Three families are traveling to California’s Sonoma Valley: one from San Francisco, one from New York, and one from Vancouver.
No, this isn’t the setup for some kind of bar joke. It was our holiday travel challenge — to find a hotel where six old friends, assembling from across North America with our assorted kids ranging in age from 11 to 25, could stay and play.
Thanks to diligent research by our San Francisco buddies (yes, sometimes even travel writers need a break from travel planning), we ended up at the H2 Hotel in Healdsburg, California, a cool, contemporary boutique hotel with plenty to do in the heart of Sonoma Wine Country, about a 90-minute drive north of the Bay area.
Here’s the scoop:
The H2 Hotel is located in a LEED-certified “green” building with an undulating roof, one block from the main square in Healdsburg, a touristy but cute Sonoma town. You can easily walk from the hotel to plenty of restaurants, wine bars, and shops, including two independent bookstores; The Shed, a fun foodie shop with kitchen gadgets, a café, even a fermentation bar; and The Noble Folk, a storefront selling deliciously exotic ice cream and homemade pie (where we only went twice in one day…).
From our H2 base, our diverse group of travelers could go exploring, eating, and drinking, without having to get in the car. Score one for the H2 Hotel.
Guest Rooms and Amenities
The 36 guest rooms, on floors 2-4 of the H2 Hotel, are all sleek, minimalist, and modern, from the bamboo floors to the simple white duvets atop the king-sized beds.
Reading lamps and electrical outlets next to the bed are handy, as is the complimentary Wi-Fi that worked well throughout the property. Rooms have the expected flat-screen TVs, iPod docking stations, and small safes.
If you need to work, you can settle into the comfortable chair at the clean-lined desk with its uber-cool and efficient task light.
A mini-fridge under the desk is convenient for chilling your wine or snacks. It’s stocked with two bottles: one containing still water, the other with sparkling water. You can refill both from dispensers in the hall and in the lobby — a nice amenity.
Our room had a terrace, sheltered by the surrounding trees; some rooms have smaller balconies instead.
Inside, you can perch on the woven lounge chairs to read one of the hotel-supplied magazines, including the experiential travel mag, Afar, along with local publications offering tips on things to see and do in the area.
Bathrooms are large and modern, with spacious walk-in showers. Bath products come from the spa at the H2’s sister property, Hotel Healdsburg.
Restaurant and Bar
Our group hung out in the lobby, with its vibrantly patterned, sink-into-me couches, and over the complimentary breakfast in Spoonbar, the hotel’s restaurant and lounge. The ample morning buffet included pastries, bagels, breakfast, yogurt, granola, smoked salmon, bacon, apples, and oranges, plus coffee, tea, and juice. You could also request an omelet or other egg dishes, cooked to order.
In the evenings, we lingered at the popular bar, which had a lengthy cocktail list and local wines by the glass.
Hotel Facilities and Activities
While it was a bit chilly for a dip in the courtyard pool during our December stay, it looked like a lovely spot to swim on a warmer day.
We did take advantage of the hotel bicycles, available free to guests for up to three hours. We followed the hotel’s recommended 12-mile cycling route past nearby vineyards and wineries, just right for a leisurely morning ride.
We also sampled the Ashtanga yoga class, complimentary for guests, that’s offered on weekend mornings. Even the 11-year-old enjoyed the wake-up workout.
Double room rates at the H2 Hotel start at $209/night, including breakfast and Wi-Fi. Parking (valet only) is $15/day.
So how was our holiday challenge? Three families traveled to California’s Sonoma Valley, and at the cool, contemporary H2 Hotel in Healdsburg, we all had a great trip.
Looking for more lodging options in California Wine Country? Check out these reviews by fellow Hotel-Scoop writers.