wine pairing options, and my favorite perk of all, VIP restrooms. 

Vina Robles Amphitheater | Photo: Courtesy Nederlander Concerts

There are a lot of great shows still to come at Vina Robles this season, and the Summer Vibe package deal is a nice way to do it. Hotel S.L.O. has a comfortable, hipster chic vibe, but it’s S.L.O., so hipster means friendly and comfortable, not just cool. Our room had a king-sized bed; our own private balcony, which was great for morning coffee; and a great walk-in shower — all the good stuff.

Before we ventured to the theater, we had cocktails and appetizers at the rooftop High Bar, which had shade, comfy chairs, nice greenery, and a great view of the rolling hills and the city. I was too busy enjoying my “Perfect Margarita” (it was excellent) to play a round of bocce, but it’s a fun option, and not something you see on every roof! The grilled artichoke was delicious, as were the housemade chips and guacamole, which shouldn’t be a surprise, as all of the cuisine at Hotel S.L.O. is overseen by Santa Barbara–born, Napa–trained Chef Ryan Fancher, whose steakhouse on the property — Ox + Anchor — even has a Michelin mention. 

Hotel S.L.O.’s Summer Vibe Special runs through the beginning of November, with upcoming shows at Vina Robles Amphitheater including: Joe Bonamassa (Aug. 2), Los Lonely Boys (Aug. 11), Chris Isaak (Aug. 12), Michael Franti & Spearhead (Aug. 18), Fleet Foxes (Aug. 22), Chicago (Aug. 25), Yachtley Crew (Sep. 2), Common Kings & Steel Pulse (Sep. 13), Los Lobos (Sep. 21), Lupita D’Alessio (Sep. 22), The Avett Brothers (Sep. 23), Jason Bonham’s Led Zeppelin Evening (Sep. 24), Shakey Graves (Oct. 5), Rumors of Fleetwood Mac (Oct. 6), Alice and Chains (Oct. 7), Banda MS (Oct. 8), The Used (Oct. 11), Psychedelic Furs & Squeeze (Oct. 12), Oingo Boingo Former Members (Oct. 21), Alice Cooper (Oct. 23), and Devo (Nov. 3).  

In addition to all of those great concerts, the hotel is within an easy walk of attractions like Bubblegum Alley, the San Luis Obispo Museum of Art, and Mission San Luis Obispo de Tolosa, as well as loads of shops and restaurants. 

For more information and to book the Summer Vibe Special, call (805) 235-0700 ext. 3 or visit


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