1. Auberge du Soleil, Rutherford
If you’re looking for a place to propose to your sweetie, why not present that sparkling ring while you lounge by the pool, sipping sparkling wine – the pool itself sparkles with a pebble-sheen floor inlaid with Italian mosaic tiles and glistening mother-of-pearl. Intimacy is the signature of this breathtaking resort, with just 50 guestrooms tucked in adobe structures amid the hilly landscape of woods, vineyards and olive trees. Cozy up in front of your fireplace, enjoy your complimentary wine and snacks offered on check-in, and be sure to make a reservation at the award-winning on-site Auberge du Soleil restaurant.
Details: 180 Rutherford Hill Road, Rutherford, 707-963-1211, aubergedusoleil.com.
2. DuChamp Hotel, Healdsburg
It feels like your own private retreat, with just six luxurious, contemporary cottages nestled amid a grove of fifty-year-old olive trees, accented by an oasis of private terraces, pool and gardens. And because the look is contemporary European after the style of the French artist Marcel DuChamp, your significant other will feel significantly special, as if he or she has been whisked away to another continent. But all you need to do is glance out the window – the hotel is actually on the grounds of DuChamp Estate Winery, just two blocks off Healdsburg’s main plaza. In keeping with the art theme, metal-roofed villas are named Warhol, Man Ray, Picasso and Miro, and the works of each master influence the respective villa’s décor. Start the day with a complimentary European-style breakfast, and end with a relaxing soak in the Jacuzzi followed by a glass of wine in front of your en-suite fireplace.
Details: 421 Foss Street, Healdsburg, 707-431-1300, duchamphotel.com.
3. La Residence, Napa
Seclusion, my love – you’ll find it here, amid just 26 spacious guest rooms and suites scattered across two acres of oak-, redwood- and pine-studded property. This elegant escape is owned by vintners Craig and Kathryn Hall, who took over in 2006 and updated landmarks such as the historic Mansion centerpiece building, which dates from 1870. Savor the views and enjoy complimentary breakfast on the private verandas, and mingle with other guests for the complimentary wine and cheese reception on the main terrace each evening. Or, you may choose to never leave your room, furnished with antiques, down-filled duvets, plush robes, and wood-burning fireplaces.
Details: 4066 Howard Lane, Napa, 707-253-0337, laresidence.com.
4. Gaige House, Glen Ellen
It’s part bed and breakfast, part luxury resort. With just 23 graceful Asian inspired guestrooms and suites plus eight new “Zen” suites featuring granite soaking tubs and private Japanese gardens perfect for en-suite spa treatments, you’ll feel like you’ve escaped to a private oasis. The B&B part comes in the personal, attentive service and the complimentary, three-course breakfast served every morning, plus the homestyle amenities like creekside hammocks. The resort aspect floods through the stunning rooms that look like they’ve been plucked from a style magazine, done in simple whites and creams accented by rich wood furniture and bamboo and rattan accents.
Details: 13540 Arnold Drive, Glen Ellen, 707-935-0237, gaige.com.
5. Les Mars Hotel, Healdsburg
Want to impress that special someone? It’s hard for jaws not to drop just upon entering the opulent, European lobby (it shares an entry with the posh Cyrus restaurant). And sophisticated money is the mood here – rooms can command more than $1,000 – with suites decorated in tasteful antiques from the 18th and 19th centuries, and anchored by fireplaces. There are sixteen rooms over two floors, each uniquely furnished, and the modern world amenities like TVs and radios are tastefully tucked away within Louis XV armoires or leather bound books. Staff is quiet and unobtrusive, but oh-so-attentive, and before you even think of it, your draped four-poster bed will have its luxurious Italian linens turned down, and that book you requested from the library downstairs will be waiting on your nightstand.
Details: 27 North Street, Healdsburg, 707-433-4211, lesmarshotel.com.
