10 Great Wine Country Spas and Retreats for Fall
As winter nestles into Sonoma County, we think of warming things like hot chocolate, fireplaces, and the ultimate pleasure – spa time with thermal body wraps, warm oil massages and steam rooms. Here in Wine Country, spa treatments often change with the seasons, since lots of local ingredients are celebrated – think grape seed body scrubs, apple balms, and honey facials. So cozy up with these pampering treats.
One of Wine Country's iconic destinations, the spectacular, state-of-the-art Willow Stream spa spans 40,000-square-feet across a rotunda, 36 treatment rooms, and indoor and outdoor pools. Guests come from all around the world to experience the baths, fed by the resort's own ancient source of natural thermal waters rich with 24 trace minerals. You can actually feel the earth's healing and relaxation powers flowing from the springs 1,100 feet directly beneath the Inn. The waters rise at 135 degrees, and have to be cooled for guest use.
Seasonal: Neroli Blossom Kur, a rejuvenating experience to envelop you in complete peace. First, natural minerals are combined with sweet neroli blossoms for a blissful body polish. Himalayan sea salt spheres are then warmed to enhance a head to toe balancing massage. A moisture mask drenches your body, wrapping you in a cocoon while soothing sweet orange blossom facial and scalp massage deepens the trance.
Signature: The Bathing Ritual is a must and is included with every visit, featuring an exfoliating shower, two mineral water soaking pools, herbal steam, dry sauna, and cool down showers.
Just entering the property feels like an escape, as you disappear into the Kyoto-style meditation garden, a wild riparian area, a field of hammocks, and massage pagodas scattered inside peaceful woodland crisscrossed by babbling creeks.
Seasonal: The Osmosis Fusion Massage blends East and West by integrating the long strokes of Swedish-Esalen massage, with the rejuvenating techniques of Shiatsu, Thai, and Chinese massage, including essential oil aroma-acupressure.
Signature: If you've never tried a cedar enzyme bath, you owe it to yourself to sink into this bit of heaven in wooden tubs filled with hot, finely ground cedar, rice bran and plant enzymes. Arrive early, change into your robe, and have tea in the Japanese garden. The sanctuary's Zen decor inspires meditation in its creek-side sand gardens, and creates the perfect setting for massages in outdoor pagodas amid whispering trees.
Blink and you might miss the boutique hotel shrouded by ivy, roses, and trees on a gentle Sonoma hillside. It's an exclusive retreat, with just 29 rooms priced up to $1,000 a night. But here's a secret: Even us everyday folk can indulge in pampering at the elegant, intimate spa, which was recently extensively remodeled, with new facilities and services.
Seasonal: The Espresso & Mud Detoxifying Body Treatment begins with a vigorous exfoliation using volcanic pumice and coffee Arabica followed by a warm wrap of mineral-rich clay and extracts to help smooth, firm, and detoxify the skin.
Signature: A Rendezvous Under The Stars gives a couple exclusive use of the spa for three serene evening hours. Take a shower and exfoliate each other with the spa's body scrub, followed by a dreamy, side-by-side, 80-minute couple's massage in your choice of venue (rooftop Terrazzo, fireside, or in the couple's treatment room). Next, unwind in a bathtub for two overlooking vineyards, then relax in the rooftop Terrazzo with a bottle of bubbly and chocolates.
Talk about a fancy farmhouse. Sophisticated spa rooms glitter with fireplaces, upscale farmhouse-chic decor, and farm-to-table signatures using heirloom cider apples from the inn's home ranch plus herbs grown in Farmhouse's kitchen garden.
Seasonal: The Personal Apothecary treatment partners you and your spa alchemist in creating a customized treatment, including blending your unique therapeutic palette of oils, butters and exfoliants, for your massage, wrap and/or scrub pampering.
Signature: Indulge in a Spring Forest Honey ginger massage, or a 'body melt' that uses a warm pillow of muscle healing herbs, alfalfa hay, lavender, and chamomile.
Seasonal: Beach-theme treatments include the warm shell massage with Tiger Clam seashells.
Signature: Sonoma Coast Massage with essential oils of herbs, flowers and trees to relax, balance and stimulate the body, mind and spirit.
For guests who want the intimacy of a bed-and-breakfast but the amenities of a luxury resort, this small family-run home brims with high style and top notch service, making it one of Wine Country's most spectacular destinations.
Seasonal: Try the Trouble Spots treatment, addressing neck, shoulders and legs needing relief from hiking, followed by a soothing soak in the heated pool and steam in the sauna.
Signature: Start your visit by relaxing poolside or in a hammock overlooking Calabazas creek, then move on to utter bliss with treatments in the spa loft. For the most luxurious retreat, reserve a Zen Suite or even get a message in the gardens or by the creek. The eight Japanese-style spa Zen suites are hard to resist, inspired by the ancient inns of Kyoto, complete with granite soaking tubs for two, floor-to-ceiling sliding glass walls and private bamboo gardens.
Tucked at the entry to Armstrong Redwoods, this oasis offers calm, and a spa suite with services that promise to make you 'feel like a feathery pillow that's just been fluffed.'
Seasonal: Seaweed body wrap.
Signature: Boon Bliss of a Swedish massage and a facial.
Husband-and-wife team Cindy Scott-Fuchs and Trip Fuchs take spa style on the road. First, they coordinate a location, such as a private, luxury rental home on Dillon Beach or in the Sonoma mountains. Then they set up a complete spa on-site – often favoring outdoor settings like a mountainside meadow or oceanfront plateau.
Cindy customizes treatments, like Thai massage with hot stone therapy, warm foot wrap, and a mini facial of lavender infused steam, herbal cleanser, Indian clay mask and coconut oil massage. Next, Trip, a private chef, cooks a feast, ranging from hors d'oeuvres to a full supper. It's pure relaxation as the couples or small to mid-size groups then enjoy a night in their vacation home, with breakfast the next morning.
Seasonal: Warm Bamboo massage, with bamboo tools warmed to help apply deep pressure and to melt away stress and tension for deep relaxation.
Signature: Spa Sampler of herbal foot steam cloth with warm foot reflexology stones, lavender facial steam cloth with rejuvenating facial massage, and invigorating peppermint scalp massage.
Even if you're on a tight schedule, you can still fit some be-good-to-you time into your day. Directed by international skin care expert Dolores de Alba, the spa specializes in facial and body treatments designed to balance spirit along with the body, and also give you take-home knowledge of skin care regimes you can continue on your own. If an entire afternoon or a day won't fit your schedule, in as little as an hour, you can enjoy a petite facial, a power cleanse/power nap/power glow treatment, or a green tea and mint foot scrub.
Seasonal: The Power Quench is perfect for tired winter skin, with a 30-minute Hydrate and Plump treatment featuring Oxygen Cloud ECHO2Plus rich with essential vitamins, minerals and amino acids.
Signature: Book the spa with 3 to 5 guests and services totaling $750 or more to enjoy 3 ½ to 4 ½ hours of exclusive spa time including a complimentary glass of champagne with strawberries.
A single spa suite keeps things entirely intimate, like being in your own private oasis. Spanning two rooms, it's pure luxury down to the curved black tile and glass rain shower, and the couple's immersion on plush side-by-side beds.
Seasonal: Warm river stone massage.
Signature: Treat yourself to Jurlique biodynamic facials and Biotone crème massage.