California’s Gold Country is off the beaten path, and that’s just part of this mountainous wine region’s appeal. The Sierra Foothills are full of charming, unpretentious accommodations like bed-and-breakfasts and historic inns that date to the miners’ rush. For a touch of luxury, head south to Château du Sureau, a Relais & Châteaux property in Oakhurst.
Please note that prices and other details can often change. We recommend that you call ahead before you go.
Barkley Historic Homestead
8320 Stoney Creek Road
Fair Play, CA 95684
Telephone: (530) 620-6783; (888) 708-4466
Rates: $125 to $160
Services: Breakfast Included, Restaurant/Bar
This comfortable country bed-and-breakfast sits on a white-fenced dirt lane, secluded from the main highway and adjacent to Charles B. Mitchell Vineyards. Onsite you’ll find ponds, lush gardens, a microbrewery, and 7 acres of private vineyards. Each room is unique, from the Garden Room with its queen-size bed and private patio to the Gentlemen's Quarters with its king-size bed, original wood beams, deck and wood-burning stove. If you’re up for some fun, ask about onsite events such as winemaker dinners, live music and dancing under the stars. Whenever you’re in the mood for wine tastings, it’s a mere 8 miles away to area wineries.
Foxes Inn is a classic bed-and-breakfast, housed in a clapboard home built in 1857.
Foxes Inn of Sutter Creek
77 Main St.
Sutter Creek, CA 95685
Telephone: (209) 267-5882; (800) 987-3344
Fax: (209) 267-0712
Rates: $160 to $325
Services: Breakfast Included, Concierge, Internet Access, Parking
There’s no shortage of attractive bed-and-breakfasts in the foothills, but the Foxes Inn is a jewel. This refined, well-restored clapboard home, built in 1857, is in the center of Sutter Creek’s downtown area with shops and restaurants steps away. Each guestroom has its charms—including gas fireplaces, claw-foot bathtubs or private entrances—but couples should request the downstairs honeymoon suite, a spacious, romantic lodging with a garden view. The gourmet cooked-to-order breakfast, included in the room rate, ranges from the signature cheese-topped Swiss eggs, poached in cream and served over an English muffin, to a mild green chile baked with scrambled eggs, cheese, salsa and sour cream. If you have a sweet tooth, you might opt for the berry-filled Swedish pancakes, served either to your room or to the gardens.
In addition to the main guesthouse, Imperial Hotel has a cottage with three luxury suites.
14202 Highway 49
Amador City, CA 95601
Telephone: (209) 267-9172
Rates: $105 to $205
Services: Breakfast Included, Concierge, Internet Access, Parking, Restaurant/Bar
Amenities: Jacuzzi, Library
The Imperial Hotel is rich with history. Though it was originally built as a general store for local gold miners, the owners converted it into a boarding house in 1879, due to the demand for area lodging. A sturdy, red brick two-story, it looks like a hotel out of a Western film, complete with an antique bar. The six guestrooms, all on the second floor, are cozy and quaint (no phones or TVs) with high ceilings, original brick walls and heated towel bars in the bathrooms. There is also a cottage in the rear, which houses three luxury suites with porches. The dining room serves dishes such as Sonoma duck breast with Port reduction and bistro steak with garlic mashed potatoes and gorgonzola cream sauce.
Château du Sureau finds a delicate balance between French luxury and the casual vibe of California.
Château du Sureau
48688 Victoria Lane
Oakhurst, CA 93644
Telephone: (559) 683-6860
Fax: (559) 683-0800
Rates: $385 to $585
Services: Jacuzzi, Pool, Day Spa, Yoga Court
Amenities: Babysitting, Concierge, Dry Cleaning, Internet Access, Laundry, Pet Services, Restaurant/Bar, Room Service
More a French manor than a California hotel, this Relais & Châteaux property is elegant with antique furnishings, fireplaces in each room, French fabrics and exquisite cotton bed linens. For dinner, opt for the ever-changing, five-course prix fixe menu at the hotel’s restaurant, Erna’s Elderberry House. The Wine Spectator Best of Award of Excellence winner features a wine list offering 750 strong selections from California, Burgundy, Germany and Austria. Past dishes have included poached Phantom Creek oysters in aspic with horseradish-parsnip puree, cauliflower-watercress soup with artichokes and toasted pumpkin seed oil and root-vegetable lamb loin. But save room for an evening snack, too; homemade cookies and elderberry liqueur are left in rooms during turndown service.