Still, we are yearning to escape as the world continues to rattle us with daily pandemic updates. Our clients are headed to Europe from September onward, private yachts and villas make the Journey feel significantly safer. I’m plotting Morocco, Madrid, and Paris in autumn. Benjamin will relish La Dolce Vita on an Italian Grand Tour – including two nights at the famed chef Massimo Bottura’s Casa Maria Luigia in the Emilian countryside. We connect in France for a Parisian Thanksgiving, how splendid is that?!
To satisfy the escape cravings, we are re-discovering boutique hotels in the wine country – there are lovely avenues for satisfying the urge to meander. Small towns near the vineyards offer downtown properties delivering a distinct advantage in summer heat. I favor weekday, rather than weekend escapes, my recent midweek stay at Hotel Healdsburg was a delightful reminder of why parking the car and walking everywhere is such a delight. We did mosey out of town a bit for a private wine tasting and scrumptious lunch, a driver assured no tipsy travelers traversing the trails!
Not far north of San Francisco, Hotel Healdsburg is in the heart of the Sonoma wine country. The Hotel has a spa, a lovely sixty-foot pool and Jacuzzi, flanked by sun-shaded chaise lounges, set in a garden of olive and fig trees, boxwood, hydrangea, and roses. A pool bar offers chilled drinks and dining service during the summer months. Shark Laps (swim as if sharks are trailing your toes), and avenue rambling will burn off the multiple meal calories! Check in, wander the idyllic town plaza for retail therapy, there are several delightful bookstores, with comfy chairs for flipping through the pages, such a treat! Try a new restaurant for lunch, mosey back for a snooze at the pool or in your comfy room. Hotel concierge can assist with outdoor activities: adventure through Sonoma County with a bike tour, hot air balloon ride, hike, horseback ride or with a canoe or kayak along the Russian River. Late afternoon, meander the boutiques or take a nearby hike, run through vineyards, and meet for cocktails at a cozy bar then discover another innovative foodie emporium – no driving required! Who said you can’t stay in town and luxuriate?! It’s small and intimate in the hamlet.
The Hotel is set on the edge of Healdsburg’s historic town plaza, enjoy some of the world’s finest vineyards, restaurants, and shops mere feet from front steps. Worth getting out of bed for: when we make your room reservations, happy to supply my list of favorite retail therapy boutiques! Also, we have an inside track with Blue Rock Vineyard and Winery for private lunch and tastings at the beautiful property. The Farmhouse Inn, 15 minutes away in Forestville is a favorite of Healdsburg foodies for its fresh seasonal ingredients. One of the most well-known restaurants ever, Single Thread Farms, is within walking distance. The numbers: 19 wine-tasting rooms, 26 restaurants, 60 shops and galleries all within walking distance! Including the only Hand Fan Museum in the country. Sip and skip responsibly!
Beautifully appointed guest rooms, clean stylistic interiors, surrounded by country gardens. All rooms feature to drown in, six-foot bathtubs, generous beds, French doors opening onto private balconies and oak floors covered with Tibetan rugs.
Dining is a highlight of the Hotel where guests can savor Sonoma County’s bounty of extraordinary wines and fresh seasonal ingredients at Super Chef Charlie Palmer’s Dry Creek Kitchen. Mosey downstairs to the complimentary breakfast bar for a yummy selection of fruits, pastries, house-made granola, and delicious black coffee.This is an occasion when I have enjoyed the pandemic mask protocols, caftan is always in my bag, mask up, don the big sunglasses and one won’t be recognized if you need coffee in bed, as I do before you present the party face! I must share that the hotel had the MOST gracious staff, when you travel with a gaggle of girls, you might imagine there are needs; one staff woman knew our desires before we asked, she was ready to stash or deliver every bag that appeared from a shopping foray, cases of wine – she was truly a gem!
We gathered on my vine covered balcony for a nightcap, you can count on balmy warm evenings in Healdsburg. Ring me for Hotel Healdsburg reservations, of course, they adore our clients!
Hotel Healdsburg is a member of Design Hotels. Succumb to the notion of pressing pause, park the car, stroll the charming little hamlets…it’s wonderful downtown!