Boutique Hotel with a Focus on Gourmet Food
Most boutique hotels don’t hire an executive chef to prepare their complimentary daily breakfast, but that’s exactly what Olea Hotel has done. Opened in the summer of 2012, the hotel brought on trained pastry chef Khambay Khamsyvoravong to concoct two-course plated breakfasts each morning and stock the buffet with fresh-squeezed juice, organic yogurt, and her housemade pastries. Khambay sources ingredients from the hotel’s own garden and local Sonoma County vendors, indicative of Olea Hotel’s broader commitment to sustainability and local commerce.
The hotel also has an outdoor hot tub, and staffers perform Swedish or hot-basalt-stone massages. In each luxurious hillside king or queen room, you’ll find a bathroom with a heated floor and an outdoor porch area; king rooms have a second patio area with picturesque views of the valley.
Sonoma Valley, California: Relaxed Wine Country and Majestic Redwoods
Located about an hour north of San Francisco, the Sonoma Valley is best known for its wine. The mild climate here allows winemakers to grow cool-weather varietals such as pinot noir and chardonnay. But the valley has a varied landscape; some areas are prime for growing hot-weather vines, too.
Follow 17 miles of country roads that connect the sleepy hamlet of Kenwood to the Carneros Appellation and you'll find more than 40 boutique wineries, most small and family-owned. Many are tucked amid oak forests and wildflower meadows. Compared to its neighbor Napa Valley (about 15 miles away), Sonoma feels a little more relaxed and remote: the wineries here are generally more secluded from one another than those in Napa, and tasting rooms tend to be less crowded, even on the weekends.
Even if you aren't visiting for the vineyards, Sonoma Valley's gentle climate and diverse natural landscape make it worth a visit. Hiking trails wind past redwood trees as high as skyscrapers, and popular excursions are canoeing on Russian River and sightseeing at the craggy Pacific coastline and its unspoiled beaches.