When you get away with your love, where do you go? I think Sonoma is the perfect weekend getaway sans kids. It’s also a great place to meet up with friends.
Beautiful vineyards and architecture, world renowned restaurants and of some of the best wine sets the stage to create unforgettable memories. Dave and I met our friends Jill and Greg (who flew in from Florida) here for 3 nights of eating, drinking and laughing.
Jill and I met on our first day of work in New York City when we were 22. We’ve been close friends ever since. I also worked at the same company as Jill’s husband Greg a few years later in Corporate Finance. I was around during the beginning of their relationship. And I was a bridesmaid in their wedding. Our friendship is life-long and we meet up every few years to catch up and spend quality time.
We decided to stay in Healdsburg, California due to its small town nature and proximity to the Russian River, Dry Creek and Alexander Valley wine producing regions. The town is centered on a 19th century plaza which houses great restaurants, shops and hotels.
Our Itinerary in Sonoma
- Meet up with Jill and Greg in San Francisco and drive to Sonoma
- Stop in at The Wurst for bratwurst sandwiches and ice cream
- Lodging: Hotel Les Mars in Healdsburg, California
- Dinner at Valette
- Car service for wineries to
- Chalk Hill
- Roth with picnic lunch
- Dinner at Scopa
- Wine Tasting at Jordan
- More bratwurst sandwiches and ice cream at The Wurst
- The French Laundry
- Breakfast at Downtown Bakery & Creamery
- Depart to Airport
This place is the bomb. It’s a gourmet hot dog, sausage, brat & hamburger joint with ice cream and beer.
We stopped in for a snack on Friday upon our arrival in Healdsburg and again on Sunday for an afternoon snack.
Hotel Les Mars
Hotel Le Mars (16 room hotel originally constructed in 2005) is in the center of town in Healdsburg, California. It is a Relais & Chateaux member luxury hotel. The hotel was acquired by William P. Foley and David Fink in 2010 and management was taken over by Fink’s Mirabel Hotel & Restaurant Group.
The hotel is small and quaint. The lobby has a few seating areas and feels like a large living room. There is no gym or swimming pool.
Adjacent to the hotel is a popular restaurant named Chalkboard, also owned by Foley. This hotel replaced 2 Michelin starred restaurant Cyrus a few years back after multiple lawsuits between the restaurant and Foley/Fink led to Cyrus vacating the space. We tried their pork belly biscuits as a happy hour snack and they were delicious.
A word about their “in room breakfasts.” I have a feeling the hotel breakfasts have gone down in quality over the years. We were given a choice of croissant, yogurt and apple crumble, juice and coffee per guest.
We made our choices on a breakfast card with time we wanted delivery for the next morning. I chose one of each item for Dave and I. What arrived were the smallest portions of food you can imagine. There was no bacon, probably 3 spoonfuls for each item and barely enough coffee to fill 2 cups!
Our bathroom had these stains on the marble, only around the toilet. Are they urine stains? I think they are. A 5 star hotel which charges over $600/night should not have ANY stains on the marble, right? I was turned off by this.
My conclusion about the hotel:
- They got us into The French Laundry for dinner, as open table had a cancellation when they went to check for us. We greatly appreciated this.
- We were not charged for the wine tastings at the three Foley wineries (Chalk Hill, Roth and Lancaster) since we were guests of the hotel (each tasting otherwise would have cost about $25 per person).
- We loved Tucker, one of the hotel staff who was very helpful in helping us with our reservations at the wineries and restaurants prior to our arrival.
- In general, the service was very good.
However, I think we might have been happier at Hotel Healdsburg due to the pool, gym, spa and larger breakfast options.
Dustin Valette and Aaron Garzini are two brothers who own this restaurant with Dustin as the chef and Aaron as the manager. Their dad was at the restaurant with wine in hand, greeting the guests and making small talk. You could see the pride on his face as he explained that he is the father of the owners. It was very charming and sweet and made us enjoy the restaurant even more.
Tour and Tasting Chalk Hill
Roth Winery – Lunch, Tour and Tasting
Lancaster Tour and Tasting
So are you hungry now? I got hungry while putting this post together. We had a great time in Sonoma and can’t wait to return again for another indulgent weekend. What were your favorite parts of Sonoma? If you love wine, check out my post on our Wine Tasting Bike Tour Through France.