The quietly best-in-class hotels and B&Bs that locals and travel lovers crave.
Living in the Bay Area tends to mean working hard and leading a busy lifestyle, and that also means many here are looking for a place to unplug, unwind and connect with nature when they travel.
Luckily, you can drive in any direction and wind up somewhere with insanely gorgeous scenery which offers an escape from the hectic pace of life, plus all the accommodations you most enjoy.
If you’re looking for a place to be apart from the rest of the world, head north to 1 Glendeven Inn in Little River. Whatever you’re seeking — a foodie experience, horseback riding on the beach, kayaking, wine-tasting — you’ll find it all around this lovely stretch of Mendocino County. “There are so many different things to do that are experience-based,” says Glendeven owner John Dixon.
Glendeven has 10 rooms across four buildings — a set-up Dixon explains as a “luxury farm stay.” The property offers up a bounty of food and goods for guests: Enjoy honey from the bees, or socks, hats and other goods from the fiber of the resident llamas, or fresh eggs daily from more than 100 free-range chickens. There are even “localvore” dinners and a curated list of more than 50 wines from Mendocino County. If you prefer private dining experiences, be sure to catch the full, gourmet, in-room breakfast.
Glendeven is the perfect place to unplug: It’s surrounded on three sides by Van Damme State Park, offering plenty of opportunities to enjoy nature by strolling through the woods or down to the beach.
Glendeven’s sister property, The Inn at Cobbler’s Walk, is across the street at the trailhead that leads to the ocean bluffs. Visitors will soon have even more options, too, with the recent purchase of the adjacent property directly to the north of Glendeven, the site of the former Mendocino Inn and Spa. It will be renamed the Lodge at Glendeven, and rooms are expected to be available for booking late this summer.
Another location to relax and enjoy nature north of the Bay Area is 2 Calistoga Ranch, which sits in a private canyon on 157 acres in Napa Valley. The ranch embodies “indoor-outdoor living at its best,” General Manager Avi Haksar says. It’s all about options here: Guests can choose
from one- or two-bedroom lodges that boast decks, hot tubs, fireplaces and full kitchens. Activities on site range from hiking and biking to painting and photography classes or wellness classes such as guided meditation walks. 3 Post Ranch Inn provides its own kind of quietude in the heart of Big Sur: It doesn’t allow guests under age 18. There’s an atmosphere of rustic elegance, as managing partner Mike Freed describes it. Around one-third of the 40 rooms on 100 acres provide mountain views while the rest display ocean views. All reservations include complimentary breakfast, minibar and activities. Guests can enjoy features such as hiking trails, yoga classes and a large telescope on the deck for stargazing on clear Big Sur nights.
For the oenophile, Post Ranch Inn has one of the largest wine lists in the state from its Wine Spectator Grand Award-winning wine cellar, with more than 2,600 selections.
Just 30 minutes from the south entrance of Yosemite, 4 Chateau du Sureau offers the classic traditions of old-world Europe in a luxury, boutique resort. The 9,000-square-foot chateau feels intimate, counting only10 rooms. The European experience continues at the Spa de Sureau, which has a popular elderberry fusion facial.
Anyone that comes to Chateau du Sureau is also coming for the dining experience at the Elderberry House Restaurant, which focuses on local, seasonal and organic ingredients. 5 Casa Madrona Hotel and Spa in Sausalito offers a feeling of escape while still in the Bay Area. Nestled on a hill with a view of the San Francisco Bay, the property presents a range of experiences at the main mansion, built in 1885, as well as hillside cottages and more. While you’re there, dine on comfort food from Northern Italy at Poggio Trattoria.
If you’ve been to Casa Madrona before, there’s no better time than this fall to plan a return. Several enhancements, years in the making, are expected to be unveiled at the cottages and mansion, among other areas.
Describing the renovations, General Manager Carmen Cruz teases, “We have all the historic character but bring in the luxury and commodities of today.” A new wellness center (nothing trendier in 2018) is slated to open in the next few months, too.