Being a native Californian, I feel I haven’t seen most of the state. Even with some of the places I have gone, I don’t have a clear memory of them. San Simeon is one of those places.

When I was about six or seven, my parents took me to Hearst Castle. We stayed in nearby Cambria and traveled another few minutes to this even smaller town known for the massive landmark that draws many visitors today.  I don’t remember much about it, except it had enormous swimming pools surrounded by white columns and marble statues…and looked like a Western version of a royal residence.

The entrance to the Cavalier Oceanfront Resort in San Simeon

You’ll hear more about Hearst Castle in a future post. I was here for a writers’ retreat, where we also visited a winery, dined at incredible restaurants and stayed at the small, picturesque Cavalier Oceanfront Resort, which overlooks the Pacific.

We were lucky to have our workshop here. While the rooms were older, they were clean and comfortable. And I particularly love it because I miss the ocean in the landlocked state I live in now.  Here are some highlights of the hotel where we stayed for three days:


I will forgive many hotel sins if there is an expansive, sweeping view of the ocean. That was certainly the case with the Cavalier. While there were some updates to my king bedroom, the décor was certainly older. Besides the older carpet, the 1980s upholstered accent chairs faced the outside balcony, with two more wooden patio chairs. But I loved that Pacific view, of which I will never tire. I also loved the fireplace, which gave the room warmth and a cozy atmosphere.

Another drawback was the television. When I am on the road, I don’t get to watch my streamed shows on YouTubeTV, which is my primary service, because I’m out of the service area. So, I then rely on the hotel television. In this case, nearly all the broadcast channels were filled with static snow. Even when I went to report it to the front desk, nothing was done about it. I later discovered that nearly everyone at our party had problems, too. Luckily, ESPN was one of the channels that received a decent reception. I watched that nearly the whole time.


For a place among a dozen motels and inns, the Cavalier offered great activities for its guests. A wide grassy area on the bluff above the ocean has one of two swimming pools, a sand volleyball court, three giant checkers/chess grid boards and three large chimineas for fires at night. My friends and I spent time in front of one of those fireplaces, wine in hand, catching up since the last time I saw them.

The inn also has a small fitness center, which I naturally appreciated. But the problem was its hours, from 9 AM to 9 PM. Our workshops started at 8 AM, and our day didn’t end until 8:30-9 in the evening. So I couldn’t use it during our stay. I never found out the reason for the limited availability, and I just went out and ran and walked, which probably worked out for the best.  If you need to wash your clothes, coin-operated laundry is available in an auxiliary building at the back of the complex.


Our food experience at Cavalier was limited to an initial meetup at the restaurant for drinks and appetizers and a dinner in our conference room. Because of its location in the Central Coast wine country of San Luis Obispo and Paso Robles, Cavalier offered plenty of top-notch local varietals, including ones from the local vineyard, Hearst Ranch Winery. 

The four-course meal we enjoyed included a salad with shaved asparagus, tomato and lemon vinaigrette, shrimp scampi crostini, grilled salmon and filet mignon with a baked potato and grilled asparagus, and crème brulee. It was a great way to start our workshop.

We enjoyed a small but hearty breakfast each morning, with egg-based items as the main dish. But I mostly appreciated the yogurt, granola and berry parfait.


San Simeon is a small community with private residences and several hotels, motels and inns. There are also a few restaurants and stores, but the community's purpose is to accommodate visitors who come to see its primary attraction, Hearst Castle. It’s also a centralized place to explore the Big Sur Coast and Central Coast areas.

The Cavalier is the only oceanfront resort in San Simeon, so I am lucky to have stayed here and enjoyed something I don’t see often.