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Sycamore Mineral Springs Resort and Spa
Ranked #9 of 32 Hotels in San Luis Obispo
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 29 November 2013

Staying at the Sycamore Mineral Springs Resort (the "Sycamores") was my second-worst lodging experience ever. (My worst, in Newark, NJ, included being awakened by the sound of plate glass being smashed, followed by gunfire and an unannounced entering of my room by the police.)
Lodging units at the Sycamores are designated by name, not Unit number. There are two problems with that: (1) you can't find your assigned unit on their sprawling complex by its proximity to other units, and (2) electronic reservation systems remember Unit numbers perfectly but evidently not Unit names, as described below.
We arrived after 6 P.M. The desk clerk assigned us to Room X. We tried driving close to Room X. Because it was dark and it is difficult to read maps in the dark, we arrived at Room Y. To the considerable annoyance of the occupants of Room Y, we made two attempts to enter Room Y before concluding that it wasn't Room X.
We then drove back along the route we had come but ended up parking much further away from Room X than before because of inadequate parking space. After we parked, I walked to the building containing Room X and climbed the stairs (there was no elevator). I tried to enter Room X. It was occupied. I tried again. The occupant demanded to know my name and what I was doing. I explained. I was informed by the occupant that the room was occupied.
Being unable to reach the registration clerk by phone, I walked to the registration desk. The only clerk there was busy on the phone. I nonetheless informed him that we had been assigned a room that was occupied and tossed my room key onto his desk. He ignored me and continued on the phone for a few minutes. It turned out that the occupant of Room X was on the other end of the phone, was quite angry and was demanding more than an apology from the resort.
The clerk (who had assigned us to the occupied Room X) was initially baffled. He queried his computer system, then stated that we had been correctly assigned to Room X. Eventually he stated that we should have been assigned to a different room and assigned us to Room Z, which was near Room X. He did not indicate whether or not it had the same amenities as Room X.
I then went to Room Z to determine whether it was vacant and whether the electronic key given me for Room Z worked (the key he had given me for Room X hadn't worked). Satisfied on those points, I then walked back towards our car.
But since I had not returned to the car within the time interval expected, my roommate had concluded that I expected her to lug all of her baggage to our room by herself. We met as I was walking back towards our car. Both of us were now very upset. Those feelings did not quickly dissipate.
The walls between units were paper-thin. I was awakened in the middle of the night by people in an adjacent unit. Later I heard snoring from that unit. You'll need earplugs if you stay here.
Comfortable chairs for reading, relaxing, watching TV or conversation? There weren't any. Chairs in an average Motel 6 are slightly better. I have a bad back and was in considerable pain when we checked out.
Here is more information you might want to know before booking a stay at the Sycamores.
Drinking glasses or cups near the sink? There weren't any. Even Motel 6 provides drinking cups for water. If you have ever experienced a dry throat during the night, bring your own bottled water or paper cups.
Some units are not on the ground floor. There was no elevator serving our room on the second floor. The corridor serving units above the ground floor was an outside, narrow ledge which made lots of noise when walked on. Anyone arriving after we did or departing before us disturbed our stay, just as our arrival and departure must have disturbed other guests. Motel 6 has outside ledges but they're quieter.
Only one flight of stairs served the entire building, was outdoors and was at the end of the building furthest from the roadway nearest the building, i.e., the worst possible choice for a single stairway. If your assigned unit is upstairs and at the end of the building nearest the only roadway nearby, you must traverse the length of the building twice to reach your room in addition to climbing the stairs.
Don't arrive after dark. Building identifications are hard to read. Signs directing you to your destination (e.g., hotel registration) badly need repainting. For first-time visitors, it is a complete guess which building houses the registration desk.
In many cases including ours, it was not possible to park anywhere near our unit. So you'll probably need to bring an umbrella in case it rains.
There were no manually-operated luggage transporters, devices available without charge at virtually all commercial lodging facilities of any quality. That, in conjunction with the unavailability of proximate parking and our upstairs accommodations, left us with these choices: (1) valet service; (2) a bag-free stay; (3) an unpleasant experience handling our own baggage. To make a rational choice among these, one needs to determine where one's assigned room is and the availability of temporary parking near that room, if any, and then estimate how arduous the trip(s) between parked car and room would be. My roommate and I agreed on neither the choice nor the process to use in making a choice.
The hotel lobby doesn't exist. If you wake up in the middle of the night and can't go back to sleep (because of noise in an adjacent room or otherwise), there is no place to go to read or watch TV; you must either disturb your roommate(s) or suffer in silence.
The resort dining room was a joke, unable to handle at any one time more than a small percentage of the total guests there during our stay. That feature would have been acceptable if there were other places to eat nearby, but there weren't.
Hand soap had an ultrathin cellophane wrap which I found impossible to remove with wet hands. Nor was the wrap discernible, even after trying to use the soap. (You don't need to know this if you don't mind having unclean hands.)
Sheets, towels and robes were very clean, indicating a professional linen service and putting Motel 6 to shame. (Budget motels are usually operated by proprietors who do their own laundry.) And the toilet paper was comfortable, unlike that of Motel 6.
If you're going to arrive late, don't bother calling to tell them that because they won't make a note of it. My surmise is that if they reserved a specific room for you, it might not be available if you arrive late for a weekend or holiday stay.

