Would I enjoy San Luis Obispo as much if we weren't staying at Petit Soleil ? Probably. Still, after driving several hours along Highway 1 and then Highway 101, it was truly special to unpack our bags in... Provence!
When I booked our room over the Internet a few weeks ago, I thought I would surprise and entertain Le Husband and Junior. I was not planning to travel back to France in the heart of San Luis Obispo. Petit Soleil is one of the hotels sitting on the side of busy Monterey Street, the main access road into SLO. There is a lot of traffic on that road, but as soon as you park your car and step into the cobblestone courtyard, you are in for a pleasant surprise!
"Tournesol" is located on the second floor of the main building, and has two queen-size beds. Owners John and Dianne Conner have traveled extensively in Europe and they have worked very hard at recreating a feeling of European comfort in the heart of SLO. Dianne knows all the local wine tasting rooms and she was more than happy to recommend a few wine makers in the Paso Robles area, 30 minutes away from here.
|The enamel sign on our bedroom door|
The attention to detail in "Tournesol", and I suspect in all the other rooms, is in-cro-ya-ble. The walls are painted a bright green and yellow, and the sunflower motif is everywhere, on the bedspread, on the heavy drapes, on the paintings adorning the walls, in the bathroom. I can't imagine how much effort went into decorating each room! Talking about the bathroom, it comes with a generous supply of French bath products by L'Occitane.
At night, turn down is a special treat: The pillow sitting on each bed said: "Bonjour" when we arrived. When we return to the room after dinner, it has been flipped over to read "Bonne Nuit" (good night). A little (French?) elf also left three enormous chocolate truffles on the bed.
We go to bed listening to French music (several CDs sit on the bedside table). Next to the CD player, I found a well-used guest book where American and foreign visitors have left enthusiastic comments since 2003. A French guest wrote: "We expected corny and even worse, tacky - the Provençal style can be so overdone - but we felt right at home chez Petit Soleil. Merci." My sentiment exactement.
Life in Provence is spent outdoors and Petit Soleil offers a relaxing patio in the back of the building. Every evening, from 5:00pm to 6:30pm, guests are treated to some amuse-bouches (appetizers) and wine tasting. The friendly staff is happy to recommend local restaurants for dinner. Junior had a great time taking pictures of the patio for me. It turns out he is a much better photographer than I am. Looking at some of his photos, I notice once again the pride of ownership and attention to detail prevalent chez Petit Soleil.
|Apéritif is served daily on the charming patio|
|Breakfast includes a buffet, and a choice of two daily entrées made with local products|
|Blue window boxes overflow with bright geraniums|
Bonne journée! (Have a great day!)