When it comes to Bay Area hospitality, the beautiful life is everywhere. Within a 3-hour radius, you can be relaxing on a warm beach, sipping the best of wine country, or enjoying a gorgeous mountaintop view. Each week, we will be rounding up the best of the Bay Area Staycations. These are the off-the-beaten path gems that you won’t find on any average travel guide.
Where to Stay
Location: 27 North St Healdsburg, CA 95448
Phone Number: (707) 433-4211
(Images courtesy of Hotel Les Mars)
HOTEL LES MARS
Trust us when we say that Hotel Les Mars will be of the most exquisite hotel experiences for even the most discerning of travelers. 100% pure class.
If you’re looking for an authentic boutique hotel to take in Healdsburg, then Hotel Les Mars is the place. We have all glowing things to say about this charming hotel.
First, you’ll be struck by Hotel Les Mars’ charm. It feels nothing like a hotel, but instead, a luxurious residence where your every need will be catered to. And speaking of needs, let’s just start with the rooms, shall we? You will be so impressed with the amenities, you won’t want to leave! Each of the rooms offers a confluence of old world luxury and 21st century technology: draped four poster beds made up with sumptuous Italian linens. All of this is elegantly paired with room service, a fireplace, mini-bar, iPhone dock, and a bathroom with a jacuzzi bathtub. Oh, and did we mention that the flatscreen TV rises from the Louis XV armoire, via remote-control? What an amazing touch to such a classical-style room.
Inside the bathroom, you’ll find aromatherapy salts to enhance your bathtub experience. We tried them all, and they do work, so make sure you take the time to relax and soak in the experience! (Hint: one of our favorite experiences was ordering standard breakfast, setting it up next to the bathtub, and getting some jet action going.)
Throughout your stay, service will be impeccable. The hotel staff will remember your name as soon as you walk in. If you need anything, really, they will help you out. Our group was greeted with a glass of champagne, and the staff was available for any questions along the way.
And finally, there’s the library. It is worth spending some time there for sure. It is a throwback to a proper library with an incredible selection of vintage classics, set in a gorgeous European setting. Grab a glass of wine, sit down and explore.
Yes, all of this will cost you a pretty penny. But hey, being spoiled is priceless.
Our recco: This is a smaller, more B&B-style Relais & Chateaux property, which means that availability is limited. Couples, singles and seasoned travelers who appreciate the finer things in life, book your stay here, then build your weekend around it. Also one thing to note: they are dog-friendly with a strict pet policy.
Where to Start Your Daythetasteoftea.com Mood: Casual
The Taste of Tea is one of the Bay Area’s most unique place to relax, taste, and learn about tea. Most certainly a delightful way to start a weekend in Healdsburg. Why? Because these are true experts, and hallelujah for bringing the art of tea drinking to life!
Here, you’ll learn about the different varietals of tea from China and Taiwan. You have a plethora of food pairings including soups, delectable main dishes and desserts. And yes, there are vegetarian-friendly items. But the point is that, no matter what food pairing you choose from the menu, the helpful owners and staff are more than happy to explain the flavor profiles, and why a particular tea is paired with that item. Not to mention, there’s an uber relaxing mini-spa in the back where you can experience tea facials (which do work, by the way), and tea foot soaks, among other things.
There is even a bar area where you can sit and marvel as they extract tea with their cool contraptions. Totally worth the trip to Healdsburg.
Our recco: Start your day in Healdsburg with a couple hours here. Start with tea and a bite, then move into a facial and end with a matcha tea and dessert at the bar.
Where to Drink and Eat, Day or Nightsonomacider.com Mood: Casual (Images courtesy of Sonoma Cider)
Sonoma Cider is a great place to sit back on a warm day, grab a bite, and explore the world of cider. Not only will you gain an appreciation for this underrated libation, you’ll experience unique flavors that are unheard of anywhere in the cider-drinking world. The owners of Sonoma Cider are clearly crazy about their craft, and we have to say that you will be too after tasting some of these fabulous concoctions.