  • Stayed: November 2013, travelled as a couple
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9  Thank Charles C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
SycamoreGuestService, Guest Relations Manager at Sycamore Mineral Springs Resort and Spa, responded to this reviewResponded 5 December 2013

Dear Charles,

Thank you for choosing Sycamore Mineral Springs Resort and Spa for your vacation and getaway. We were honored to host you. Thank you for the time it took to write your review.

We apologize for the room confusion you had to deal with. We try our best upon check-in to give a detailed map with the best route to your room drawn up. Sometimes these may still be a little confusing, so please, ask any questions you may have upon finding your room. Also, we love to offer help with your baggage through our golf cart service to your room and throughout the resort. We have this available for every guest, every stay, no matter the time.

All of the issues you stated have been addressed with the correct departments in hopes that neither you, nor any other guest will experience these things again. Thank you again for your time and concern. We appreciate it. Sycamore hopes to host you again sometime in the future.

Sincerely,
Sycamore Mineral Springs Resort and Spa

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Reviews (2,514)
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2,160 - 2,166 of 2,514 reviews

Reviewed 24 November 2013

I stayed here with my wife a few years ago and the place is beautiful! Its hidden with lots of trees and covered with flowers everywhere. You can reserve a private bungalo to stay in or a room with a mineral spring. They are pretty secluded and worth the price. I remember reserving a suite with a nice size living room with a fireplace, a nice huge bedroom with a comfortable clean bed, and a private balcony with a mineral spring tub. You can also sign up for a complementry wine tasting at a winery where a shuttle picks you up from your hotel and take you to a gourgeous winery. The restaraunt at the resort is a very romantic place where they will accomodate your needs if you are celebrating that special engagment or anniversary. Overall its clean, the staff is helpful, there are things to do like go on a walk to the maze of stones. I can't say anything bad about this place except its not located in Nevada : (. But please take your spouse here and you'll come back again and again.

Room Tip: Depends on how selcuded you want to be. If you want absolute privacy get a bungalo. They are all pre...
  • Stayed: April 2013, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank Jason S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 17 November 2013

This is my second trip to Sycamore Springs, our second trip for an anniversary outing. The first time we stayed in a large cottage, which ended up being right on the very busy, noisy road that runs through the resort. This time we stayed in one of the king suites; through email, we requested to be as far from the road as possible. I never heard back but apparently they weren’t able to grant that request since we didn’t end up in a room far away from the road. If you have a place to ask for requests, then it would be a good policy to respond OR grant the request, or maybe both?

We arrived in Avila Beach/SLO early and were able to get into the room about an hour early; that was nice!

