July 12, 2019 at 09:55AM by CWC
Located just an hour north of San Francisco and home to more than 100 premium wineries and award-winning olive producers, it’s no wonder Sonoma Valley sees millions of visitors every year. Same goes for its sister region, Napa Valley, where more than 400 wineries await. Together, the two valleys form part of California’s lauded wine country, an oenophile’s dream come true that has become nearly synonymous with “bachelorette party,” “honeymoon,” and “R&R escape.” And while food and drink are surely some of the area’s most prized offerings, there is still plenty for health enthusiasts to do, taste, and see—ensuring the weekend is met with equal parts wellness and wine. Here are some of the best ways to unwind and recharge in one of America’s most beloved destinations.
Where to Sleep
Situated directly on Sonoma Square, this luxe property was built by fifth generation Sonoma farmer and winemaker Steve Ledson, who also designed the Ledson Winery—a 16,000-square-foot “castle” located 14 miles from town. The hotel features six rooms (each one named for a different member of the Ledson), and while each 400-square-foot space has a personality of its own, they all share the same high caliber comforts, from imported glass chandeliers and wood-carved ceilings to plush oriental rugs and luxury bedding. After a long day of activities, curl up by the fireplace at lobby level Zina Lounge, or watch the sun set from the venue’s ample sidewalk seating.
This recently opened hotel is one of the newest properties in Napa Valley, bringing with it nearly 200 guest rooms and 40 balcony-wrapped suites. Head to the lobby level for a taste of the progressive menus from chef Charlie Palmer at Charlie Palmer Steak, where options like tuna tartare and spring lamb set a heightened tone for the stay. In the morning, check out the fitness center before slipping into the Rooftop Spa—an array of relaxing treatments are on offer that range anywhere from 30 to 120 minutes. For total body TLC, try the CBDeep, a deep tissue massage that incorporates CBD and arnica.
Built in 1870, this 25-room property is teeming with charm, while also showcasing plenty of modern creature comforts (think heated marble floors and indoor-outdoor fireplaces). Guests can build a s’more over the poolside fire pit before retreating to the room, where jet tubs and steam showers await. Consider it a preview of what’s to come at the spa, where each treatment starts with a tranquility shot and ends with a seasonal shrub made by the Farmhouse kitchen (Michelin-starred, no less). Opt for the Body Melt, a 90-minute, head-to-toe treatment incorporating an herbal mix of alfalfa, lavender, and chamomile.
Where to Sweat
The only thing better than exploring the wineries and restaurants of Sonoma and Napa? Doing so via bicycle, and breaking a sweat (known here as “grape glow”) in the process. Thankfully, Sonoma Adventures has both fronts covered with a variety of guided and self-guided bike and Segway tours throughout the region, which include stops at wineries, restaurants, and a local cheese factory (complete with a behind-the-scenes tour).
In case your fitness regimen requires plenty of air conditioning, head indoors to this locally loved gym. In addition to a full range of weights and cardio equipment, the venue offers a wide selection of energy-boosting classes, from cycling and kickboxing to TRX and kettlebells.
Where to Fuel
It’s easy to feel like a local upon entering Cafe La Haye, a 34-seat restaurant in the heart of Sonoma that has been serving the area’s local community for more than 20 years. Organic and hyper local ingredients inform chef Jeffrey Lloyd’s menu, a collection of American bistro classics like Coke Farm beets with quinoa and a little gem salad with green goddess dressing. Even dessert packs in some nutrients—spring for the seasonal fruit sorbet or fruit crisp.
Ever since founder Sondra Bernstein opened The Girl & The Fig in 1997, it has been gaining devotion from the community and around the globe for its farm fresh takes on Provencal cuisine. Those seeking a mini booze break can take it here with any of the bar’s refreshing mocktails (e.g., virgin Pimm’s Cups) before diving into good-for-you fare, from heirloom radishes and grilled asparagus to a variety of vegetable-loaded salads.
Come for the wine at Compline, a cozy restaurant in Napa where master sommelier Matt Stamp and partner Ryan Stetins curate a constantly changing list of bottles from their own backyard and around the globe alike. Stay, then, for the fare, a medley of flavor-packed plates from chef Chef Yancy Windsperger that boast a healthy twist: wild king salmon with bok choy and shiitake mushrooms, lemon pepper chicken with green rice and asparagus, and couscous salad with kohlrabi and endive, to name a few.
Where to Swirl
Born in Côtes de Provence to a family known for producing some of the highest quality rosé in the region, Julien Fayard knew from an early age that he wanted to bring the winemaking techniques of France to American soil. In 2007, he and wife Elan launched a rosé blend of Sierra Foothill syrah and grenache that the team intends to be enjoyed at any time of year and in any environment. Just one of those settings is The Green Room, a chic, cozy tasting room where guests are invited to kick back, taste limited production wines, and speak with the winemakers to learn more about their unmistakably French philosophies.
Of the belief that the experience is as important as the wines themselves, the team at Pangloss Cellars is all about an approachable and welcoming wine tasting environment. As such, expect to be met with A-grade hospitality at their tasting room, a cavernous, 117-year old historic building on the old town square in Sonoma that fills up on the nightly. Winemaker Erich Bradley takes an Old World, minimalistic approach in the production process, using hand-picked grapes and open-top fermenters to result in small batch wines that reflect Mother Nature’s best work. Don’t miss the Cabernet Sauvignon Mountain Moon District, a full-bodied offering that’s barrel-aged in natural rock caves for an ultra-complex finish.
Between its high levels of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties, olive oil packs a wealth of health benefits. Learn about them while tasting several different varieties at Figone, a Sonoma Valley manufacturer that has been producing some of the area’s finest olive oils for more than 30 years. Owners Frank and Christy Figone join guests to show them how to properly smell, sip, and pair their carefully crafted products, which include punchy flavors like Persian lime, blood orange, and sun-dried tomato.