Life moves at a slower pace in Mendocino, and the mind-set is sometimes unconventional, even eccentric. That's what makes a tour of Mendocino all the more tempting. It won't be quite like any other wine region you've ever visited. Because it isn't a well-oiled tourist mecca on the scale of Napa, Mendocino lodgings are generally small and intimate. What follow are the best bets of the region.
ALBION RIVER INN
3790 N. Highway 1, Albion
Telephone: (707) 937-1919 Website: www.albionriverinn.com
The breathtaking views of the waves crashing along the coastline say it all at this charming cliffside inn. Nestled on a small bluff overlooking the Pacific Ocean, and conveniently located midway between the wineries of Anderson Valley and Mendocino village, Albion River Inn evokes the elegance of a New England lodging yet with a decidedly casual vibe. Guest rooms are grouped in 12 cottages lining the property, all with sweeping views of Albion Cove. Contemporary in style, the rooms are comfortable and understated, with private entrances and fireplaces, and most have private decks where guests can relax in Adirondack chairs, taking in the sights while enjoying a glass of wine. The suites are spacious and set a romantic mood with two-person spa tubs that look out over the ocean.
14050 Highway 128, Boonville
Telephone: (707) 895-2210
This is where you go when you want to escape. Located in the quaint village of Boonville, it's just a short drive to many Anderson Valley wineries. There are a variety of rooms in the main building, while other rooms are more remote and located around the beautiful grounds, including a secluded bungalow with a private sunroom. Simplicity and relaxation are the key words here—there are only the most basic of amenities—but rooms are comfortable and uncluttered. There aren't any televisions or alarm clocks—instead, it is quiet and low-key, with gardens to explore, a fire pit, large bathrooms with oversize tubs, and everything decorated with a rustic simplicity and just a touch of wine country chic. A complimentary breakfast includes homemade granola and freshly baked scones.
LITTLE RIVER INN
7901 N. Highway 1, Little River
Telephone: (707) 937-5942
This elegant seaside inn combines warm and friendly service with the amenities and comforts of a small resort. Just a short drive from downtown Mendocino, the 225-acre grounds include a nine-hole golf course, tennis courts and even a full-service spa. Built by Silas Coombs in the late 1800s, the original Victorian house was converted to an inn in 1939 and is now operated by the fifth generation of the family. Guests can select from a wide variety of lodgings, from cozy upstairs rooms in the main house to spacious suites and several cottages scattered around the property. Most of the accommodations offer magnificent views of the ocean and feature fireplaces and decks or balconies. For the ultimate romantic getaway, opt for a room in the recently redesigned Electra house. After a day of touring wineries, guests can dine at the restaurant or enjoy a drink at the bar.
45020 Albion St., Mendocino
Telephone: (707) 937-0289
This historic and stately bed-and-breakfast is located in the heart of Mendocino, easy walking distance from the village's shops and restaurants. Built in 1882 as a private residence, the inn retains much of its 19th-century charm while tastefully integrating modern amenities. Accommodations vary in size and style and suit a variety of tastes and budgets. Rooms in the inn's main Victorian house stay true to the time period with claw-foot bathtubs and antique furniture, and several cottages provide rustic elegance. The most luxurious rooms are in the barn, and feature stone fireplaces and decks with ocean views or private hot tubs. The inn's suites are located a short drive away in a separate mansion overlooking the town and offer some of the most spacious and modern accommodations in Mendocino.