Paso Robles Inn: Historic Hotel That Once Housed Jesse James

I like historical spots as much as the next person, but when I heard about this hotel in Paso Robles, I was immediately excited to see it for myself. This hotel has over a century of history and was even a hiding spot for Jesse James when his gang was on the run (because it was his uncle’s hotel back then). It has since been destroyed and rebuilt, but all of this makes it an enjoyable spot to explore or a great place to stay in Paso Robles. Here is all the information.

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  • Book here
  • Location: 1103 Spring St, Paso Robles, CA 93446
  • Information from my visit in 2016


The history found below is mainly from their website you can read here.

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Paso Robles became widely known in the 1800s as it was thought to have healing hot mineral springs in the area. From 1844-1864 there was the Hot Springs Hotel owned by the Blackburn Brothers and Drury James, who was the infamous Jesse James’ uncle. Legend has it that Jesse James hid out here and would escape in the underground tunnels that ran under the Inn. In 1886 the railroad arrived at Paso Robles, bringing a lot of travelers, and in 1889, the city of Paso Robles is incorporated.

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In 1913 Ignace Paderewski, a famous pianist from Poland discovered Paso Robles and the hotel for its healing waters. It was suggested by a friend when he couldn’t play the piano any longer due to pain in his hands. He stayed at the Inn often and bought land there. In the late 1920s, many celebrities stayed at the Inn while filming western movies – most notably John Wayne. Other stars traveled by rail to relax in style and enjoy the hot springs (Bob Hope, Judy Garland, John Barrymore).

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In 1940 Paso Robles Hot Springs hotel burned down almost entirely, but firefighters were able to save the ballroom. The ballroom is the only remaining building from the 1891 hotel complex. The new hotel reopened with a coffee shop, and it’s now modern look as Paso Robles Inn– they used bricks from the ruins in the new building. In 1999 the Martin family, the current owners, purchased the Inn. They wanted to make the Inn the landmark it once was, so they re-drilled for the mineral springs to have private tubs in 18 hotel room balconies and fully restored the ballroom.

What to See

If you go on a self-guided tour of the property, there are a few things you must see and a few things that you probably can’t see as they are not always open. Here are a few of my favorites:

The Old Horseshoe Bar

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Right in the front of the hotel is an old diner type bar that fits with the uniqueness of the hotel. It even has a full mural over the back wall, which harkens back to the area’s history through its art.

Cattlemen’s Lounge

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Above the lobby is the historic cowboy bar called Cattlemen’s Lounge. This spot was visited by many famous people over the years, including John Wayne, when he was filming in the area. Their cocktail list pays homage to some of their more famous visitors, and they have a full patio that overlooks the park across the street.

The Wine Rooms

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Unfortunately, I didn’t get to see any of these rooms during my time here, but I was told all about them, and essentially they are rooms designed by some of the area’s wineries. Each of the selected wineries has a room and can decorate it however they would like, adding a unique twist to a traditional hotel room. Most of these rooms have mineral spas on the patio as well, which is a fantastic touch.

The Pool

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Right across from the rooms are a big pool and mineral hot springs that you can take advantage of while there.

Wedding Tree

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In the vast middle courtyard, there is also a grass area with a beautiful tree that serves as the backdrop for weddings that take place on the property.

The Original Building

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The old building on the back-end of the property houses a lobby, renovated rooms, and the ballroom.

The Lobby

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The lobby has been meticulously recreated to match photos of the old hotel itself. It has a beautiful reception desk, lots of memorabilia from the history of the hotel, a charter of its owners, and a piano from the famous Paderewski, who you read about in the history section.

Paderewski Piano

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Mr. Paderewski, the famous pianist, stayed here many times over the years and was known to come down and play this piano in the lobby.

The Ballroom

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The ballroom is the only room that survived the fire, which destroyed the hotel in the 1940s, and it is a beautiful spot that can be rented out for events. I was fascinated by the ceiling as it had the original lights still in it.

The Rooms

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From the ballroom we went upstairs and got to check out a few of the rooms. One of the rooms we saw had a balcony with a spa tub outside, and I would have loved to have stayed in this beautiful room.

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On the other side of the hall was another room that was the same except it did not have a mineral tub, so its tub was inside the bathroom.

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Either way, the rooms here are beautiful.

The Weather Rock and Koi

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As you walk back to the main lobby from the original building, be sure to check out the weather rock, which is sure to give you a laugh and stop to see the massive koi fish they have in the ponds.

All in all, this is a beautiful hotel with a ton of history, and one that I enjoyed visiting on my time in Paso Robles. I highly recommend you consider it if you are looking for a fun place to stay in the area, let me know if you have been in the comments.

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