Five Unique Places to Stay in Santa Rosa
For big city options with small town warmth, welcome to Santa Rosa — wine country's largest city and the county seat of Sonoma County.
Of note: Santa Rosa is known as the home of the late Charles Schultz – the Peanuts cartoonist – as well as the Charles M. Schultz Museum. It's also where famed horticulturist Luther Burbank lived and worked, and you can visit the Luther Burbank Home and Gardens throughout the year. And finally, for film buffs, Santa Rosa was the location of Hitchcock's 1943 film, 'Shadow of a Doubt.'
So, where to stay while in the city? A few suggestions:
Retro Motor Lodge Revival
Affordable, 'retro-chic' and recently beautifully remodeled, The Astro Motel feels like a road trip to a past-perfect fantasy destination. Not surprisingly, given its sparkling new renovation, this motel was recently featured in Vogue, GQ, and Sunset magazines, among others.
Beyond the fun and exceptionally well curated 'vintage' vibe you get from classic midcentury furnishings and cool wall art, are a host of amenities in each room that make you feel totally taken care of: Casper mattress and pillows on the bed, high thread count bed linens, Chivas soap, and Shikai hair and bath products, plus a great selection of tasty snacks and refreshments in the minibar. Complimentary Flying Goat coffee and the famous Spinster Sisters pastries are available in the mornings.
Added Advantages: You can ditch your car and rent a Shinola bike at the motel, then simply bike to your favorite destinations, or you can just walk to the downtown area, which is literally just a 10-minute walk. You'll also find a good assortment of dog-friendly rooms, a lending library, and a lush garden courtyard.
Victorian Neighborhood Home
Welcome to Casa Bello, a charming 1870s-era Victorian located in the historic Cherry Street neighborhood. Accommodations include a full breakfast, kitchen access (so you can cook up your own specialties), and bilingual, very accommodating hosts who are also Sonoma County Certified Travel Ambassadors and guides — should you need a little extra input on your daily itinerary.
Added Advantages: The owners, Eric and Paul, scout out the local farmers market on the weekend, looking for the best spot to set up a table just for their guests. You can talk to the food vendors, taste their wares, and head to that dining table with your goodies. Eric and Paul will do prep work for you, or simply supply you with good china and glassware for an alfresco meal! Traveling in a group? You can book a three bedroom, one bath private suite that can accommodate up to six guests, or the two bedroom, one bath private suite for up to four guests.
Historic Railroad Square Hotel
Hotel La Rose offers a bit of old world European appeal in the center of Santa Rosa's historic Railroad Square neighborhood. The inn, which was built in 1907 by Italian stonemasons, includes rooms in both the main building and a carriage house in the back. You can enjoy their hotel breakfast in the morning, and dining in an in-house bistro (opening after a remodel for summer of 2018.) The carriage house offers rooms with either a private balcony or patio.
Added Advantages: This hotel is close to a wide assortment of sophisticated eateries, shops, and a spa or two, plus the Sonoma County Visitor's Center. One other interesting note: one of the main hotel rooms is occasionally visited by the ethereal specters of a few well-mannered ghosts — a pair of children and a woman in flowing nightdress. So if a bit of gentle haunting is an added attraction for you, ask for Room 42.
Tuscan Inspired Oasis
Vintners Resort tagline says it all: Celebrate Everything. No appeal to the senses was spared in the design of this beautiful, certified green lodging resort, set among lush gardens and vineyards. The luxury is in the details: you'll find a half bottle of wine from Ferrari-Carano for sipping on your private balcony or patio when you arrive. The California King beds are made all the more luxurious by the addition of featherbeds and down comforters. Enjoy any one of the three dining options on property, or treat yourself to a massage at the spa, Vi La Vita Spa — follow this with a cheese plate and sparkling wine to prolong the bliss in your room.
Added Advantages: Consider dinner at one of the two onsite restaurants, including the iconic and world famous John Ash & Co restaurant, one of the pioneering leaders of fresh, local and seasonal wine country cuisine in northern California. Take time also to wander the spacious and beautifully maintained grounds, especially the two-mile vineyard path.
Safari West Wildlife Preserve and African Tent Camp is a stunning and unique safari adventure on a singularly magnificent wildlife refuge that's home to 900 exotic animals on the eastern edge of Santa Rosa. With its green hills and stately trees, this destination is definitely worth checking out. Go for 'glamping' in one of their luxuriously outfitted and totally authentic safari tents. You'll be entirely at home with your own private deck, bed and bath linens, ensuite bathroom, and polished hardwood floors. At night you can relax around the campfire with a glass of wine, then enjoy your dinner at the on-site restaurant. A continental breakfast is available when you awake.
Added Advantages: An extensive lecture series is planned for the year, as is an after-dinner children's program (in the works for this summer). More than that … you get to listen to the 'nightlife' of the various animals that make Safari West their home.