Located midway between San Francisco and Los Angeles, the historic Carlton Hotel in downtown Atascadero is a perfect home base for exploring the lush wine regions of Edna Valley and Paso Robles and the picturesque coastal communities of Pismo Beach, Cambria, Morro Bay, and Cayucos in Central California.

Relax in one of 52 charming, pet-friendly guest rooms featuring custom ironwork and local art, pick up a picnic lunch at the Back Porch Bakery, and cap off a day of wine tastings, surf lessons, or sightseeing with a delicious dinner in downtown Atascadero.

Ironwork by Robert Bentley  /  Woodwork by John Bourgault



Designed as a two-story block-long building, the Atascadero Development Syndicate made an agreement with Atascadero Inn owner and manager, Fred Bartholomew, to open a 52-room hotel on its second floor.


"The Annex" quickly became a top-of-the-line companion to the Atascadero Inn. Retailers such as J.C. Penney, Sprouse-Reitz and Safeway opened their doors on the main floor in October, and the formal opening was that November.


Nola Tunks and her brother George Clark bought the “Hotel Halfway and Coffee Shop” from Kenneth Fillmore, and renamed it “The Carlton,” a distinctive name well known in the east and associated always with hotels of high standing.


Tunks added a neon sign to the rooftop (it's still there today) and soon radio and TV personalities, including Jack Benny, Bette Davis, Fred MacMurray, Dick Powell, and Ralph Bellamy, began frequenting The Carlton.


In August of 1936, the hotel was sold to Lewis Sutton and F. Porter Brown. The two businessmen cut an entrance into the corner of the building and created a champagne glass made of tiles, to welcome visitors at the door.


Phillip Zarabozo became the next owner and made the most significant change to the Carlton. In 1952, he added the clock tower, which still remains today as a local city landmark.


Over the years, several more families owned The Carlton. In its final years, the grand, luxurious California hotel became a senior housing complex. It sat vacant, and in limbo, for many years.


The Carlton’s current owners purchased the hotel with plans to renovate and restore it to its former beauty. After years of careful renovation and thoughtful sourcing, the hotel reopened in January 2005.

Current: Countless families, couples, and locals call The Carlton Hotel their California home away from home. We look forward to seeing familiar faces in the future and to meeting new friends who come to stay.