Lean, mean and green. That could be the tag line for h2hotel, which opened last week in Healdsburg.
It’s lean: only 36 guest rooms on a postage stamp size property of 24,000 square feet about a block south of Healdsburg Plaza.
It’s mean – as in priced right for modern day thinner-wallets – with rooms starting at $195. While hardly bargain basement, that’s still a value for this chic enclave of high-end restaurants, boutiques and posh bed-and-breakfasts.
And it’s green: The hotel owners are striving for a LEED gold certification for the property’s construction of solar heating, a living roof planted in sod, an underground water cistern, and sustainable and recycled materials used throughout.
For what used to be a dilapidated gas station, it’s certainly an architectural coup, where designer David Baker’s sleek modern aesthetic meets wine country retreat. From the undulating roof planted in ultra-low-water-use succulents, to the balconies in scrolled Cor-Ten steel that weeps rust as it weathers, to the reclaimed gymnasium wood flooring that now occupies the hotel’s meeting space, this is high eco-style with a touch of funky Japanese wabi-sabi.
H2hotel charms as much for what it has, as it doesn’t. There’s no parking, for example. In this first hint of what hotel marketing director Circe Sher calls a “DIY” (do-it-yourself) mood, most amenities are self-serve, allowing guests to choose what luxuries they want to pay for. Valet is available, but frugal drivers will take advantage of the ample free street space nearby.
There are no mini-bars or room service, but there is a “stocking station” in the lobby, for custom treats like homemade chips and roasted nuts or full picnic meals. Rather than gouging guests for bottled water, each floor has an h20 bar, offering complimentary hot and cold water in sparkling or still, and ice. A bike rack holds high-end cycles for free loan.
Just don’t expect bare bones. This is the sister property to the luxury Hotel Healdsburg just up the street. So mere steps from the Foss Creek riparian area that runs directly behind the hotel is a solar heated lap pool. Elegant utilitarian rooms are done in bamboo floors and feature enormous bathrooms with heated floors and ofuros, bamboo-planted balconies or courtyard patios. At check-in, the clerk offers a fresh-brewed espresso from the zinc-acacia wood coffee bar next to the computers.
The lobby is a work of art to itself, as a tribute to urban-eco design, art and functionality in walls of board-form concrete, eclectic Christopher Loomis furniture, and a fireplace from artist/fabricator Leonidas Kyriakopoulos that looks like an arching sparked shock of wheat.
The space also hosts a full bar and sophisti-casual restaurant called Spoonbar, named for a spectacular fountain sculpture by artist Ned Kahn with thousands of espresso spoons that create moving water mosaics.
Here, chef Rudy Mihal (formerly of Gramercy Tavern, Cafe Boulud, Fiamma and Zuppa) sends out southern Mediterranean-inspired fare complemented by celebrity bartender Scott Beattie’s (Cyrus) luxe-cocktail “farm-to-glass” cocktails.
Lean? For this marvel of mixology, not hardly. The bar list spans nearly 30 pages, from California and Mediterranean wines, to spirits, to cocktails by the glass and pitcher that, while perhaps not green, are entirely, most deliciously mean.
Tip: Planning a visit to Healdsburg? Contact Pure Luxury, a certified “Green” ground transportation company, for your private chauffeuring during your stay. We provide round-trip airport service, and our concierge can even help you plan all your activities (we’re experts on the best Healdsburg wineries and destinations). Make it a glamorous “Green Getaway!”