Sonoma in Northern California: Small-Town Charm near San Francisco
Why Visit Sonoma in the First Place?
Sonoma County in Northern California is one of the most beautiful and agriculturally rich regions of the United States. It's a legendary vinicultural region that is renowned for superlative wines from over 400 producers, and beloved for wine-centric weekends of tasting and toasting.
And Sonoma is an easy drive north from San Francisco. So it's a perfect complement to a stay in the City by the Bay.
We Know You're Wondering: Why Sonoma and not Napa?
Sonoma County and Napa County are neighbors, and together form Northern California's wine country.
But to some luxury travelers, neighboring Napa Valley has become a victim of its own popularity. They feel that Napa has gotten too crowded, too developed, and too "big-brand."
When they visit, they don't like spending their time on the county's pair of congested north-south main roads, or waiting on lines at Napa wineries' tasting rooms. And they don't like being turned down for reservations at Napa's uncontestedly fine restaurants.
But we're fair-minded! Here are all the reasons why Napa Valley is a luxury travel legend.
Sonoma Says: We're Not Napa, and Don't Want to Be!
Sonoma County is not as famous as Napa...yet. And it's not looking for glamour.
Locals are committed to preserving the county's small-town ambiance. Sonoma works hard to live up to the motto that it has chosen: "genuine, independent, and adventurous."
What Sonoma Hotels Are Like
Upscale lodgings in Sonoma wine country are as diverse and abundant as the terrain itself.
Each property is unique...
...whether a historic wine chateau, salt-air beach lodge, village Victorian mansion, lovingly restored farmhouse, Zen-serene spa oasis, arty B&B... and more styles of Sonoma hotels. All run with local pride.
What Sonoma Lodgings Have in Commons
• They celebrate Sonoma wines, and work with the vineyards to feature tastings, winemaker dinners, and of course winery visits accommodate winery visits
• Nearly all Sonoma lodgings are small, personality-laden boutique hotels that share the spirit of their setting
• Sonoma hotels and their hoteliers communicate: "We are genuine, we are independent, we are adventurous. We are Sonoma!"
And I will add: Sonoma lodging can be thrillingly luxurious.
• See Luxury Travel's "must do" list for a true luxury hotel
The Right Sonoma Hotel for You, by Luxury Travel's Hotel Guru, Eric Weiss:
See which one would be the perfect setting for your romantic, wine-loving Sonoma getaway.
• A go-to getaway spot furnishing a gracious taste of Tuscany in sunny Sonoma County: Applewood Inn, Restaurant and Spa
• A lovable B&B in downtown Healdsburg with luscious flower gardens, dreamy breakfasts, and a chocolate specialty: Camellia Inn
• Mid-1800s estate home with lovely rooms, acclaimed dining, and an aah spa: Kenwood Inn and Spa
• A Victorian mansion with 19 all-unique rooms in an enchanting arts village: Inn at Occidental
• Boutique hotel with a ranch pedigree, great masseurs, martini bar and splendid steakhouse: MacArthur Place
• A gabled Victorian inn with five-star service and one of NoCal's best kitchens: Madrona Manor
• Famed then for The Birds, now for oceanfront élan and fine dining: Bodega Bay Lodge
•A rustic name for one of Sonoma's most sophisticated small hotels: Farmhouse Inn
• One of Sonoma's best ways to spend a morning: gliding above it all in Wine Country Balloons
• Or to spend an afternoon: Osmosis Day Spa Sanctuary
• Or to spend a wild day and night on the "Sonoma Serengeti": Safari West
See you in Sonoma Wine Country!