While Sonoma Cider is available in stores (bottled), the recent taproom addition is all the reason to consider taking time to visit. There are a variety of craft ciders on draft – including Limited Runs, Cidermaker Reserve ciders and a collection of Micro-release ciders that are exclusively available at the taproom. There is also a cocktail menu featuring in-house organic apple brandy. Paired with cider-friendly bites, you’re in for a delicious treat. Not to mention, the vibe is fresh, welcoming, and family-friendly.
Our recco: If you’re looking for a casual place for lunch or dinner, take a couple of hours to enjoy specially selected dishes that pair great with Sonoma Cider’s crafted creations.
Where to Indulgehttp://www.hotelhealdsburg.com/spa/ Mood: Upscale, approachable (Image courtesy of The Spa at Hotel Healdsburg)
In just one treatment, you’ll realize that the Spa at Hotel Healdsburg is the essence of the Healdsburg: Approachable luxury in a quaint environment. This isn’t your typical inside spa experience: Yes, you can find just about any indulgent spa treatment that one would expect, but you’ll you’ll also have access to a beautiful outdoor experience. To take full advantage of the scenery, purchase packages a couple can purchase the Spa Treatment With Lunch For Two package, a couples massage, or a single traveler would enjoy a Spa Day of Bliss with a couple of treatments. Anything under the sun (literally) is available on the menu here. The key here is to enjoy the scenery. And the spa is open seven days a week – why not enjoy a weekday off?
Our recco: When you have a couple of hours to kill, or you just want to relax from footing-it around Healdsburg, this is the most ideal place for efficient relaxation. The trick is to book your experience a couple of weeks ahead of time. While you’re there, you can make it a day-long affair with access to the pool ($15 for non-hotel guests), or an efficient relaxation with just one treatment. No matter how you choose to spend your time here, a mid-day mani-pedi is a must.
Where to Eat, Night Timevalettehealdsburg.com Mood: Upscale-casual (Images courtesy of Valette)
Valette is a highly impressive experience, hands down. When you’re looking for a fancy dinner done in an approachable style, Valette Restaurant is definitely your place.
The owner and Chef Dustin Valette, formerly from Dry Creek Kitchen, has brought his dream to life. The concept began some 15 years ago amongst two brothers, Dustin Valette and Aaron Garzini over a glass of wine. The two dreamt of opening a restaurant that showcased all that Sonoma County has to offer. The restaurant would be located in downtown Healdsburg at the heart of Sonoma County. Today, Valette has grown to be a top restaurant destination in the food-driven town of Healdsburg, serving honest food, impeccable service, and house a collection of boutique wines.
It’s all about seasonal food that is artfully presented and rich in flavor. The menu is certainly a meat-eater’s dream, but vegetarians take note: you will be able to enjoy a fabulous dinner here. No matter what your cuisine preference is, go for the wine pairings! You’ll be in store for some lovely recommendations.
Last but not least, the ambiance is just so fun, it will be well worth your trip to Healdsburg.
How To Explore More of Healdsburg
Healdsburg’s Tastemaker Tours
If you’re looking for an intimate, behind-the-scenes experience of the food and wine scene in Healdsburg, then look no further than Healdsburg’s premiere tour companies, which are offering seasonal tastemaker tours. These special tours offer visitors a unique look into homegrown food and wine with the winemakers, chefs and craftsmen that make up the character of Healdsburg.
A sample of a Tastemaker Tour may include an insider’s look into the operations of a working flower farm at Dragonfly Floral & Farm; a three-course cooking class at Relish Culinary Adventures; a visit to the new Sonoma Cider Taproom & Restaurant to enjoy delicious, local and organic ciders paired with yummy bites; and/or a visit to Noble Folk Ice Cream & Pie Bar to experience handcrafted desserts which combine French pastry training with Scandinavian and Japanese flavors.
Tours are available in half-day, full-day and multi-day packages, each tastemaker tour is thoughtfully created with hands-on, educational and exclusive experiences. For more information on Healdsburg’s Tastemaker Tours, visit www.savorhealdsburgfoodtours.com, sonomalivingtour.com and winecountrywalkingtours.com.