Paso Robles Inn

More From California

A dedicated soul is still trying to warn the living of danger;
A little girl spirit enjoys startling the living!



The Paso Robles Inn is a beautifully upgraded and restored Inn, with lovely gardens and grass weaving around the buildings, along with a splendid hot mineral spring pool located in the common areas. Most rooms have their own spa tub either inside, on the balcony, or on the patio.




The original three story Paso Robles Inn was built in 1889 when the city of Paso Robles was incorporated. It was built on the spot where another hotel once stood – the Hot Springs Hotel, from 1844 to 1864. Its owners were the Blackburn brothers and Drury James: yep, the uncle of the infamous Jesse James, who would hide from the authorities there.

The grand, original Paso Robles Inn was a resort hotel because of its access to its own hot mineral springs, once enjoyed by Jesse James and his crew at the Hot Springs Hotel. Paso Robles Inn was designed by architect Jacob Lenze, for the well-to-do! Soaking in the hot mineral water was popular for those with ailments, so grand hotels popped up around these hot mineral springs in other states, including Illinois (Original Springs Hotel), Texas (Baker Hotel & Crazy Water Hotel), Arkansas (The Crescent Hotel & Spa), and Colorado (Indian Hot Springs Resort).

It was built with one million bricks and cost a boatload of money: $160,000. After being completed in 1891, The Paso Robles Inn offered its well-endowed guests “an improved hot springs plunge bath, a seven-acre garden, a nine-hole golf course, and boasted solid masonry set off by sandstone arches.” It also advertised itself as being completely fireproof.

In 1913, a well-known Polish pianist, by the name of Ignacy Paderewski, came to Paso Robles Inn to soak in the mineral water to try to cure his arthritis. He visited often and bought land nearby. The mineral water helped him, so he had his piano set up in the lobby where he played for the people in the hotel.

In the 1920s, the Hollywood set discovered Paso Robles. “Many celebrities stayed at the Inn while filming western movies – most notably John Wayne.”

Of course, other movie and stage stars also discovered this oasis as a place to relax and enjoy the inn’s hot mineral springs. Among them were such stars as Bob Hope, Judy Garland, and John Barrymore.

Forty-nine years later, in 1940, the Paso Robles Inn was destroyed by fire. OOOPS! Some say it was deliberately set by a jealous lover, an owner trying to get insurance money. Or, as the hotel was having a costume ball in the ballroom at the time, perhaps some drunk participants accidentally started this fire. Miraculously, there was only one fatality.

The lads of the Paso Robles fire department were able to save the ballroom, and it is the only space left from the original Paso Robles Inn complex.

Just two years later, in the middle of WW2, 1942, the Paso Robles Inn was modernized to accommodate “motor travelers”. Opening up as “A Garden Inn” Hotel with a coffee shop, it featured an Old Horseshoe bar, with a cool historical mural that mimicked enough of the old historic decor to draw people to stay. They used as many recoverable bricks from the original hotel to rebuild. The Paso Robles Inn went on to do a booming business for fifty years. Besides being a place for the wealthy to stay, it also became a place for the middle and upper-middle class travelers, but without the hot mineral springs amenity. The springs themselves had been blocked by the fire damage.

In 1999, it was back on the real estate market and bought by a local family-owned operation, Martin’s Resorts, with great plans indeed! “The multi-phase plan was to revitalize and upgrade the Paso Robles Inn and restore it to its turn-of-the-previous-century grandeur”.

The first priority was to unblock the hot mineral springs well, so that their guests could enjoy them once more. Besides having a mineral springs community pool for the guests in the common area outside, “Thirty rooms were upgraded and remodeled with private natural mineral spring tubs for guests to enjoy in the sanctuary of their own room.” Eighteen of the rooms have private tubs in their balconies as well. Some of the rooms were decorated by the local wineries, with mini-mineral spas in the rooms’ patios.

They fully restored the ballroom, creating another more historical space for events. It is located in the old building on the back-end of the Paso Robles property. There is also a restored lobby and renovated rooms on the second floor.

The lobby has been historically recreated using old photos as a guide. Ignace Paderewski’s piano is also on display. He used to come down from his room to play in the lobby.

The rooms are beautifully modern, with great design and flair, to attract upscale guests with special amenities.



The spirits of people who died trying to accomplish important goals or save lives sometimes can’t rest, unless they know the outcome of their efforts. Perhaps they are still trying to fulfill their old missions.

On December 12th 1940, a hotel desk clerk who was an older man was going up the stairway to the second floor when he saw a fire burning merrily away. He found himself in room 1007, where he called the lobby and reported the fire. He then warned guests to get out, saving many lives before he died (either from a heart attack, or from smoke inhalation).

Children who die while on vacation with their families often stay in the place where they last saw their parents, and try to find them there. The spirit of a young girl who may have drowned in the hot springs or died in an accident or from an illness has been seen.



Most of the manifestations happen in the oldest surviving building complex: 1200.

For many years, staff and guests have witnessed the manifestations listed below. I couldn’t find any paranormal investigations of The Paso Robles Inn made public online.

The Spirit of Paso Robles Inn night clerk, J.H. Emsley

Apparently, this dedicated soul is still trying to warn of the dangerous fire.

The lobby receives calls from Room 1007, and a tiny disembodied voice tells them of a fire on the 2nd floor. When they check the room, no one is there, and there is no fire.

The spirit of a young girl

Her apparition has been seen wandering the hallway above the ballroom, and likes to stay in room 1207.

She also likes to roll her marbles across the ballroom floor, and make the event workers nervous.

The spirit of a former maid or attendant, probably employed by a wealthy guest.

This dedicated spirit likes to rearrange guests’ clothes in the middle of the night, preparing them for the guests to wear the next day.

The spirit of a young lady, dressed in a blue nightgown

She likes to stay on one of the bridges in the inn’s garden.


Very possibly so. Though there is a lack of hard evidence, the volumes of experiences that have been reported point to the spirits listed above still being here.



1103 Spring Street
Paso Robles, CA 93446

Located 3 blocks from Route 101, standing proudly on a property from 1857.


  • “Haunted places around SLO”
    by Celina Oseguera for
  • “History Haunts the Paso Robles Inn”
  • “Paso Robles Inn: Historic Hotel That Once Housed Jesse James”
    California Through My Lens
  • “The Heroic Ghost Who Haunts The Paso Robles Inn Seeks Closure”

Our Haunted Paranormal Stories are Written by Julie Carr

Our Photos are copyrighted by Tom Carr

Haunts in California