6. Kenwood Inn & Spa, Kenwood
This is truly one of Sonoma County’s best-kept secrets. It’s tucked in an unlikely place – most of us have only seen it as a tiny Mediterranean-style property on the edge of Highway 12 and have little idea what it is. Yet it’s a lavish 29-room resort, with a luxurious spa, multiple pools and hot tubs, and even a private, 35-seat restaurant that is open only to Inn guests. Each room is different, yet all are posh palace retreats, from the fireplace sitting area, to the castle-like ambience of polished concrete floors and plaster walls set with iron framed windows, to the baths that are nearly large enough to live in. Breakfast is included (as one might hope, since a Tuscany-style suite can go for $800 per night). And it is a remarkable meal, from a private chef who crafts fanciful chilaquiles; Cajun-spiced jambalaya with sausage and bacon topped with chive-mascarpone scrambled eggs; or creamy soft polenta topped with poached eggs, applewood smoked bacon and red pepper coulis.
Details: 10400 Sonoma Highway, Kenwood, 707-833-1293, kenwoodinn.com.
7. Farmhouse Inn and Restaurant, Forestville
If the typical farmer actually lived this well, we would all be farmers. This rural property is a ravishing mix of gorgeous guest rooms, a restaurant fed by farm-fresh food, and a seasonally inspired spa. Yet the owners, siblings Catherine and Joe Bartolomei, come from fifth generation farmers, so that counts. Recently, the property underwent an expansion and redesign of the circa-1870 hideaway, where, amid the towering redwoods of the Russian River Valley, crews added eight new guest rooms housed in an elegant new “barn,” refreshed the Inn’s original ten guest rooms, and brightened the Michelin-starred restaurant that fronts the property. Baths are gussied with large jetted tubs and saunas or steam showers, morning starts with full breakfast and fresh flowers in your room, and in the afternoon, you can take wine tasting classes with Sonoma County’s only Master Sommelier, then move on to homemade cookies and milk.
Details: 7871 River Road, Forestville, 707-887-3300, farmhouseinn.com.
8. The Inn On First
For a modern romance, this contemporary bed and breakfast offers a philosophy of catering to all guests, be they straight, gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender. Owners Jim Gunther and Jamie Cherry make each stay a lavish experience, with remarkable amenities drawing from Jim’s cooking background (he graduated from the California Culinary Academy) and Jamie’s unparalleled décor skills. Ten mansion rooms and garden suites are bestowed with aptly romantic names, such as “First Crush,” and “Sweet Reserve” and enjoy sumptuous views of lush landscaping, two-person whirlpool tubs, luxurious robes and fireplaces. The crowning touch: no children are allowed, and several rooms are pet friendly.
Details: 1938 1st Street, Napa, 866-253-1331, theinnonfirst.com.
9. The Cottages of Napa Valley, Napa
Tucked on the edge of Yountville are eight master suite cottages that range from cozy (600 square feet) to cozier (450 square feet) – all the better to snuggle with your someone. Just a few amenities include indoor and outdoor fireplaces, full concierge service, and daily breakfast featuring pastries from Thomas Keller’s Bouchon Bakery. More than a frou-frou fantasy escape, this is relaxed Napa style, with shared gardens and activities like croquet.
Details: 1012 Darms Lane, Napa, 707-252-7810, napacottages.com.
10. Madrona Manor, Healdsburg
For locals, Madrona may be better known for its Michelin-star executive chef Jesse Mallgren and his exquisite restaurant. Yet the historic 1881 Victorian mansion which houses the restaurant is also an Inn, lovingly restored by Manor owners Bill and Trudi Konrad. The eight acres of meticulously landscaped gardens and wooded grounds are home to 18 rooms/suites with fireplaces, and some with large balconies or decks. Take your gourmet buffet breakfast in the estate parlor, if you can draw yourself away from your room outfitted in stately antique furniture worthy of a royal family, pillow-top mattresses and feather-soft linens.
Details: 1001 Westside Road, Healdsburg, 800-258-4003, madronamanor.com.
Tip: Make it a romantic weekend to remember, and reserve a limo or town car for your perfect getaway. Pure Luxury Transportation can even outfit your car with flowers, wine, and chocolates.