Santa Rosa, a town located in the approximate vertical enter of the Sonoma Valley wine-growing region is – truth be told – not the most beautiful base for a wine country stay. It is, however, extremely convenient for exploring the valley, whether you want to visit off-the-beaten-path wineries in Dry Creek Valley, raft on the Russian River, shop the square in Healdsburg or wander further south in Sonoma. Fortunately, if you’re looking for that quintessential wine country stay with a secluded feel and view of the vineyards, there is one place that delivers just outside of town: The AAA Four-Diamond Vintners Inn.
Set on 92 acres five miles north of downtown Santa Rosa, the Vintners Inn is close enough to plenty of dining and drinking options, but far enough away to feel like you’re in the middle of wine country. Plus, the hotel offers everything you need onsite, so you don’t need to leave if you’d prefer not to.
The hotel grounds, while just off the side of Highway 101, are beautifully landscaped and surprisingly quiet. Rows and rows of vineyards and a high wall separate the property from the road. On the property, there are 44 rooms spread out in three, two-story buildings; a main lodge area with reception, a large breakfast room and small patio dining space; another large building that houses the John Ash and Co. restaurant and bar; a spa, small fitness room, and outdoor jacuzzi; a bocce ball court, and several meeting and event spaces.
Vineyards surround the property on all sides, threaded with a two-mile jogging path. On my morning run, my only company was the property’s herd of goats (fenced in a small enclosure) and a group of sheep clustered around the border of the neighboring farm. In the afternoon, I relished the opportunity to relax in the jacuzzi and sit on my balcony with a glass of wine, and I greatly appreciated that once I was back at the hotel, I didn’t need to leave. In addition to the onsite bar and restaurant, the hotel offers room service, including breakfast served on your room’s patio of balcony.
The 44 rooms at the hotel are decorated in a refined French Country style, with muted tones and floral accents. All feature iPod docks, minibars, King featherbeds with down bedding, patios or balconies, widescreen HDTVs with DVD players and CD players, free wifi, sofa beds, safes, fireplaces with wood, and marble bathrooms with jacuzzi tubs and separate showers.
While the hotel’s amenities encourage guests to linger on the property, the rooms invite guests to relax in their own private sanctuary. After a light bite in the bar one night, I spent the rest of the evening taking full advantage of the perks of my room; I drank my complimentary half-bottle of wine on my balcony, popped my iPod in the dock, raided the minibar, soaked in the rub and finished up the evening with the cookie provided at turn-down and a roaring fire in the fireplace.
The next morning, I could have remained in my room and ordered breakfast delivered, but I headed to the breakfast room instead for a massive breakfast sandwich with eggs, avocado, bacon – the perfect primer for a day of wine tasting nearby.
If you go:
Room rates start at around $200 on off-season weekdays and rise to $500 for weekends during high-season and holidays. On some weekends, a two-night minimum is required. Compare hotel rates at Hotels.com or Priceline.
The hotel is owned by Ferrari-Carano winery and guests receive free tasting there. Guests can also bring a bottle of Ferrari-Carano wine to dinner at John Ash and Co. at the hotel and receive free corkage.
Check-in is 4pm. Check-out is 12 p.m.
Children 6 and younger stay free (in parent’s room with no extra bedding); otherwise an extra guest incurs a $30 fee. Pets are not allowed.