Photo: Courtesy of Lodge at Sonoma
While Napa Valley might be California's marquee wine region, neighboring Sonoma County draws those who want to get a bit farther off the beaten path. It's also perfect for those who want to mix wine country with other pursuits; the sprawling region stretches from the mountains to the sea, and activities run the gamut from hiking and horseback riding to kayaking or surfing. But where to stay when visiting? Take advantage of the best of the area at one of these Sonoma hotels, perfect for any honeymoon.
Lodge at Sonoma
The Lodge at Sonoma Renaissance Resort & Spa is ideal for couples who want a secluded atmosphere with easy access to off-site attractions. The hotel has nearly 200 rooms spread in multiple two-story buildings, but lush landscaping keeps it from feeling crowded. Onsite, there's a large pool area with cabanas and firepits, a whirlpool, fitness center, spa, and two dining options: the Bean and Bottle café and bar as well as the Carneros Bistro. Rooms have small sitting areas, mini-fridges, flatscreen TVs, gas fireplaces, and large tubs. The hotel also offers a few extra-special perks, including a complimentary half bottle of wine upon check-in, evening wine-tasting reception, and a free on-call shuttle to the Sonoma Plaza, which can also be reached in about 10 minutes on foot. Read real brides' reviews here!
Kenwood Inn and Spa
Just 10 miles north of downtown Sonoma on Highway 12, the Kenwood Inn and Spa is a boutique property of 29 rooms spread around three Mediterranean-style courtyards. Romance and luxury are the major draws to staying here; rooms are spacious, featuring luxe tile floors, featherbeds, fireplaces, semi-private balconies, jetted tubs, and Tuscan-inspired décor. The one thing they don't have: TVs. The lack of televised distraction means you can focus on unplugging— and reconnecting with your new spouse. Onsite there are two heated saline pools, a hot tub, a spa, and a restaurant. Wine tastings are offered nightly, and a complimentary glass of port is available around the clock. Options at the included breakfast spread range from eggs Benedict to fresh pastries. An added bonus for honeymooners looking for peace and quiet: the inn doesn't allow children. Read real brides' reviews here!
If you've ever wanted to pretend to have your own French chateau, look no further than Hotel Les Mars, located in the heart of downtown Healdsburg. This boutique property is just a few steps from the bustle of the town square and has 16 luxurious rooms decorated with king-size four-poster beds, chaise lounges, and European antiques. There's a small fitness room and onsite pool, and while there's no restaurant on site, the hotel does serve breakfast (delivered to your room each morning) in addition to wines and artisanal cheese each evening.
Set on 92 acres near Santa Rosa, the AAA Four-Diamond Vintners Inn is a 44-room hotel with a wide range of onsite attractions, including a hot tub, fitness center, bar, restaurant (the excellent John Ash & Co.), and a bocce ball court. There's even a one-mile walking path through the adjacent vineyards. Though the hotel is close to the city, it has a more rural location ideal for those who want to feel like they are staying in the country; it's also a short drive to dozens of Russian River vineyards. Rooms have a French-country feel with modern amenities like iPod docks, and HDTVs. Other creature comforts include comfortable featherbeds, romantic fireplaces, and balconies overlooking the vines.
For the ultimate luxury experience, look into the AAA Four Diamond Farmhouse Inn, set on six acres near the town of Forestville in the Russian River Valley. The full-service resort boasts a seasonal heated hot tub and pool area, fire pits (complete with S'mores ingredients!), a full-service spa, and a Michelin-starred restaurant. The extra luxuries pile up; there's complimentary wine served at check-in, daily breakfast, homemade cookies and milk at turn down, and a Sonoma Bath Bar where guests can select their choice of scrubs, salts, and soaps. Service also goes above and beyond with six concierges and four bellmen for the inn's 25 rooms. The rooms themselves are stunning, with feather beds with European linens and down comforters, bathrooms with jetted tubs, and patio or deck space with dual-sided fireplaces.