San Francisco is a place I've visited many times for business meetings and conventions, as well as personal vacations. It's an amazing city, with the architecture, the cable cars, the views, the restaurants, and all the incredible sights and places nearby. Eventually, almost all business travelers will find themselves on a business trip to the San Francisco area. And if you do, it's worth considering a short side trip to nearby Sonoma and Napa Valley.
And if you're lucky, you might end up heading to the Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn & Spa, in Sonoma, California. Located a little bit over an hour (or perhaps a bit more, with traffic), the Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn & Spa is a great location for either business meetings or just a few extra days of R&R after a hectic business trip to the San Francisco area. The Fairmont Sonoma is close to downtown Sonoma, with its cute shops and restaurants, as well as centrally located for a variety of winery tours, hiking, and... other outdoor activities. The hotel is also convenient to the nearby Napa Valley, with even more wineries and outdoor activities.
The Fairmont Sonoma is a full-scale luxury resort and spa, with nicely manicured grounds, a class Art Deco feel, modern and spacious accommodations, wonderful dining options, and a variety of options for business meetings or gatherings. The Spa provides a full range of services, as well as extra-warm pools reserved for spa guests only. The hotel's regular pool has private cabanas, full pool-side service, and a great view of a huge old water tower that makes you feel like you're in Hollywood, 1935. The hotel also (at least while I was there) provides free wine tastings nightly in the large-but-cozy lobby with overstuffed leather couches.
During my stay at the Fairmont Mission Inn & Spa, the room, spa, and amenities were wonderful, but the service and people were incredible. The employees went out of their way to be friendly and helpful, but not in the obsequious way that expensive hotels tend to do, but in a friendly and cheerful way that made me feel right at home. The first night, the air conditioning in my room wasn't working as well as I would have liked, and within minutes a serviceman was there taking a look at it. In addition to adjustments, he went out of the way to also drop off a fan, in case that would be helpful (it was).
Business travelers who are interested in hosting a business meeting in the wine country area, or who want to unwind for a few days near San Francisco would do well to consider the Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn & Spa.
01 of 09
Business or Pleasure in Sonoma, California?
The Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn & Spa is located just outside downtown Sonoma, California. The hotel is convenient to the dozens of wineries in the area, as well as being close to Napa Valley. I particularly liked the look and feel of the Fairmont Sonoma--it feels classic and modern at the same time, and the grounds and public areas were well taken care of.
02 of 09
Enjoy the sun
The grounds of the Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn & Spa were sprinkled with a cozy set of chairs and tables for small gatherings or just hanging out and enjoying the bright California sunshine. I took advantage of these chairs in the late afternoon, with a nice glass of local wine.
03 of 09
Take a stroll
The Fairmont Sonoma is composed a number of different buildings. Some are part of the main, original hotel, while others have been built around it.
04 of 09
Take a rest
If you stay at the Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn & Spa, think about splurging and upgrading to one of the resorts signature Mission Suite rooms. The Mission Suites feature a two-person jacuzzi tube, a working fireplace, patios or balconies, and separate showers. I was able to stay in one of these rooms and found it spacious, nicely furnished, and an enjoyable place to relax after a day of touring the nearby vineyards.Continue to 5 of 9 below.
05 of 09
Take a Dip!
The Mission Suite rooms at the Fairmont Mission Inn & Spa feature a two-person jacuzzi tub for relaxing.
06 of 09
Light the night up!
Although I didn't have a chance to use it during my short stay, the Mission Suite rooms at the Fairmont Sonoma have fireplaces for heating up the nights.
07 of 09
Classic California feel
The Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn & Spa has a nice collection of meeting rooms and function space for companies that want to hold special gatherings. I was able to check in on one function shortly before a scheduled dinner. The room looked wonderful and had a nice class California feel. The space was open and welcoming and felt fresh and clean.
08 of 09
Keep on walking...
As a full-service resort, the Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn & Spa has a nice workout room, with cardio and weights. There's also a great outdoor pool for people who'd rather get some exercise by swimming (of course there are nice private cabanas nearby if you'd just rather skip the exercise part).Continue to 9 of 9 below.
09 of 09
A delicious stay
After a few days at the Fairmont Mission Inn & Spa, I didn't want to return home. And although I couldn't delay my departure, I did appreciate the special chocolate-on-chocolate special treat the hotel provided to me on my last night!
The Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn & Spa is an excellent choice for business travelers. It's a full-service resort that has the horsepower to effectively handle business meetings, and it's a great hide-away for a business traveler looking to unwind. Like any hotel or resort there are small areas that could use some attention (perhaps a fresh coast of paint here or there), but the accommodations and service during my stay were first-class.
As is common in the travel industry, the writer was provided with some discounted services for review purposes. While it has not influenced this review, About.com believes in full disclosure of all potential conflicts of interest. For more information, see our Ethics Policy.