Wellness at the Vintners Inn

Vintners Inn

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Wellness at the Vintners Inn

'Most people who come to the Vintners Inn arrive happy, we just help them to get happier,' said Michael Cook, manager of John Ash and Co. Restaurant. After sampling some of the abundant gifts of the Inn recently, I couldn't help but agree.

Vineyard views? Check. Gourmet dining and world-class wine list? Check. Spa services that leave you wanting more? Check.

Add in elegant rooms, top-notch service and gorgeous event facilities and Vintner's Inn begins to rack up the stars in my 'resorts to remember' file.

As a die-hard fan of Sonoma County, I always assess properties on how 'Sonoma' they are. I knew right away that the Vintner's Inn had some of that good old Sonoma magic when my fiancée and I happened to arrive on the night of the monthly KJSY 'Jazzy After Work' concert series. Picture a bubbling stone fountain in the midst of lush green lawns. All kinds of people, young, old and in between, are seated picnic style, eating, drinking and soaking in the summer heat. A wood oven on the patio turns out the pizza, wine and beer are being poured and the live jazz band is pumping with Buster Poindexter's song 'Hot, hot, hot.'

Sitting down with our food and drinks, my guy and I laugh in appreciation when we notice an exuberant conga line begin to form on the dance floor. Taking it all in, I can feel the heart of Sonoma County beating strong on this warm summer solstice night.

The good times continued to roll as we enjoyed a dinner at the Inn's award winning John Ash and Co. restaurant. With a wine list named one of the 'world's best' by Wine Spectator magazine and a menu featuring an abundance of Sonoma County favorites, we knew we were in for a treat.

After ordering our meal, we sipped champagne while gazing out at gorgeous views of vineyards and roses, wondering if our visit could possibly get any more classically Wine Country than what we'd already experienced.

We were about to find out as our meal arrived with an abundant array of Sonoma County goodness on the plates in the form of seasonal, locally sourced ingredients.

Appetizers of duck confit with beets and Dungeness crab with papaya salad were artfully arranged and whetted our appetite for the entrees, which included venison loin with whipped parsnips and divers' scallops on a bed of heirloom tomatoes.

The venison was beautifully prepared and the accompanying parsnips were light and airy, providing a perfect accompaniment to the rich venison loin. Too full to continue, we ended up taking dessert to go. Fortunately, my key lime cheesecake made the transition from dining room to hotel room just fine and was much appreciated the next day as a post breakfast treat.

The overall design of Vintner's Inn has many unique touches that make it stand out from the crowd. In particular I loved the central staircase that led up to our room from the downstairs foyer. Decorated with a beautiful antique bureau and rustic Sonoma-inspired art work, the foyer also offers a cart with complementary tea and coffee, creating a welcoming hub for guests to enjoy.

After a night enjoying our fireplace room with its spacious oval tub and private patio overlooking the Inn's gardens, I was looking forward to my morning massage appointment at the spa cottage conveniently located across the courtyard from our room.

My therapist, Jyoti, did not disappoint. In keeping with the Vintners Inn overall trend, she made what could have been a generic cookie-cutter spa massage a more personalized and memorable experience.

Many spas these days incorporate hot towels into their basic massage sessions, but few do it with such skill and creativity. Jyoti didn't just place a hot towel on my back after massaging, she placed a rolled up towel along the center of my spine and used the weight and pressure of the towel to continue to massage. Only then did she unroll the still hot towel completely, using the towel to warm my whole back.

She also used hot towels interspersed throughout the massage to massage my feet, chest, and face. While I have enjoyed hot towels incorporated into a massage before, I fear I'm now spoiled after experiencing the deluxe towel treatment at the Vintner's Inn.

The massage room itself has an aesthetic that combines European flair with classic Sonoma-style decor. Spacious and welcoming, it looks out onto the central room courtyard, which features a bubbling fountain, benches and carefully groomed gardens.

I've heard rumors that a full spa facility is on the way at the Vintner's Inn and can only imagine how this will improve on an already superior spa experience at this already superior Sonoma Wine Country destination spot.

As the man said at the beginning, we were pretty happy when we first arrived, but after a night at the Vintners Inn, we really did leave feeling even happier.

Details: Vintners Inn/John Ash & Company, 4350 Barnes Road, Santa Rosa.

Find more info on Spas & Wellness and Lodging in Sonoma County.