CALIFORNIA WINE COUNTRY
Continued (page 7 of 13)
FAIRMONT SONOMA MISSION INN
100 Boyes Blvd.
This resort, built on a natural hot-mineral-water source discovered by native Indians, used to be the first place that came to mind when people thought of Wine Country resorts. The current building opened in 1927 as a hotel, was used as an R&R site for sailors during WWII and is now managed by Fairmont Hotels & Resorts. The big pink resort has the faded glamour of a platinum-blond bombshell from the studio days. The spa’s Greco-Roman theme, with large indoor baths, attracts couples from around the world for a romantic getaway. Tennis courts and a golf course (a quarter-mile shuttle ride away) and outdoor pools provide plenty of recreation, and you are very close to downtown Sonoma, with its movie theater and restaurants.
VILLAGIO INN & SPA
6481 Washington St.
Tel: 707-944-8877, 800-351-1133
If you've come to the Wine Country for dining adventures, Yountville would be the perfect home base—after dinner at the French Laundry or Bouchon or Bistro Jeanty or Ad Hoc or Redd, you can just walk home—and the place to stay here is Villagio. It’s a sprawling but easily navigated collection of spacious rooms and suites intersected by riverlike water features and softened by Meyer-lemon bushes and white roses. All the rooms have fireplaces, Italian linens and oversize sunken tubs. Breakfast is served buffet style in the lobby, and in nice weather terrace tables are set up overlooking the pool. This spa is admired for its simplicity, comfort and skilled massage therapists.
755 Silverado Trail
In what has lately become the new Napa style, Solage combines warm and homey with chic and modern. The 22-acre spread, just south of Calistoga, offers visitors their own home (actually just a room with patio but since it's not attached it feels like a house) with two bicycles waiting outside, five pools (a 130-foot, a children's, a hot springs co-ed and two unisex pools with clothing-optional feature) and some of the best food in the valley. There are also two bocce ball courts (lit for evening play) a world-class spa, yoga room and gym. At first glance, the site looks underwhelming but that is all good once you settle in. Though the design is high-end the feeling is cozy and comfortable. Unlike some of the fancier resorts in the Wine Country, this place is easily navigated since it's all on one level--no need for a golf cart to whisk you anywhere. A word about the aforementioned cuisine: chef Brandon Sharp, formerly of Gary Danko in San Francisco and The French Laundry in Yountville, prepares fresh, seasonal dishes that don't show off but offer the brightest, deepest flavors possible. Salmon is perfectly seared with an angelic bernaise and even if you don't like dessert, have the chocolate souffle. Since the portions are perfectly sized you will crave breakfast the next morning. Have the omelette, the housemade bagel and the bacon. Then grab your trusty bike, feel like a 12-year-old again, and ride into Calistoga secure in the knowledge that you can come home later for another meal. PS: the place is ready and able to put on large weddings and proved it by doing a huge one (involving a buyout of the entire property) the first week they opened in July, 2007.