Secluded Boutique Resort in Northern California Wine Country
The Stevenswood Spa Resort is hidden deep within a redwood forest on a sprawling 12-acre estate. The towering trees establish a sense of tranquility and add a nice counterpoint to the B&B's modern architecture. There is no cell-phone service and not a traffic light in sight, which encourages guests to curl up and read a book or lounge in one of the mineral-infused spas tucked into the woods. But in spite of its secluded setting, Stevenswood Spa Resort boasts a Zagat-rated restaurant and an eco-friendly spa—luxuries that have led to Four Diamond awards from AAA for each of the past 21 years.
The resort's co-owner is also a cofounder of the Mendocino 100-Mile Initiative, an organization committed to sourcing locally, and the intimate, 14-table Restaurant at Stevenswood, which uses organic, sustainable ingredients to craft entrees including certified Angus grass-fed beef medallions. Diners can select a pairing from an impressive collection of California wines. The hotel's "SoHo-style" wine bar—which contains the copper-top bar from the set of the movie Rent—hosts complimentary tastings of the lodge's private-label olive oils.
Non-ocean-view guest rooms, including grand suites and queen demi-suites, offer views of the surrounding meadows, canyons, and forests. The contemporary rooms feature microfiber furniture and plasma TVs, as well as wood-burning fireplaces that emit smoke silhouettes of teddy bears. Couples massages take place in massage rooms, and they are accompanied by chilled champagne or sparkling wine. You can also unwind in the Indigo Eco|Spa's whirlpools or infrared sauna.
Mendocino County, California: Pacific Coastline and Redwood Forests
Mendocino was chosen as the shooting location for the TV series Murder, She Wrote—the show was actually set in Maine—because of its resemblance to a cozy New England hamlet, right down to the coastal bluffs dotted with whitewashed cottages. Mendocino is also famous for being an artists' enclave. Two miles from the hotel, in the charming downtown center, you can check out local artwork at a dozen or so galleries. There are a handful of state parks throughout the region, but nearby Mendocino Headlands State Park offers the best chance to catch glimpses of sea otters and harbor seals. Stevenswood owner Michael Webster also recommends that travelers check out the Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens, where you can peer into fern-fringed canyons and walk along flower-covered bluffs.
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