Napa Valley sights

The Best of Napa Valley
Local Wally's Guide to Napa Wine Country

Nothing kicks off a romantic weekend in Sonoma better than a top notch resort and spa. With delicious on-site restaurants and immaculate service, you won't even mind that these big buck resorts are best friends with your credit card.

And if you'd rather save some bucks and go with a standard hotel, my picks offer more than just a clean bed. Remember, to get my recommendation it must be good enough that I'd stay there - and I'm very picky!

fairmont sonoma mission inn

100 Boyes Boulevard, Sonoma, CA 95476 (map)

OVERVIEW: A historic hotel with lots of charm and character. The Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn is one of the more prestigious properties in Sonoma and my number one place to stay!

WHAT'S COOL: Full 18 hole golf course and spa, terrific lobby with cozy chairs by the fireplace, Michelin star restaurant on site.

BEST FOR: Romantic couples, honeymoons and special occasions, those who appreciate good service but not stuffy ambiance.

LOCATION: Around 9 miles north of the main Sonoma Plaza. Close to the wineries with great local restaurants nearby.



lodge at sonoma renassance resort and spa


1325 Broadway, Sonoma, CA 95476 (map)

OVERVIEW: Part of the Marriott family of high end resorts with 182 recently refreshed guest rooms, many with fireplaces, balconies, and deep soaking tub. Behind the main building are romantic cottages with balconies or patios.

WHAT'S COOL: Full service spa, great pool, everything you'd expect in a newer resort. Complimentary shuttle to the plaza, decent restaurants on site, fire pits outside for those cooler nights.

BEST FOR: Those who love their resorts and spas nice and updated. More personality than a cookie cutter Marriott, the Lodge at Sonoma Renassance Resort is a solid pick for a top resort.

LOCATION: About a mile south of the main Sonoma Plaza.


macarthur place

29 East MacArthur Street, Sonoma, CA 95442 (map)

OVERVIEW: MacArthur Place is a luxurious 64 room resort and spa just 4 blocks from Sonoma Plaza. Lush gardens, private cottages, first class setting.

WHAT'S COOL: Complimentary continental breakfast buffet in the morning, wine and cheese in the afternoon. Landscaping nothing short of stunning. Great heated pool, perfect for relaxing at the end of the day. Saddles, the onsite restaurant, features some of the best steaks in town.

BEST FOR: Romantic getaways, travelers who appreciate the best.

LOCATION: Around 4 blocks to the main Sonoma Plaza.



inn at sonoma, four sisters inn


630 Broadway, Sonoma, CA 95476 (map)

OVERVIEW: Four Sisters Inns always do a great job and the Inn at Sonoma is no exception. All 19 rooms feature a fireplace, some have patios, furnishings are modern and contemporary. Read my full review of the Inn at Sonoma.

WHAT'S COOL: Complimentary hot breakfast, wine and cheese in the afternoon, and cookies all day. Grab a bike and go explore the plaza area, just 2 blocks away, and soak in the hot tub at night.

BEST FOR: Those who like the idea of an "inn" but have a fear of Grandma's doilies and Hummel collection will love this place. The Inn at Sonoma keeps the charm but updates the inn experience. Great rates, too!

LOCATION: Walk to the plaza, walk to dinner, great location!


ledson hotel

480 1st Street East, Sonoma, CA 95476 (map)

OVERVIEW: For the Marie Antoinette in you, the Ledson Hotel offers Old World decadence in this 6 room hotel. European luxury.

WHAT'S COOL: Breakfast (continental) in bed for everyone. You don't like it? Off with your head! Wine and cheese in the afternoon.

BEST FOR: Well heeled romantics, those who want to pretend to be royalty, anyone who appreciates European styling and historic hotels.

LOCATION: Right in the Sonoma Plaza square, rooms in front have the view of the activities and those in back, while quieter, have views of the parking lot.



best western sonoma valley inn


550 2nd Street West, Sonoma, CA 95476 (map)

OVERVIEW: Not your typical Best Western! Great location, update furnishings, but still at a decent price. You want more than just a clean bed when you come to Sonoma, stay at the Best Western Sonoma Valley Inn.

WHAT'S COOL: Fireplaces in the rooms, free washer and dryers for after you spill that glass or red wine on your shirt. Nice courtyard and pool, free (but basic) breakfast.

BEST FOR: Those on a tighter budget but who don't want to stay in a roach hotel. Not honeymoon quality unless you want to go straight to divorce court, but for a weekend getaway it's works just fine.

LOCATION: About a block to the main Sonoma Plaza and restaurants.


carneros inn

4048 Carneros Highway, Napa, CA 94559 (map)

OVERVIEW: Crazy bungalows that look like Jimmy Carter Habitat Houses on the outside but are cool and trendy on the inside.

WHAT'S COOL: The Carneros Inn is unlike any resort you have ever stayed in, it's almost like a little town in itself with the rows of cottages, the full service spa and the incredible restaurants. Surrounded by pastures and rolling hills, it's 5 star unbelievable.

BEST FOR: Couples wanting a luxuriously romantic experience.

LOCATION: Off to itself in the Carneros area, about halfway between Sonoma and Napa.



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Wally News

2015: Sonoma is growing up fast and quickly becoming more than a day trip from Napa. The days of free wine are almost gone but you can live in the past with my new partner, Priority Wine Pass.

Get your card for $40 with promo code "localwally". Good for a year, the card pays for itself in the first hour.

Napa Valley Home and Garden

Don't forget to visit Napa Valley Home and Garden, my online store that brings Napa and Sonoma farmhouse living to your house. No junk, my interior decorator wife spent tons of time finding cool stuff. Check it out!

Want even more Sonoma info? Search out hotel and restaurant reviews via my TripAdvisor links, compare rates, even book the best deal there. Nice, very nice.

Don't miss my other guides! Napa Valley / San Diego / San Diego Brewery Guide / Maui's Best Vacation Guide