In the big city of Santa Rosa, you’ll find all the familiar chain motels you can imagine. You’ll also see a few charming inns and upper-tier hotels that show off the unique aspects of the city that divides the Bay Area from true Northern California.
The Sandman Motel (3421 Cleveland Ave., 707/544-8570, www.sonoma.com/lodging/sandman, $90–135) offers clean, comfortable motel rooms for pleasantly reasonable prices. The guest rooms are decorated in a standard motel style, with dark carpets and floral bedspreads. Amenities include a big heated swimming pool, outdoor whirlpool tub (heated year-round), coffee and continental breakfast in the lobby each morning, and in-room refrigerators and satellite TVs. The Sandman is a great place to bring the family.
At the corner of Historic Railroad Square, Hotel la Rose (308 Wilson St., 800/527-6738, www.hotellarose.com, $110–300) exemplifies the luxury hotel concept as it has evolved over 100 years. The stone-clad main building rises high over Railroad Square, with more rooms available in the more modern carriage house just across the street. Because Hotel la Rose has only 47 guest rooms, you’ll see an attention to detail and level of service that’s missing in the larger motels and hotels in the area.
The carriage house offers modern decor and amenities, and each large room and suite feels light and bright. In the Main Building, you’ll find an older style of elegance, with antique furniture and floral wallpaper appealing to guests who want a taste of what the hotel might have been like back in 1907. A quick trip downstairs takes you to the breakfast room, where you’ll get your complimentary continental breakfast each morning, and across to Josef’s—one of the finest restaurants in the city.
At the north end of Santa Rosa, convenient to the major Russian River wine roads, you can stay at the lovely upscale Vintners Inn (4350 Barnes Rd., 800/421-2584, http://vintnersinn.com, $225–500). The low, attractive red-tiled-roof buildings that comprise the inn and the fabulous John Ash & Co. restaurant sit adjacent to a large stretch of vineyard. Every room has a king-sized bed, fluffy down bedding, and patio or balcony overlooking a cute gardenlike courtyard. Many rooms boast fireplaces and spa tubs, and all feature luxurious appointments.
Your stay includes a full breakfast each morning, plus access to the inn’s outdoor whirlpool tub and the common den with fireplace. The only downside to the Vintners Inn is its regrettable proximity to a local power station, so just try to look in the other direction when you’re admiring the view.
© Liz Hamill Scott from Moon California, 2nd Edition