When planning a visit to Sonoma, don't forget that the county is bigger than Rhode Island, covering more than 1,600 square miles and encompassing 11 distinct wine appellations. To avoid spending too much time behind the wheel, choose two well-placed pieds-à-terre—one for your days in the south, another for the stay in the north. Go for contrast, if you like: Start in a cozy, old-fashioned nest like Raford Inn, and finish at the playfully edgy Duchamp.
There's also something to fit nearly every budget. Modest rooms in good bed-and-breakfasts can be had for as low as $150. Sonoma's better accommodations are hospitable places with high standards of service. The locals take infectious pride in their region and its wines, and are always ready with suggestions about nearby producers. Complimentary tastings are practically de rigueur, and the larger hotels host winemaker dinners.
Please note that prices and other details can often change. We recommend that you call ahead before you go.
13555 Hwy. 116
Guerneville, CA 95446
Telephone: (707) 869-9093; (800) 555-8509
Fax: (707) 869-9170
Rates: $195 to $345
Services: Business Center, Concierge, Parking, Pet Friendly, Restaurant/Bar, Internet Access
Amenities: Garden, Jacuzzi, Spa, Pool
Despite its rustic, woodsy setting, you won't be roughing it at Applewood. The inn was built in 1922 as a private home and it still feels like one, especially in the congenial sitting rooms where guests gather around stone fireplaces to mingle and chat. Rooms in the nearby gatehouse and Piccola Casa are the most spacious, at 450 square feet, and all of them are equipped with a shower for two or a Jacuzzi tub. A 15-minute (or less) car trip is all it takes to reach wineries such as Iron Horse, Korbel and Arista.
The Cottage Inn offers an air of privacy and tranquility despite being steps from Sonoma Square.
Cottage Inn & Spa and Mission Bed & Breakfast
310 First St. East
Sonoma, CA 95476
Telephone: (707) 996-0719; (800) 944-1490
Fax: (707) 939-7913
Rates: $150 to $440
Services: Breakfast Included, Concierge, Internet Access
Amenities: Fitness Center, Spa Services
These adjacent properties, which are operated together as one inn, may be only 50 yards away from the tasting rooms of bustling Sonoma Square, but they still manage to feel like private retreats. Rooms are eclectically and creatively furnished, thanks to the owners, the Behrens family and former owner Robert Behrens, who was an architect, interior decorator and sculptor. No need to go far for breakfast: Fresh pastries and fruit are delivered to guests' rooms each morning.
Breakfast at Duchamp Hotel features pastries from Downtown Bakery and organic coffee.
421 Foss St.
Healdsburg, CA 95448
Telephone: (707) 431-1300; (800) 431-9341
Fax: (707) 431-1333
Rates: $350 to $425
Services: Concierge, Internet Access, Parking, Pet Services
Amenities: Jacuzzi, Pool
This innovative California wine country hotel is decked with quirky lighting fixtures and custom-designed contemporary furniture. The property comprises six villas, one of which is pet-friendly. Breakfast features pastries from Downtown Bakery and organic coffee, and a heated lap pool soothes aching muscles. While the location is not especially scenic, it's a convenient two blocks from Healdsburg Plaza, where Kendall-Jackson, Gallo Family Vineyards, Mayo Family Winery, Rosenblum Cellars, Seghesio Family Vineyard and more have set up tasting rooms. Syrah lovers can take a concierge-arranged private tour of Duchamp Estate Winery, just four miles away.
El Dorado Hotel has it all, from its central location to comfortable rooms to a fantastic restaurant.
