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The Metro Hotel and Cafe: A French Sonoma County Getaway

Go “Glamping in Paris” without leaving the United States by staying in new, gleaming, and glamorous Airstream trailers at the French-inspired Metro Hotel & Cafe in Petaluma, in Sonoma County.

Of course, you can choose from the Metro’s 16 charming rooms within the hotel and two independently situated cottages, but now they also offer four designer Airstream trailers. Two are conveniently located on the premises for in-town glamping (glamorous, luxurious camping), while the other two trailers can be located wherever you choose in the Sonoma County — the Metro Hotel will handle all of the setup for you.

Of course, I opted for an Airstream stay because they just looked really, really fun.

The history of the Metro Hotel & Cafe is almost as fascinating and unique as the magical, creative, and campy decor to be found within. Originally, the building was twice the size you’ll see today, designed and built in the 1870s along classical French architectural lines to be a luxurious, private mansion.

Sometime in the 1920s it was moved to Petaluma Boulevard, and turned into a buzzing little speakeasy and hotel. The current owner fell in love with it in 2000, and has lovingly and artistically brought it back to life for its third incarnation as a French hotel.

So what makes it French, other than the obvious architectural details? The owner, Marie, is French and grew up in Paris. She continues to visit that beautiful city on a regular basis, coming back to Sonoma County with an abundance of Parisian treasures from the not-so-distant past.

Which explains why you’ll find vintage French posters around every corner, as well as quirky little gatherings of antique puppets and street signs, or theatrical props lit by intricately scrolled candelabras. And all of it very French in flavor — pretty much everything a Francophile would love.

Another pleasant surprise was the complementary light, and utterly delicious, crepes served fresh every morning with fruit preserves, powdered sugar, and, of course, the beloved Nutella. Add a cup of deeply rich Peet’s coffee, and you’re more than ready to take on the world.

And what’s up with the Airstreams? They are yet another passion of the owner. It’s obvious from the moment you enter that they are, each and every one, beloved by someone who is serious about the artistry and utility of these beauties.

If you’ve never spent the night in an Airstream, this is a perfect opportunity to do so — because if you choose to “go glamping” on Petaluma Boulevard, you’re also within easy walking distance of gourmet restaurants, stylish shops, and well manicured little parks.

The particular trailer that I occupied did in fact have it’s own little AstroTurf style yard, with cafe table and chairs and the obligatory fawn garden sculpture. Just kitschy enough to make you smile without being too over the top. Inside was all silvery and sleek sophistication.

The plush, queen size bed was nestled in bay windows at the front, with a fluffy comforter and stacks of pillows for bedtime reading or TV watching. At the other end was a dining area with an ample table and seating that allows you to stretch out while you eat.

In between, a tiny and perfectly designed kitchen, diminutive shower and “water closet,” plus more storage areas than you could possibly need for your stay. This particular model is one of only 50 made, which seems a shame because it was perfectly designed with all the comforts of home built in.

In addition to the overnight accommodations, the Metro Hotel & Cafe offers a large and creatively appointed conference room for work, hobby or civic meetings of up to 50 people. The hotel is also ADA compliant with rooms right off the gardens.

Looking for neighborhood spots for dinner? Check out the newest Peruvian restaurant, Quinua Restaurant Cocina Peruana, right next door, or the gourmet farm-to-table freshness of Central Market. And if you’re in the mood for something fast, delicious, and incredibly affordable, try Real Doner Turkish meals to go or eat in. All options are an easy walk from the hotel.

Metro Hotel & Café, 508 Petaluma Blvd. S., Petaluma, 707-733-4900

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