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Unwinding In Wine Country
Jeanne Cooper | Photo: Courtesy of Sonoma County Tourism | May 7, 2019
Newly plush oases invite exploration from Napa Valley to the Sonoma coast.
Balmy weather and blooming grapevines in wine country herald spring, the perfect time to bask at one of the region’s several newly—and stylishly—renovated inns.
Carneros Resort and Spa
At southern Napa’s upscale semiresidential enclave (also known as a discreet getaway for Hollywood celebrities), the 94 cottages and suites now boast a fresh farm-chic look, thanks to renovations by Oakland’s Nina Chiappa Interiors.
New rustic-finished wood furniture, blackened iron lighting and gray-toned wood flooring are brightened by botanical-patterned fabric tapestry and gold, green, blue and teal accents to the pale cream palette. In most cottages, floor-to-ceiling glass bifold doors open onto private terraces with gas fire pits, dining tables and chaise lounges. At night, guests can now request miniprojectors or telescopes for backyard movie-watching or stargazing.
For sampling nearby viticulture, Edward Costa, the resort’s managing director, recommends Artesa Vineyards & Winery and Domaine Carneros. The former “houses beautiful art and is known for its pinot noir-dedicated vineyard and small-batch wines,” he says, while the latter “is a wonderful place for visitors who enjoy sparkling wine.” Book the Wine and Away package (two nights from $18,900) and enjoy round-trip private jet transport to Napa, plus lodgings in one of the resort’s private homes and special spa and dining experiences. Cottages from $550 weeknight, suites from $900, residences from $1,260, 4048 Sonoma Highway, 707.299.4900
Sia and Ashish Patel, former tech marketers who met at Salesforce, didn’t plan the recently completed 10-month renovation of Olea Hotel, their 15-room boutique inn in Sonoma Valley’s Glen Ellen. After buying it in 2011, the couple spent 18 months gutting and remodeling the hillside hotel, built in 1900, and the transformation earned numerous accolades. But the wildfires of October 2017 forced their hand after claiming a fourth of the property. As part of the rebuild, Natasha Stocker of Santa Rosa’s Inspired Spaces helped redesign the interiors. The latest incarnation is “sort of midcentury-modern luxe, but really more luxurious and comfortable, with natural tones that kind of incorporate our surroundings, the olive trees and the oak trees,” says Sia.
Key updates include cognac leather sofas, metallic grass-cloth wallcoverings and gleaming midcentury light fixtures. Stocker’s original artwork, plus cheery pillows and side chairs, add splashes of color to the neutral palette, with nail-hung air plants and metallic leather macrame wall hangings adding homey appeal.
One luxurious element remains the same: executive chef Khambay Porterkhamsy’s lavish seasonal breakfast menu. Once fortified, guests should seek out nearby Benziger Family Winery to learn about biodynamic farming “on a cool tractor-tour,” Sia says, or head to B. Wise Vineyards for a private tour of its estate cave—“amazing wines and beautiful views,” she says. King rooms from $309, 5131 Warm Springs Road, 707.996.5131
Bodega Bay Lodge
Sonoma County’s rugged coastline may not immediately come to mind when considering a wine country getaway, but its sunny hillsides swaddled in fog provide a haven for wineries, as well as an exceptionally scenic setting for hiking and outdoor pursuits.
Within a 30-minute drive of Bodega Bay Lodge are a number of family-owned wineries specializing in pinot noir, chardonnay and sparkling wine. Among the lodge staff’s favorite Russian River Valley recommendations are Hartford Family Winery in Forestville and Fog Crest Vineyard in Sebastopol.
Sonoma County accounts for 100 percent of the wine list at the lodge’s newly renovated Drakes Fireside Lounge, which added three large ocean-view fire pits and a bar made from a 300-year-old elm. Eight Sonoma beers on draft also complement the lunch and dinner bar menu by new executive chef Kristian Markland, who further emphasizes locally sourced produce and proteins in his adjacent Drakes Sonoma Coast restaurant.
The spacious Ocean Club Whirlpool Suites, which debuted in 2017, offers the most indulgence of the lodge’s 265 rooms and suites, spread across 7 acres. Admire a panoramic view of the sunset over the Pacific by the fireplace, or soak in the whirlpool tub large enough for two. Ocean Club Whirlpool Suites from $359, 103 Coast Highway 1, Bodega Bay, 707.875.3525
Originally published in the April/May issue of Silicon Valley