El Dorado Hotel
405 First St. West
Sonoma, CA 94576
Telephone: (707) 996-3030; (800) 289-3031
Fax: (707) 996-3148
Rates: $150 to $225
Housed in a historic building on Sonoma Plaza, the El Dorado is just steps away from a collection of tasting rooms, and within 10 miles of wineries such as Sebastiani and Buena Vista. Tiled floors, four-poster beds and flat-screen TVs grace all of the rooms; request one with a balcony overlooking the Spanish Plaza. At the hotel's Sonoma-inspired El Dorado Kitchen, the dinner menu includes a six-course tasting menu paired with wine. While the menu changes daily, entrées such as a whole roasted maitake mushroom with truffled pommes puree, roasted romaine and chive crème fraiche and butternut squash agnolotti with toasted pecans and sage cream often appear on it.
The Fairmont Sonoma was originally a hot springs resort and still fills the pools with fresh mineral water.
Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn & Spa
100 Boyes Blvd.
Sonoma, CA 95476
Telephone: (707) 938-9000; (866) 540-4499
Fax: (707) 938-4250
Rates: $179 to $1,500
Services: Babysitting, Concierge, Dry Cleaning, Internet Access, Laundry Parking, Pet Services, Restaurant/Bar, Room Service
Amenities: Fitness Center, Golf, Pool, Sauna, Spa
This resort has more resources than most small towns. Built in 1927 at the site of a 19th-century hot springs retreat, the complex now features a Michelin-starred restaurant, fitness facilities and a fully equipped spa. There's also a 177-acre, 18-hole championship golf course and swimming pools fed by the mineral springs that are the resort's original raison d'être. Those up for wine tasting can tour a collection of wineries within a 15-minute drive of the resort, including St. Francis and Kunde. When making reservations, request the 600-square-foot Wine Country one-bedroom suite.
Farmhouse Inn is a restored American farmhouse set among the vineyards of the Russian River Valley.
Farmhouse Inn & Restaurant
7871 River Road
Forestville, CA 95436
Telephone: (707) 887-3300; (800) 464-6642
Fax: (707) 887-3311
Rates: $275 to $695
Services: Babysitting, Concierge, Internet Access, Parking, Restaurant/Bar, Room Service
Amenities: Pool, Sauna, Spa
This old-fashioned country inn exudes easygoing elegance. Couples rediscovering romance should reserve one of the second-floor rooms in the circa-1872 farmhouse—they're the most luxurious accommodations on the property, with gas fireplaces, large canopy beds and extravagant black-granite soaking tubs that look more like a small pool. The best cottages on the grounds have wood-burning fireplaces, and they all come with in-room saunas, whirlpool tubs and private decks. Between winery visits, guests can lounge by the pool or visit the spa for an array of relaxing massages and aromatic herbal wraps with ingredients from the property. Plan to have dinner at least one night at the inn's romantic restaurant—it's worth a visit even if you're not a guest. In the kitchen, chef Steve Litke blends a modern French culinary approach with vibrant, contemporary California flavors.
Rooms at the Gaige House have an Asian flair, from the simple designs to Zen gardens.
13540 Arnold Drive
Glen Ellen, CA 95442
Telephone: (707) 935-0237; (800) 935-0237
Fax: (707) 935-6411
Rates: $219 to $699
Services: Breakfast Included, Concierge, Internet Access, Parking
Amenities: Jacuzzi, Pool, Spa
Built in 1890, this Victorian hotel is luxurious without fuss or fanfare. Rooms are simple but elegant, with Asian touches such as tatami mats and screens, Japanese soaking tubs and Zen gardens. Request a room in the back if you're a light sleeper—the inn faces a busy street. Welcoming touches include a complimentary continental breakfast of homemade pastries and local meats and cheeses, and wine lovers need not go far to reach the wineries, with St. Francis and Kunde just a short drive away.
Guests start the mornings with breakfast on the deck, and it's no surprise if they don't leave all day.
