Checking In | The Pacific Motel

Cruising down the coastal Highway 1 in California, the major stops tend to be Big Sur, Carmel, and Santa Barbara

Our advice is to take as much time as you can for this beautiful drive and to definitely factor in a stop at the laid-back beach town of Cayucos, checking in to the wonderful new The Pacific Motel. 

Cayucos is a town that doesn’t have much more than a beach, a handful of shops and restaurants, and a few rows of houses. It hasn’t changed much in 25 years (we first went there way back in 1999!) but that’s all part of the charm of course; the town offers a genuine slice of Southern California, without the crowds of nearby Morro Bay or Santa Barbara a couple of hours further down the coast. 

One new arrival to Cayucos is The Pacific Motel, an old 50s roadside motel that’s recently been refurbished by local couple Ryan and Marisa Fortini. They’ve done a beautiful job, giving it a chic retro makeover with pale blue and cream colours, modern Scandi-style rooms, and lush green plants and flowers (Ryan used to be a landscape gardener). 

In classic motel style, you can drive right up and park in front of your room, and there’s a couple of electric charging points too. Entry to the rooms is by key code, and you can even check in ahead of arrival and have the code texted to you. We did this as we arrived late one night after our car hit a rock in the road in the middle of nowhere with no phone signal, thus delaying us quite a few hours. But that’s a whole other story…

Around the central courtyard of the motel, there’s lots of fun touches like ping pong tables and outdoor fire pits. We loved sitting out by the fire pit of an evening (April in California can still be a bit chilly) with local beers, wines and snacks, all of which can be grabbed from the lobby shop. This being an old motel, there’s no restaurant but the fridges are well stocked with drinks and in the morning you can come and grab a cup of free coffee to get you started. 

There’s a few different room types, including a couple of standalone bungalows, but all carry the same fresh design, with whitewashed clapboard walls, natural wood floors, low hanging pendant lights, retro-styled Bluetooth speaker/radios, colourful cushions, and potted plants. En suite bathrooms are behind sliding doors, with smart white-tiled showers, grey and wood vanity units and bright globe bulb wall lights. It’s all very fresh and breezy, and perfectly matches the laid back surf vibes of Cayucos. 

Around town, we loved breakfast at The Hidden Kitchen, which is just down the street from The Pacific Motel. Here you can get stuck into their famous blue corn tacos and waffles, layered up with bacon, peanut butter, pulled pork and all manner of other OTT toppings. Just around the corner, The Bijou Bakery is worth a look too. We also had dinner over the road at Sea Shanty, which probably isn’t going to blow you away food-wise but it’s a great experience nonetheless, a proper old school family seafood restaurant. You could perhaps just check it out for a snack and a couple of beers. 

The beach is just over the road from the motel, so if you want to laze on the beach or have a surf it couldn’t be easier. There’s a couple of surf shops in town where you can buy or rent gear too.

We absolutely loved The Pacific, so if you’re planning your own California road trip, make sure you include a night or two here to relax and enjoy some real Southern California beach time. 

399 S Ocean Ave, Cayucos, CA 93430, United States