Several days prior to our arrival I made a phone call to the resort to request a late check out. The reservation agent was very accommodating and was able to promise a noon check out, which was okay since it was just enough to be able to take a quick morning walk, have a last hot tub soak, eat a leisurely breakfast in the hotel restaurant and get on our way back to Santa Barbara. He was pleasant and said to call the front desk on our checkout day to see if we could get an even later checkout; he said it depended on how busy the resort was going to be on that Sunday night. When we arrived they said they had NO record of that call, would NOT accommodate a noon check out but if we wanted, we could call in the morning and request it again. In the morning, guess what—no noon check out. That is bad, horrible customer service! Bad enough that it changed the tone of my review and how I will relate my experience to others. They should have never made the promise in the first place and, given we were there for under 24 hours but spent almost $1000 (on a room, dinner and spa treatments), you think they would have granted that small insignificant request - a request that they had ALREADY previously promised would be accommodated by the way. Oh well, obviously a management issue. As an aside, on the advice of someone in reservations, we reserved everything separately when in fact had we done the spa package special advertised, we would have saved a few dollars. That was no big deal, just worth paying attention to if you are doing room, dinner, breakfast, and spa while you are there.

Dinner and Spa: We ate dinner at the restaurant and got 1.5-hour spa treatments as well (not including 30 minute pre-soak in a hot tub). I will do a more in depth review of the restaurant, The Gardens of Avila, under a restaurant review. For here suffice it to say it was pleasant, satisfactory and very convenient. We would eat there again if we were staying in the resort. After dinner we had a Swedish massage and a hot stone message. Both were good, not great. My wife mentioned that the massage therapist asked if she had any special requests of where to focus, but then disregarded those requests. Again, bad customer service to create expectations when you cannot or do not intent to follow through. This seems to be a theme for the Sycamore Springs experience. My wife said the hot stone massage was still relaxing and enjoyable. All in all we had a nice time. We would use the spa services there again if we were staying in the resort.

Last day: Because the resort had reneged on its promised late check out, we left early and ate breakfast down the road at Fat Cat instead of at the resort. It was nice-really nice! But for the broken promise of the resort, we wouldn’t have found this little gem of a breakfast place---a silver lining! Highly recommend it if you are visiting the area.

I know my review sounds negative, but believe it or not, we would actually stay there again. We enjoyed our time in spite of the extremely poor customer service, mainly because we focused on what went well while we were there, and a lot went well for our trip and experience overall. Having the hot springs is what this place is all about. It is akin to eating in a restaurant that has mediocre service and food but a great view; you know why you are going and hope for the best in regard to the rest of the experience. If there were no hot springs, it is unlikely we would ever return. If we go again, we will remember that we have to adjust our expectations for customer service and focus on why we are there---relaxation and the hot springs!

Room Tip: Try to get away from the highway running through the Resort.
  • Stayed: November 2013, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank santabarbaraserenity
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 17 November 2013

A fantastic place up in the hills. $13.50 on week nights/hr/person for a relaxing, private tub up in the trees. Clothing optional after it's dark. Ahem.

Some complained about the lighting but I found no problems with it. The last thing you want are bright lights ruining the peacefulness.

Everyone we encountered were very nice and helpful. The girl even gave us about 15 extra minutes to get up to our tub.

TIPS:
- Make sure to enter through the gift shop at the West side of the parking lot.
- Bring a towel
- Call for a reservation (even on the weekdays)

  • Stayed: November 2013, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Service
Thank Erin M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
SycamoreGuestService, Guest Relations Manager at Sycamore Mineral Springs Resort and Spa, responded to this reviewResponded 25 November 2013

Dear Guest,

Thank you for choosing Sycamore Mineral Springs Resort and Spa for your accommodation and relaxation needs. We value your comments and the time it took to review us.

We love our tubs and what they can provide for people and we are always grateful and glad when people enjoy them, also. We are happy that everyone you had an encounter with was helpful and enhanced your experience. Thank you again for visiting Sycamore and we look forward to hosting you again soon in the future!

Sincerely,
Sycamore Mineral Springs Resort

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Reviewed 5 November 2013

I got a great deal on group on for a weekday stay, it was definitely worth it. Even though the room was a little dated, it was a very nice room. The jacuzzi in the patio was a very romantic touch. I even enjoyed the lopsided pool. :) This was a great romantic getaway and I would definitely come back, four starts not five for the dated rooms and the fact that we weren't allowed to check in a bit earlier than 3:30p.m., thanks!

  • Stayed: April 2013, travelled as a couple
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Thank SBChick805
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 4 November 2013

I love to travel a lot and do it as often as I can. I truly enjoy road where I can reach my destination within five hours. Sycamore MIneral Springs is a well hidden, secluded and delightful spa resort destination. I cannot think of another lodging facility that I have come back to as often as I have come here.

