Featured Photo: Kenwood Inn & Spa
While the very name of Wine Country may imply indulgence to some, the region has long been known for its health benefits. Native Americans, including the Wappo tribe, have incorporated volcanic hot springs near Mount St. Helena into their rituals for thousands of years. In Sonoma, Geyserville gets its name from geothermal springs in the Mayacamas Mountains to the east, discovered by American tourists who came to take the waters in the late 19th century.
Today, visitors seek hotels with expert spas that take inspiration from Sonoma’s harvests and natural bounty. Add in gorgeous vistas for outdoor yoga classes, hiking and biking and you have the makings of an ideal wellness getaway. Here are our favorite home bases for self-care in Sonoma’s Wine Country.
Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn & Spa
Named for California’s northernmost mission of the 21 founded by Franciscan monks from Spain, which lies 2.5 miles south, this grande dame of Wine Country hotels was built in 1927 on the site of an earlier hot springs resort. In more recent years, it’s been renowned for its 40,000-square-foot, European-style Willow Stream Spa, including 30 treatment rooms, three mineral water baths, Watsu pool and a custom “rain tunnel.” Spa users have exclusive access to the outdoor geothermal pool, whose source spring contains 27 different minerals. Explore the gorgeous surroundings on a free, docent-led hike at 9 am Friday through Sunday.
TIP: Guests receive access to the otherwise members-only Sonoma Golf Club, an 18-hole course on 177 acres. Excellent dining and drinking options abound, from casually elegant (Sante Kitchen) to just casual (Cali Forno food truck.)
Seeking serenity now? This Zen-inspired, 23-room boutique inn in leafy Glen Ellen can set you up with private guided meditation on the patio of your ryokan-style suite in the covered outdoor meditation alcove. You can also take a private yoga class in the alcove or by the sunny pool and hot tub. After a day exploring, listen to Calabazas Creek while sitting by the fire pit on the Moon Deck before heading to your spacious room with a modern Asian ambiance — be sure to book one with the deep granite soaking tub.
TIP: Complimentary cooked breakfast is delivered to your door, with wine, cheese and cookies provided in the afternoon. Ryokan Zen Creekside and Garden suites comes with yukata robes, indoor and outdoor slippers, and private patios.
This sophisticated yet relaxing hotel facing Healdsburg Plaza helped put both the town and the town square on the map as a Wine Country destination when it opened in 2001. Newly renovated, its 56 rooms offer subtle reflections of the rustic surroundings with salvaged wood dressers and bed frames and original cloud paintings among the modern, neutral-toned furnishings. Oversized bathrooms and balconies with country and city views also add to the sense of spaciousness. Dining at Charlie Palmer’s Dry Creek Kitchen draws patrons from miles around, as does the first-rate spa.
TIP: “Farm to Spa” biodynamic treatments feature locally sourced products; treatments options include the Lavender Peppermint Restorative Massage and the Biodynamic Facial with lemongrass and echinacea. Accommodations offer spacious bathrooms with six-foot soaking tubs, walk-in showers, Frette bathrobes, and the property’s own organic spa amenities. The Fitness Center boasts cardio machines, free weights and yoga mats.
Kenwood Inn & Spa
A member of the Four Sisters boutique hotel group, this Mediterranean-style hideaway in Sonoma’s rural Valley of the Moon gives guests a significant discount on treatments at the Spa at Kenwood Inn, which focuses on personalized therapies. The hotel also abounds with tranquil enclaves for rejuvenating forest bathing, with huge oaks, vineyards and orchards surrounding the 2.5-acre grounds, including three garden courtyards, two pools, and a hot tub. The 29 rooms in vine-covered brick or stone buildings all offer private outdoor entrances, gas fireplaces, feather beds; some include jetted tubs and private balconies or terraces.
TIP: On most days, the “sparkling pool” and hot tub on the inn’s north side benefit from poolside service of drinks and small bites, while the three-foot-deep “warming pool” on the south side is adults-only. Guests have exclusive access to the Spa at Kenwood Inn Friday through Sunday.
The Lodge at Sonoma
Now part of Marriott’s Autograph Collection, the low-rise, Spanish Colonial-style hotel recently poured millions into an update of its lobby, guest rooms and secluded cottage suites. Views of lush gardens brighten the neutral palette of the fresh, contemporary decor. One of the region’s very best, the Raindance Spa at the Lodge takes its inspiration from the area’s abundant vineyards and farms. A dip in the heated pool or hot tub is also refreshing after a day of wine tasting.
TIP: Revered chef-restaurateur Michael Mina’s Wit & Wisdom is his first restaurant in Wine Country, a wonderful place to unwind with a hearth-fired meal and wine or craft beer. Book one of the cottages with private entrances, just a short walk from the hotel, for maximum privacy and creature comforts.
The new kid on the block, opened in late 2020, is actually not on a block, encompassing instead 258 acres graced by groves of oak trees and vineyards. Floor-to-ceiling windows, hardwood floors, and stone and copper elements in the spacious 130 rooms and suites create a sense of connection to the rural environs, while the zero-edge resort pool, 11,500-square-foot spa, and three casual-chic restaurants and bars add worldly sophistication. Bocce ball, pickleball and archery are fun onsite activities for all ages.
TIP: Don’t miss the yoga garden surrounded by vineyards. Families will especially appreciate the bungalow-style suites with sofa beds and terraces with fire pits; there’s also a separate family pool, as well as the half- and full-day programs for ages 5 to 12.
Overlooking the resort’s 98 acres of vineyards or courtyard gardens, the 44 rooms and suites of this Santa Rosa boutique inn are ideal for grownup get-togethers, featuring king beds with down bedding and perks like sitting areas with fireplaces, patios and balconies, and large bathrooms with double vanities. The serene Vi La Vita spa, added in 2018, provides five treatment rooms with special arrangements for groups of four or more. The sunny patios of River Vine restaurant (expected to reopen soon) make an easy option for breakfast, lunch or brunch.
TIP: The olive trees and vegetable gardens on the Tuscan-inspired grounds not only create produce for the resort’s restaurants, but are also part of its overarching green philosophy. Before or after savoring Wine Country cuisine at John Ash & Co., the pioneer in Sonoma farm-to-table dining, check out its intimate Front Bar & Lounge for happy hour or late-night nibbling.