AAA Four-Diamond Mediterranean-Style Bed and Breakfast with Gourmet Cuisine
The European-style Sonoma Coast Villa & Spa, located one hour south of California’s wine country, is focused entirely on romance. Tucked away on a quiet country road, the AAA four-diamond rated hotel sits on 60 acres of rolling pastures, terraced gardens, and walkways lined with wildflowers. When they’re not serving delicious homemade dinners, the innkeepers here can arrange private horseback rides and spa treatments onsite. However, the add-ons included in these getaways may tempt you to retreat to your guest room for the duration of your stay, spending nights drinking wine by a wood-burning fireplace, dining on chocolates, partaking in couples massages, or sipping a bottle of Cristal.
Austrian-born innkeeper Johannes Zachbauer is passionate about food and wine. Every day, he prepares fine gourmet meals using Pacific fresh seafood and vegetables plucked from the hotel’s organic gardens. Each getaway includes a multi-course dinner for two; dishes include garlic shrimp or grilled pork chop with pinot noir pineapple chutney, all served in the poolside dining room. The staff can also deliver à la carte meals to your front door, and set your table for an intimate fireside feast. A thoughtful wine list accompanies the menu, and afternoon tastings showcase Sonoma Valley’s red and white varietals. In the morning, a decadent breakfast buffet overflows with homemade treats, such as sugar-dusted danishes and spinach frittatas.
Junior suites and deluxe villa rooms set the stage for a romantic evening with wood-burning fireplaces and cardboard cutouts of Barry White. You’ll find a jetted tub or marble walk-in shower in the spacious bathroom, as well as Italian slate floors enhanced with radiant heating. A network of stone walkways connects guest rooms to the hotel’s other facilities, which include an indoor jacuzzi and The Courtyard Spa. The spa specializes in massage treatments, such as the 75-minute couples massage included in some of the getaways.
Bodega Bay, California: Rugged Beaches and Whale Watching near Sonoma Valley Wineries
Bodega Bay is located on the southern end of the Sonoma Coast, about an hour south of California’s wine country. Stretching along the Pacific Ocean, the Sonoma Coast State Beaches—such as Salmon Creek—are ideal for strolling, fishing, and spotting a variety of unusual birds. One of the best views of the rugged seascape can be found at Bodega Head, a craggy beachfront cliff located 9 miles from the hotel. This coastal region also produces some of the tastiest oysters on the Pacific Coast. A half-hour drive down the coastal highway will take you to Tomales Bay Oyster Company, where locals slurp down the raw shellfish at waterside picnic tables.
Considered the birthplace of the California wine industry, Sonoma Valley is home to more than 300 wineries. A seemingly endless patchwork of vineyards is set against a backdrop of mountain ranges, creating a magical setting for sampling some of the best wines in the world. At B.R. Cohn Winery, a hillside estate owned by the former manager of the Doobie Brothers, sample pours of cabernet to the tune of a rock ‘n’ roll soundtrack. Or taste bold zinfandels at Ravenswood Winery, whose motto is “no wimpy wines.”
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