When the COVID-19 pandemic put travel on pause, a number of hotels in Northern California’s wine country took advantage the best way they knew how — by forging forward with newbuilds and hotel renovations.
What is the result? The wine country of Northern California might be at its best, with repeat and new visitors reaping the rewards.
These are some of the new options that you should keep in mind.
New Hotel Properties in Northern California Wine Country
After four years of renovations, The George, a nine-room luxury boutique hotel, opened in March 2021. Originally built in 1891 as the residence of George Goodman Jr. (the son of a prominent Napa Valley businessman) the Queen Ann Victorian is now listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The original features, such as the chandeliers, braided-inlay hardwood floors, and woodworking on a grand staircase, were preserved. Modern touches include smart televisions and heated bathrooms floors. There are also original wavy lead windows and crown molding on the nine rooms. The historic inn is located in downtown Napa. It is just a short walk from Oxbow Public Market and the river.
Napa and Sonoma may be best known for wine, but luxury resorts have become a huge draw in recent years. Arguably the swankiest hotel in Sonoma County, the Montage Healdsburg features 130 bungalow-style guestrooms, a zero-edge pool overlooking the resort’s vineyards (tended to by internationally renowned winemaker Jesse Katz), as well as a family pool and an 11,500-square-foot spa. Montage Hotels & Resorts is the first resort to be built in Northern California. The Montage Healdsburg has a range of dining options on site. Hazel Hill, the hotel’s signature restaurant, serves a seasonal and locally-sourced menu.
A working farm and ranch, this eco-friendly resort offers clients the chance to schedule WimHof breathing experiences that culminate with ice baths — or lakeside sound therapy utilizing Tibetan song bowls — in between visits to Healdsburg, a popular wine-tasting spot. There are four bedrooms in Ranch Estate, as well as a bonus platform glamping tent. A minimum of six nights is required. Meanwhile, the two-bedroom, two-bathroom, solar-powered Barn provides an immersive farm experience for guests staying a minimum of 30 nights. The 123-acre biodynamic retreat also offers farm classes on composting and permaculture, plant-based cooking classes, tea-making and flower-arranging sessions.
Renovated Hotel Properties in Napa Valley Wine Country
Set on 3 acres overlooking the Napa River, Milliken Creek Inn received a head-to-toe redesign in spring 2021. No two of the inn’s 11 rooms are exactly alike. Many rooms have river views or balconies, while four others offer private fire pits. All have king-size beds and Bluetooth Tivoli speakers. Perhaps the most important thing that hasn’t changed is the breakfast. Milliken Inn delivers a delicious, complimentary breakfast right to your door.
Founded in 1952 by John “Doc” Wilkinson and his wife, Edy, the iconic Calistoga, resort just emerged from a multimillion-dollar renovation that updated its 50 rooms (including one room with its own Peloton bike), remodeled the spa and added a new restaurant with oodles of outdoor space. The resort’s outdoor geothermal minerals pools are enhanced by colorful murals that give guests more reasons to smile.
Renovated Hotel Properties in Sonoma County Wine Country
Built in 1957, the mid-century hotel in Santa Rosa has been lovingly modernized, but the ’50s charm remains. The multimillion-dollar renovation added fun nostalgic touches to the Flamingo’s 170 guestrooms and suites, such as mint-green Trimline telephones and a new poolside restaurant, Lazeaway Club. Spread across 10 acres, the resort also features a full-service health club and spa, cycling studio, five tennis courts and two pools.
After a $17 million, property-wide remodel, The Lodge at Sonoma joined Marriott International’s Autograph Collection. All 182 guestrooms, suites and cottage accommodations have been redesigned; some now offer private outdoor patios with soaking tubs and fireplaces. You can find tributes to the hotel’s backyard in its public spaces, including a massive tapestry that depicts Sonoma Plaza and photos of Mariano Guadalupe Vallejo (the founder of Sonoma). The property is also home to Chef Michael Mina’s first wine country restaurant, Wit & Wisdom.
Formerly known as the Applewood Inn, The Stavrand dates back to the 1920s. Located in the Russian River Valley, the nearly 6-acre property has just 21 guestrooms set among towering redwoods and fruit orchards that boast a variety of trees including fig, quince, apricot, pear and apple. Ralph “Rooster”, Belden, was the original owner of the property and planted most of the apple trees over a century ago. The pool is available for guests to use, as well as complimentary inner tubes and kayaks, and a dip in the nearby Russian River. Editor’s Note: The Stavrand will open in August. )
I’m Michelle, and I love to travel. As a former hotel expert for one of the world’s largest hotel chains, I’ve stayed in nearly every type of room imaginable (including many that were not so desirable!). Nowadays, I am fortunate enough to be able to explore the world on my own terms. From international flights to learning different languages, there is nothing too far out of reach!