The Sonoma Hotel

 There are two superb things about the location of the Sonoma Hotel: it’s right on the Plaza and it’s in the same charming 19th century building that houses the tremendous restaurant, The Girl and the Fig.

Another exceptional thing about the Sonoma Hotel: The hotel offers a B&B experience without the intrusiveness that can occasionally ruin an experience at a B&B. The staff are friendly and helpful, while also comfortably leaving you to your own devices.

The hotel’s furnishings evoke the history of the building, with numerous French country antiques that highlight the structure’s history without feeling overly precious. At the lovely stone fireplace in the lobby, you can enjoy a complimentary glass of wine before dining at one of the many great restaurants in Sonoma. Continental breakfast is also included.

Rates are also reasonable, making that another wonderfully exceptional thing about the Sonoma Hotel.  

For info, visit:

El Dorado

Located right on Sonoma Plaza, the El Dorado is in a historic building with mod-Mission interiors that will make the most devout style-loving city slicker feel right at home.

In addition to its great location, the hotel’s rooms are spacious, and are blessedly free of the antiques and frou-frou decor that can occasionally make people get that “grandma’s bedroom panic” feeling when staying at hotels or B&Bs in the Wine Country.

Whether you’re staying in the hotel or not, the lounge area with the nifty crystal fire feature is a good place to meet up with friends for a pre-dinner drink.

The El Dorado Kitchen also serves very good food, which can be enjoyed in the restaurant. The restaurant draws an impressive local crowd, which is a good sign in food and wine-focused Sonoma. The sunny patio’s also a fine place to enjoy the El Dorado Kitchen’s contemporary classic cuisine.  

Info on the hotel and the El Dorado Kitchen lives here:

El Pueblo

It’s frequently tough to find relatively affordable places to hang your hat in the Wine Country. Tougher anywhere to find a place with a lovely pool and hot tub that are open 24 hours a day.

El Pueblo is a place that’s both. You can still walk to Sonoma Plaza from here, yet it’s also conveniently located on the route out to the gorgeous Valley of the Moon. (And, should you desire to visit the other county that shall remain nameless, it’s just a short hop over there.)

El Pueblo has been very nicely redone (it may have been a motor lodge in a past incarnation), and the garden areas are very lovely. Even the roses in the parking lot are quite amazing, showcasing how well-tended the property is.

There’s a free continental breakfast included, but it’s always worth it to stroll down to Artisan Bakers’ outpost in Sonoma, which is just a door or two down as well. (Particularly useful if you decide to rent a bike and/or want to pack a picnic.)

El Pueblo is located at 896 W. Napa Street, and you can book online at

Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn

There are some places you sleep for a night, and other places that make you feel as if you’re living an exceptionally pleasant dream. The Fairmont’s Sonoma Mission Inn is one of those places.

The location is a perfect base for exploring Sonoma County. (And, if you feel like visiting that other county that shall remain nameless, it’s not far from there either.) 

The best part of the Sonoma Mission Inn is that it’s built over historic hot springs. There’s a warmish pool that kids and adults can both enjoy, but more important, there’s an adult retreat in the form of a top-notch spa. The spa is replete with 2 warm outdoor pools, an outdoor hot tub, and an amazing bath house with a bathing ritual that’s great for preparing for spa treatments or just winding down after a day of strenuous wine tasting.

Should you so desire, you can spend your days at the Sonoma Mission Inn on a variety of guided walks and bike rides, in exercise classes, or teeing off on a nearby course. Or, you can go farther afield, hiking and tasting your way around Sonoma County. The helpful concierge can help you make the most out of your time in Sonoma, whatever your interest.

When evening comes, there’s usually a tasting from local wineries in the lovely, historic lobby near the fireplace. Dinner at the hotel’s fabulous restaurant, Sante, is always exceptional, full of seasonal ingredients prepared in delightfully surprising ways.

After dinner, you can enjoy the company of your companions or other guests at the beautiful firepit over a drink. In Sonoma, the weather’s generally clear, so it’s a great place to bring a telescope or binoculars to stargaze near the fire.

When you’re celebrating something special, or just need to get away for a bit, book your room to start living your dream, even if it’s just for one night: In addition to booking online, be sure to call before you stay and request the seasonal activity schedule so that you can get the most out of your stay. This is particular useful when you visit during holidays as the hotel puts on special dinners and events that you won’t want to miss.