891 Grove St.
Healdsburg, CA 95448
Telephone: (707) 433-4277; (800) 554-4667
Fax: (707) 431-7173
Rates: $250 to $600
Services: Babysitting, Concierge, Internet Access
Amenities: Croquet, Jogging Trail, PGA Putting Green, Pool, Spa, Tennis
Four acres of manicured grounds comprise lush flower gardens, jogging trails and bocce ball courts, creating a restful oasis that's a short stroll (or drive) from downtown Healdsburg's tasting rooms. For guests, the day begins with a full breakfast buffet (think Grand Marnier French toast and eggs Benedict) or fresh juice and scones on the deck. Rooms in the main Victorian house have European linens, and fresh flowers perfume the air, while the fireplaces in cottages and suites add an extra touch of romance.
Hotel Healdsburg offers contemporary comfort from the urban rustic design to the award-winning restaurant.
25 Matheson St.
Healdsburg, CA 95448
Telephone: (707) 431-2800; (800) 889-7188
Fax: (707) 431-0414
Rates: $385 to $820
Services: Babysitting, Concierge, Internet Access, Parking, Pet Services, Restaurant/Bar, Room Service
Amenities: Fitness Center, Jacuzzi Spa, Pool
With its rooftop metal cornices and tall windows, this hotel is a contemporary adaptation of the surrounding historic storefronts. The interior is urban rustic, with an abstract flair. Guestrooms include special touches such as teak floors, Tibetan rugs, plantation shutters and intimate balconies, and bathrooms are smartly designed, with pale lime Italian tiles and oversize tubs. Guests can take a dip in the pool or lounge around in the screened-in porch just off the lobby (a popular hangout when the weather is warm). At the spa—one of the most fashionable in all of Sonoma—therapists will customize any massage to suit your needs, complete with a soothing blend of herbal extracts and essentials oils. Plan to have dinner at least one night at the hotel's Dry Creek Kitchen, a Wine Spectator Best of Award of Excellence winner, where chef Charlie Palmer showcases the homegrown bounty of wine, artisanal cheeses, meats and produce with a menu and atmosphere as sophisticated as that of his restaurants in New York, Los Angeles and Washington, D.C.
Many of the guestrooms at Kenwood have balconies overlooking the courtyards.
Kenwood Inn & Spa
10400 Sonoma Hwy.
Kenwood, CA 95452
Telephone: (707) 833-1293; (800) 833-1293
Fax: (707) 833-1247
Rates: $450 to $900
Services: Concierge, Internet Access, Laundry, Parking, Restaurant/Bar, Room Service
Amenities: Jacuzzi, Spa, Steam Room, Pool
Ivy-covered, Tuscan-style buildings surround three verdant courtyards with heated pools, fragrant herb bushes and fig and olive trees. Elegant suites feel more Italian than California wine country, with authentic antique furnishings from Tuscany and working fireplaces. Welcoming touches include breakfast and a blissful spa where guests can indulge in an 80-minute signature facial with hydrating mask. For wine lovers, the inn is convenient to the wineries of Kenwood and Glen Ellen, including B.R. Cohn, Benziger, Matanzas Creek and Arrowood. Make reservations a year in advance if you plan to visit during harvest in September and October.
Rooms at the Les Mars Hotel recall those in the chateaus-cum-inns of France.
Les Mars Hotel
27 North St.
Healdsburg, CA 95448
Telephone: (877) 431-1700; (707) 433-4211
Fax: (707) 433-4611
Rates: $475 to $1,050
Services: Concierge, Dry Cleaning, Internet Access, Laundry Parking Restaurant/Bar
Amenities: Fitness Center, Pool
This European-inspired hotel is one of Sonoma's most conveniently located, just a block off Healdsburg Plaza, where wineries such as Kendall Jackson have tasting rooms. The design of the hotel resembles the château-style family inns of France, with high-pitched beamed ceilings and 18th- and 19th-century European antiques. Every room includes a gas fireplace, four-poster bed and deep whirlpool tub.
Garden spa suites at MacArthur Place have outdoor showers, Jacuzzi tubs and fireplaces surrounded by bamboo.
