Guide to Luxury Experiences in Sonoma Wine Country
Wine Country is famous for its bucolic vineyards, farms, coast and mountains, but also for its luxury adventures.
To make planning your high-end adventure easy, we've put together a brand new, official Luxury Guide to Sonoma County, where you'll discover posh wineries, restaurants, resorts, spas, and recreation.
Browse the Sonoma County Luxury Guide here.
To whet your appetite for the good life, check out these samples of top shelf experiences:
Escape to this romantic and serene retreat that was elegantly renovated inside and out in 2014. Located on a seaside perch overlooking the Pacific Ocean, it offers ocean views from every guest room, and is the only AAA Four Diamond hotel on the Sonoma Coast. Guest rooms include fireplaces, warm, snuggly down comforters for that sometimes cool ocean breeze, and private balconies for stargazing.
The onsite restaurant, Drakes Sonoma Coast, celebrates the coastal bounty with a menu highlighting local, sustainably farmed produce, seafood, and meats. The onsite spa offers an outdoor heated swimming pool and whirlpool spa, with signature treatments like warm tiger clam shell massage.
This rural Forestville property amid the redwoods is a ravishing mix of gorgeous guest rooms, a restaurant fed by farm-fresh food, and a seasonally inspired spa. The owners, siblings Catherine and Joe Bartolomei, come from fifth generation farmers, so that counts nicely toward the 'farmhouse' authenticity. Recently, the property underwent an expansion and redesign of the circa-1870 hideaway, where, amid the towering redwoods of the Russian River Valley, crews added eight new guest rooms housed in an elegant new 'barn,' refreshed the Inn's original ten guest rooms, and brightened the Michelin-starred restaurant that fronts the property.
Baths are gussied with large jetted tubs and saunas or steam showers, morning starts with full breakfast and fresh flowers in your room, and in the afternoon, you can take wine tasting classes with Sonoma County's only Master Sommelier, then move on to homemade cookies and milk.
There's exploring the Russian River by canoe or kayak, and then there's a private, Stand Up Paddleboard tour. You can even do SUP yoga, as in jacked-up yoga right on the water, engaging hundreds of small muscles to align your spine and other major joints like hips, knees, and ankles. Your instructor will show you all the stretches in the beauty of SUP's private lake located within a habitat preserve surrounded by organic vineyards in Sebastopol. Friendly water dogs are welcome, too, and remember to BYO picnics and wine. Trips are seasonal, generally early March through late October.
Warm your very soul at one of Wine Country's iconic destinations, Sonoma's spectacular, state-of-the-art Willow Stream Spa that 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 are so vital they have to be cooled for guest use. The signature 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.
The luxury villa rentals and epicurean adventures company boasts a portfolio of, well, beautiful homes for rent and culinary-based travel excursions. With properties across Sonoma County, there's the perfect place for everyone, whether they're looking for a vineyard, coastal view, chic urban or romantic hideaway spot. Add on custom treats like a private cooking class in your vacation home, a chef-guided tour of area farmers' markets, dinner with winemakers in a winery cave, or virtually anything your heart desires.
A luxury compound of Airstream trailers sits on the banks of the Russian River, including spa-inspired bathrooms with walk-in showers plus boutique hotel bedding, linens, and towels. Or, relax in a hard-side wood cabin or an elegant canvas tent with plush, modern interiors. Either way, you enjoy access to the site's mid-century modern clubhouse, indoor and outdoor fire pit lounges, and adventure in the surrounding redwoods, meadows and nearby downtown Guerneville.
Restaurateurs Kyle and Katina Connaughton planted their own five acre Single Thread Farms property between the Russian River and the historic San Lorenzo Ranch nearby, and established a 3,000-square-foot rooftop garden above the restaurant, both dedicated to growing boutique ingredients for the food and cocktail menus. Set in a grand building owned by the Seghesio wine family near Healdsburg Plaza, the elegant space is home to equally sophisticated cooking. The concept is kaiseki - elaborate multicourse meals crafted as art - and donabe - rustic clay pot cooking. Menus change daily, but might mean delicacies like black cod Fukkura-san (donabe style) with root vegetables, cabbage, charred onion and walnut-nori pesto; plus wild salmon donabe-smoked over cherry-blossom-wood with fermented rice, salmon roe and wild ginger.
The gorgeous hilltop winery offers some of the best views in Carneros, a garden that helps feed a mini farmers' market at the winery entrance, a dining area with a community table for by-appointment chef's tastings, and plenty of patio tables overlooking the vineyards. For a true taste of nature, a picturesque, wine-inspired epicurean picnic by the pond awaits. Start by selecting a Ram's Gate appellation wine, or upgrade to a single-vineyard bottling. The chef crafts an assortment of mouthwatering delicacies to pair with your chosen wine, tucked into a real wicker basket alongside a blanket. Guests stroll through the vineyards to secluded spots nestled between the vines and a serene pond, spread out their blankets, and relax.
It's remarkable how huge Sonoma County looks from the sky. Vineyards that already seem large from the ground are lattice works of intricate trellising, rolling across hills and Valley. Sheep, cows, goats, horses, llamas and even the occasional bison or llama look like toys. The sun dapples across lakes, creeks wind like ribbons through the landscape, and old barns dot the fields. Up & Away Ballooning offers rides for 2-16 guests, and has been sharing Sonoma's spectacular wine country views for more than 20 years.
Explore nature on the back of a sure-footed horse. Take a guided horseback trail ride with gorgeous views of the lake and surrounding countryside, only minutes from downtown Healdsburg. The Ranch offers a wilderness experience on horseback, wandering through Sonoma County's largest 17,000-acre park. A variety of trail rides are available, from those suitable for timid or first-time riders to more challenging treks.