After a day of wine tasting in California’s Sonoma Valley, sometimes you just want to relax with no agenda and nowhere to go; at least, that’s how I felt when I walked into the Lodge at Sonoma after a stressful week. I didn’t want to have to go anywhere else, worry about driving, or make any hard decisions. Thankfully, I soon realized, I didn’t have to. Staying at the Lodge at Sonoma Renaissance Resort & Spa meant being completely pampered from the moment I walked in, just in time for the evening wine-tasting reception.
After a few tastes of wine, I went to check out my cottage room. The hotel offers 178 rooms and 4 suites, but thanks to lush landscaping and individual 2-story buildings that house all the rooms, it feels much smaller and more intimate. In fact, while walking around the grounds I rarely saw the other guests. My room had a king bed, a small sitting room with sofabed and chair, an armoire with a mini fridge and flat-screen TV, a gas fireplace, and a large marble bathroom with a huge tub with shutters that opened to the main room. Each room also comes with a complimentary half-bottle of wine.
In addition to the guest rooms, the hotel has a large pool with dozens of sun chairs and cabanas (some of which have nearby firepits for use after the sun sets) and a small whirlpool. There’s a fitness center and the Raindance spa, as well as two dining options and event space frequently used for weddings (including the night of my stay).
The Lodge at Sonoma is just a short walk (about 15 minutes) or even shorter drive to the downtown Sonoma square, but for those who don’t want to drive, there’s a free on-call shuttle that will ferry guests from the hotel to the square and back. Though I didn’t use the service I talked to other guests who did take advantage of the perk and said the service was flawless.
Before dinner, I made my way to one of the Lodge’s two dining options, the Bean and Bottle cafe. Offering breakfast, coffee, light bites, and happy hour drinks, the cafe is set just off the lobby and offers a wide range of wines, along with a well-curated collection of artisanal spirits from local purveyors like Hello Cello and Prohibition Spirits (where hotel guests also receive priority for tour bookings; the hotel can arrange), Charbay, and St. Georges Spirits.
My stay was part of a special packages that included both the Hello Cello tour and an in-depth tasting at the Bean and Bottle Bar. Over samples of whisky, rum, bourbon and even absinthe, I learned more about Sonoma spirits producers than I could have imagined. Who knew wine country did so much more?
After my tasting, I decided to forgo the shuttle to the Sonoma square and dine at the hotel’s restaurant, the Carneros Bistro, putting myself in the hands of Chef Andrew Wilson and top sommelier Christoper Sawyer. The wine list at the Carneros Bistro features more than 400 bottles; rather than try to choose I asked Christopher to create pairings that would compliment the food. Wines are available by the full or half bottle, and by the full glass or a half-glass taste, which meant I could try several wines without drinking too much. My husband and I shared a light salad of grilled octopus and saffron potatoes, a sinfully creamy butternut squash soup, a blue cheese wedge salad that paired absolutely perfectly with a pinor noir, and finally, an espresso spice rubbed hangar steak in a cabernet sauce.
The next I had one more indulgence, breakfast in bed. Guests who hang their order on their door the night before (or call to order that morning) can enjoy breakfast room service at the time of their choosing. My eggs benedict and my husband’s fluffy pancakes were delicious, perhaps even more so eaten in the comfort of our bed in front of a flickering fire.
If you go:
I was a guest of the Lodge at Sonoma Renaissance Resort & Spa but all opinions are my own.