Eco-Chic, $$$ (From $249)
Redwood trees, tranquil rivers, farm-to-table dining, world-renowned wines — there’s nowhere that embodies California as exquisitely as Sonoma County. The area has had a rough go of it recently due to wildfires, but, despite these setbacks, tourism is still flourishing, especially in quaint towns like Healdsburg, where visitors are an integral slice of the community. I made my way up here recently for a wine sustainability boot camp to learn about the region's goal make 100 percent of its wineries certifiably sustainable. (They’re currently at an impressive 99 percent). During my time in this idyllic city — time I spent questioning why on earth I moved from California to New York five years ago — I stayed at H2Hotel.
As the name suggests, the property boasts myriad environmentally friendly features, amenities, and initiatives, like an undulating living roof that is landscaped with luscious greens. The LEED-certified hotel attracts a planet-minded crowd, which makes it an ideal base for travelers who are committed to sustainable travel and to great wine.
Rates begin at $249 for low-season midweek and go up to $649 during high-season weekends Click here to inquire about reservations. Or get in touch with the Fathom Travel Concierge, and we can plan your trip for you.
Healdsburg Avenue is lined with bijoux wine-tasting rooms, charming shops and eateries, and H2Hotel. Convenient proximity to these local destinations, as well as to Sonoma County’s prime wine growing regions (Russian River Valley, Dry Creek Valley, Alexander Valley), makes the hotel a well-situated hub for a wine tasting weekend.
The rooms nod to sustainable minimalism, with elements like bamboo floors and glass walk-in showers. The more eccentric lobby looks like what you might find in your great aunt’s backyard garden (including the Ned Kahn installation at the entrance, featuring 2000 steel spoons activated by water trickling over them).
This Place Is Perfect For
Those who appreciate nature, fresh food, and delicious wine. Also, because of the recent fires, visiting Sonoma County is an effective way to help rebuild and support local winemakers and farmers.
But Not So Perfect For
A family vacation. Yes, there are activities in Sonoma County that don’t involve wine, but the tourists in town are probably there for the pinot noirs. If you have kids in tow, consider heading south toward Monterey and its iconic aquarium.
What's on Site
The Spa at Hotel Healdsburg, located just up the street and affiliated with H2Hotel, is where you’d go for a massage or facial fix. They have six treatment rooms and offer access to a swimming pool nestled in an olive grove (very Sonoma). If you don't want to leave the premises, H2Hotel has a solar-heated, creekside pool and complimentary yoga classes in the Green Room on Sundays. You can also take advantage of their free, three-hour bike rental to explore the surroundings.
Food + Drink
The free daily breakfast for guests includes juices, fresh fruit, baked goods, cereals, and egg dishes. It was tasty and got the job done, but wasn't life-changing by any means.
The onsite bar and restaurant Spoonbar serves fresh California cuisine. The thoughtful cocktail menu incorporates local and domestic spirits and organic herbs, fruits, and vegetables (farm-to-bar cocktails, as it were). Don't miss the happy hour, Mondays through Sundays, from 5 to 6:30 p.m.
Number of Rooms
36 guest rooms, including 28 standard rooms, six junior suites, and two suites.
Though simplistic in design, the rooms offer all necessary amenities: iPod docks, organic Coyuchi linens and robes, glass walk-in showers, flat-screen TV with DVD player, balconies or patios with outdoor seating, all-natural bath products, reusable glass carafes to use at water bars located on each floor, and art commissioned from Bay Area artist Kathi Aoki.
There’s no room service, which, for a room service junkie like myself, was mildly disappointing.
The private patio was a game changer. It overlooks a quiet courtyard and is a perfect way to unwind at the end of the day with a cup of tea and a good book.
Campo Fina is a local favorite for lunch — the saffron risotto balls are, unsurprisingly, heavenly. If you're still feeling hungry after that, hop over to Noble Folk Ice Cream & Pie Bar for the best scoop you've had in a long time.
In general, though, the main drag of Healdsburg is pleasantly walkable, and I'd suggest meandering, stopping at any of the tasting rooms, boutiques, bookstores, and restaurants that strike your fancy.
What to Do Nearby
Healdsburg is where fine dining and the great outdoors intersect. Grab a bike and follow one of the loops suggested by the hotel to check out the surrounding towns and countryside. (Or just cycle from winery to winery.) Several miles of hiking trails surround the city, if you’re feeling adventurous and want a more rigorous sweat.
And, of course, the wine. As previously mentioned, Dry Creek Valley, Alexander Valley, and Russian River Valley are the three prominent winemaking regions near Healdsburg, so you should prioritize tasting from these.
Plan Your Trip
How to Get There
The closest airport — Sonoma County Airport — is only a few minutes away, but the major airports you'll most likely be flying into (Oakland, Sacramento, and San Francisco) are less than a couple hours away. If you're going that route, you'll want to rent a car. H2Hotel offers complimentary overnight valet parking.