Suite with Balcony at Farmhouse Inn, Sonoma, California

Farmhouse Inn

Located in the Russian River Valley, 11 miles southwest of Healdsburg, this graceful rural property comprises a converted 1872 farmhouse (the “main house”) and various additional stand-alone buildings, including the "barn" built on the site of the farm’s original barn. The private barn rooms and suites are the most luxurious, with muted tones, amazing bathrooms and a farmhouse chic vibe. Topping many lists of best wine country inns, or indeed best inns anywhere, Farmhouse indulges guests with gourmet meals; airy, welcoming rooms; a lush, wooded setting; and a serene spa.

The inn’s agrarian roots are evident throughout, from the classic American furnishings to the local, seasonal cuisine at the Michelin-starred Farmhouse restaurant and the organic ingredients used for spa treatments. The luxury comes through in gourmet three-course breakfasts, marble bathrooms and a team of dedicated concierges to help you enjoy the best of the wine country. Farmhouse’s emphasis on homey comforts is clear in touches like their scrumptious daily cookies left at turn-down service, their indulgent breakfast pastries, unlimited s'mores supplies each night and a help-yourself "spa bar," which includes different homemade soaps, scrubs and bath salts. Guests are encouraged to choose what they like from the selection and bring their treats back to their room to enjoy in their  spacious bathrooms.

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Suite at Gaige House, Sonoma, California

Gaige House

About six miles north of Sonoma is Glen Ellen, a picturesque town that was once home to writers Jack London and M.F.K. Fisher. The Gaige House is a stylish boutique hotel with the charm of an inn, with such sweet amenities as freshly baked cookies every afternoon. There are 23 rooms: five in the main Victorian mansion and the remainder in cottages around the periphery of the house. The Zen suites are unique, each with a private Japanese garden, fireplace and granite bathtub for two. The spa is tucked into the house’s penthouse, but massages can be taken outdoors, weather permitting. The scrumptious breakfast should not be missed.

Bedroom at h2hotel, Sonoma, California


At h2, the sister property to the more grown-up Hotel Healdsburg, it’s all about being green. The LEED-certified hotel features solar panels, a living roof, bamboo floors, recycled materials and other eco-friendly features. In the guest rooms, organic cotton sheets and even cardboard hangers continue the green theme.

It’s surprising there aren’t more environmentally conscious hotels in the wine country, given the region’s emphasis on local and sustainable food. If anything, it shows that h2 is just a little younger and more in tune with current trends. The spunky vibe is evident in the hip rustic furnishings and the arresting artwork by local artists. Inside the rooms, the so-called “chic eco-groovy feel” borders on a little too Spartan, but the comfortable beds, plush organic cotton linens and robes and other refined touches confirm it's a luxury property.

The h2 has its own solar-heated pool, a lovely native plant garden and a Saturday yoga session, but spa treatments are given a half block away at the Hotel Healdsburg.

Exterior View - Hotel Healdsburg, Sonoma, California

Hotel Healdsburg

The 55-room Hotel Healdsburg is proof that the warmth of a country inn can be maintained without the grandmotherly décor of hooked rugs and lace curtains. When you first see the hotel from the historic town plaza, it is apparent from the façade and its minimalist wrought-iron balconies and bright yellow trimmed doors that the property has a modern aesthetic. Sure enough, this is probably the only hotel in wine country with a cube-shaped steel-surround mantelpiece, glass-and steel-walkways linking the buildings and minimalist teak furniture in the guest rooms.

There’s nothing austere about the atmosphere, though, as you’ll note when you see guests in the outdoor lounge and pool area comparing notes on wine tastings and sharing tips on what to order at dinner. With the scent of lavender and rosemary and the sight of fig and olive trees in the surrounding garden, it’s no wonder that eating is a constant topic. And foodies don’t even have to leave the premises to visit one of the best restaurants in the region, since the hotel is home to Charlie Palmer’s Dry Creek Kitchen. Each room is slightly different, but many guests like the ones with views of the plaza.

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Suite at Kenwood Inn & Spa, Sonoma, California

Kenwood Inn & Spa

The bad news first: Kenwood Inn is located right off of Sonoma Highway, and some car noise infiltrates the property, and even some of the rooms. That said, thanks to its unique design scheme and gracious staff, this resort is still one of the most romantic places to stay in Sonoma and has a loyal following of return guests. Kenwood’s original owners, who likened the surrounding countryside to Umbria, modeled their wine-country folly on an Italian one. It has a central courtyard, based on the one in front of Amalfi’s Duomo, a mill house with a rotating wooden wheel, and lofty second-story rooms that come with flower- and plant-framed balconies Juliet would have adored.

Of the twenty-nine rooms, the best are on the second and third floors and farthest from the street. Interiors exude a Renaissance lavishness, with antiques, gold-framed oil paintings, fabric-covered headboards, working stone fireplaces and large French doors that open onto private patios or terraces, which some guests use as private dining areas for the entirety of their stays. One thing rooms don’t have is television sets. The property makes the most of its meandering, lushly planted common grounds; there’s a lovely pool lined with day beds and bordered at one end by a cascading stream that splashes into it, helping to dampen much of the noise from the street. The restaurant’s tables are scattered throughout the sun-dappled courtyard, making daytime meals a special joy. The acclaimed intimate spa specializes in destination-specific treatments and vinotherapy.

Bedroom at Les Mars Hôtel, Sonoma, California

Les Mars Hôtel

The classical Les Mars Hôtel is a 16-room Relais & Châteaux property located just off Healdsburg’s main square, where breakfast and evening wine are served in an elegant, walnut-paneled library. Guest may well feel that they’ve been transported from California to France, for the guest rooms evoke la vieille France with big Louis XV armoires, draped four-poster beds and sumptuous marble bathrooms. All rooms have fireplaces, but if you’re looking for major romance, only the six Mansion rooms have them at the foot of the bed. The attic rooms, with their beamed ceilings, feel more like a friend’s country house than a hotel accommodation. Service is swift and discreet, and there’s a pretty outdoor pool.

outdoor seating area with fire pit and several chairs under umbrellas on sunny day

MacArthur Place Hotel & Spa

MacArthur Place is a former 19th-century farmstead turned boutique hotel spread across five tree-shaded and lush, manicured acres in Sonoma.
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SingleThread Farm

Healdsburg’s SingleThread Farm hotel is a boutique inn with a three-Michelin-starred gourmet restaurant that is inspired by Japanese ryokans.
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