We always get a suite with a private deck with a private hot tub fed with sulphur springs water. There is a nature trail right from the property where you can walk all the way to downtown Avila Beach. I addition to a passion for BBQ and smoking foods, I also love to go fishing. This area of Central CA is great surf, pier and charter boat fishing.

Back on message, you get value for your dollar at this lovely lodging facility . I have been back at least 6 times and I will return again.

Room Tip: It never hurts t ask for an upgrade.
  • Stayed: November 2013, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
1  Thank TheBlum
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
SycamoreGuestService, Guest Relations Manager at Sycamore Mineral Springs Resort and Spa, responded to this reviewResponded 13 November 2013

Dear Guest,

Thank you for your recent visit to Sycamore Mineral Springs Resort and Spa. We appreciate and value the time you took to write your review as we love to get feedback from our guests.

It sounds like you definitely take advantage of all Sycamore has to offer, along with our beautiful surrounding beaches and mountains. The Bob Jones Trail is a very special link we have with Avila Beach and we are so grateful it goes right through our resort making it so convenient for all of our guests. The Sycamore Crest Trail is another beautiful, more challenging hike which will bring you to the top of the ridge overlooking Avila Beach. This is right on our property.

Thank you for your continued support and love for Sycamore Mineral Springs. We look forward to your future visit and to see you again!

Thanks Again,
Sycamore Mineral Springs

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Reviewed 28 October 2013

My partner & I drove 2 hours just to visit this wonderful place. Walking into the sycamore hot springs everything is stunning the scenery is beautiful but but walking I was welcomed in avery awkward and unwelcoming fashion. I simply asked for the requirements to rent a hot tub the clerks answered me but right after as I was waiting in the lobby they laughed out loud said my question was stupid. It was very rude I was shaking because they didn't even care their "valued customer" was still in lobby. I will definitely be back but maybe I shouldn't ask questions since the clerks like to make their customers feel disrespected.

  • Stayed: October 2013
    • Location
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1  Thank alfonsog1992
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
SycamoreGuestService, Guest Relations Manager at Sycamore Mineral Springs Resort and Spa, responded to this reviewResponded 13 November 2013

Dear Guest,

Thank you for choosing Sycamore Mineral Springs Resort for your accommodation needs. We value your comments and appreciate the time you took to fill out our guest survey. Your feedback helps us greatly as we continue to improve our guest experience.

I apologize for the guest service you encountered at our resort and the inconvenience it caused you. Our intention is to offer excellent guest service and strive to exceed the expectations and experience of every guest at Sycamore Mineral Springs Resort. We have addressed your specific issue and hope you will give us another opportunity to exceed your expectations in the future.

It was an honor to host your stay during your visit to the beautiful Central Coast, we hope to see you again in the future.

Thank You,
Sycamore Mineral Springs

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Sycamore Mineral Springs Resort and Spa

Address: 1215 Avila Beach Dr, San Luis Obispo, CA 93405-8048
Region: United States > California > San Luis Obispo County > San Luis Obispo
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Centre with Internet Access Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Kitchenette Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#7 Romantic Hotel in San Luis Obispo
#11 Family Hotel in San Luis Obispo
Price Range: £153 - £330 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:3 star — Sycamore Mineral Springs Resort and Spa 3*
Number of rooms: 71
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Sycamore Mineral Springs Resort rests atop hot mineral springs and spans more than 100 acres of forest, hills and meadows on the picturesque Central Coast of California. An authentic California resort, the property features hillside mineral springs hot tubs, a beautiful spa, the Gardens of Avila Restaurant, a labyrinth, private balcony hot tubs, meditation gardens, and wide selection of mind-body classes in our Yoga Dome. Sycamore Mineral Springs Resort -located halfway between San Francisco and Los Angeles is just a short walk to the ocean and close to award-winning wineries, golf courses, Hearst Castle, Pismo Beach, and San Luis Obispo. Escape to our historic resort voted best Spa and Weekend Getaway on the Central Coast. Experience rustic elegance in a serene and relaxing environment surrounded with the best California has to offer. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Sycamore Mineral Springs Hotel San Luis Obispo
Sycamore Springs
Sycamore Mineral Springs Resort
Mineral Resort Springs Sycamore

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