29 East MacArthur St.
Sonoma, CA 95476
Telephone: (707) 938-2929; (800) 722-1866
Fax: (707) 933-9833
Rates: $349 to $699
Services: Concierge, Dry Cleaning, Internet Access , Laundry, Restaurant/Bar, Room Service
Amenities: Fitness Center, Jacuzzi Spa, Steam Room, Pool
Designed to evoke a small Victorian village, MacArthur Place offers a wide range of lodgings, from quaint rooms in the original 1850s residence to private cottages surrounded by well-tended flower and herb gardens and Garden spa suites with Jacuzzi tubs and fireplaces. Afternoons are spent at the tasting rooms of Sonoma Plaza (four blocks away) or at the spa. Signature treatments include the full-body Red, Red Wine massage with grape seed extracts, and Lavender Dreams, a bath, body wrap and massage with lavender oils. Plan to have dinner one night at the property's steak house and martini bar, housed in a restored barn modeled after Thomas Jefferson's barn at Monticello.
Guests sip drinks on Madrona Manor's veranda, which overlooks gardens and an orange grove.
1001 Westside Road
Healdsburg, CA 95448
Telephone: (707) 433-4231; (800) 258-4003
Fax: (707) 433-0703
Rates: $250 to $625
Services: Breakfast Included, Concierge, Internet Access, Parking, Restaurant/Bar
In a region filled with Victorian inns, this hilltop hideaway sets the standard for period elegance, and it's only a short drive from the wineries of the Russian River Valley. Guests can stay in the imposing 1881 main house, or in three other buildings: Carriage House, Meadowood Garden Cottage and School House. Most rooms have fireplaces and private decks. The decor throughout both properties is sumptuous, even rococo, with gleaming antique furnishings that belonged to the house's original owner. The patio overlooks eight acres of lush lawns, a pool and the orange grove that supplies the morning juice, part of the complimentary breakfast. The inn also has a four-room restaurant that earned a Michelin star for its California cuisine that makes use of fresh, local ingredients.
Raford Inn takes advantage of its vineyard views, offering breakfast and evening wine tastings on the covered porch.
10630 Wohler Road
Healdsburg, CA 95448
Telephone: (707) 887-9573; (800) 887-9503
Fax: (707) 887-9597
Rates: $155 to $255
Services: Business Center, Concierge, Internet Access, Parking
This delightful six-room Victorian bed-and-breakfast is situated on a knoll overlooking vineyards, within 15 minutes of Santa Rosa and the downtown tasting rooms of Healdsburg. But convenient as the inn may be to town, it's primarily a place to relax. Rooms are airy, with as much as 623 square feet of space, and half of them have working fireplaces, the ideal place to unwind with a book and a glass of Cognac at bedtime. Breakfast is best enjoyed while taking in the scenery from the porch, and guests are invited to indulge in complimentary wine and cheese in the evenings.
Take a step into the European countryside at Vintner's Inn, which features elegant furnishings and views of vineyards.
4350 Barnes Road
Santa Rosa, CA 95403
Telephone: (707) 575-7350; (800) 421-2584
Fax: (707) 575-1426
Rates: $195 to $495
Services: Breakfast Included, Concierge, Dry Cleaning, Internet Access, Laundry, Parking, Restaurant/Bar, Room Service
Amenities: Fitness Center, Jacuzzi, Spa Services
With more than 30 Russian River wineries just a stone's throw away, Vintners Inn is an ideal base for exploring Sonoma wine country. Owned by Don and Rhonda Carano of Ferrari-Carano winery, the inn is set on a 92-acre vineyard and exudes European country elegance. Most of the rooms feature tall, beamed ceilings and wood-burning fireplaces, and all of them have private patios or balconies, but the bathrooms lack some of the luxuries provided by other hotels. While there's no spa, the concierge can arrange in-room massages for guests. Highway 101 is nearby, but noise from traffic is minimal.