Romance and spa guide
Romance is journey. We’re reminded of it every day. And like any long journey there are plenty of blank stretches with nothing but miles of open road. When you get to the destination, though, you know it.
We can all use a little more romance in our lives. And what that means might be different for every one of us—for some it’s a lost weekend at an indulgent spa, for others it’s a meandering hike in a remote place. Peppered throughout our spa guide we’ve suggested some of the things that might make your days and nights a little more romantic.
followed by wine and a lunch at the gazebo overlooking the Valley.”
– Ben Flajnik, winemaker at Evolve Winery and bachelor on his idea of a romantic day in Sonoma
Cottage Inn & Spa is a small inn with lots of charm that the late architect Robert Behrens developed from two older homes. Among the spa treatments available are a Swedish Aromatherapy Full Body Massage with essential oils (60 minutes - $125, 90 minutes - $150); Deep Tissue Aromatherapy Massage (60 minutes - $150, 90 minutes - $175); or Earth Hot Stone Treatment, a “grounding experience” in which heated stones help you “feel a connection to the earth arriving more centered and balanced afterward” (90 minutes - $175).
Other treatments incorporate the ancient science of Reflexology through pressure points on the feet, hands and ears with tropical body butter and hot towels; Reiki energy work through gentle touch techniques, either clothed or in conjunction with a soothing Swedish massage. The pièce de résistance, though, is a Cocoa Butter Bliss Body Wrap featuring an exfoliating massage to prepare your skin for the nourishing cocoa butter application, followed by wrapping you in a warm blanket with a scalp and foot massage (60 minutes, $125).
310 First St. E., Sonoma. 707.996.0719. cottageinnandspa.com.
Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn’s Willow Stream Spa is one of the Valley’s top destinations for pampering of all kinds. It offers a multitude of involved packages for all tastes, from an involved couples retreat to a Sommelier Apprentice package for those looking to become a wine pro, and others featuring everything from food to golf.
Spa packages are more than just a rubdown and some aromatherapy. Expect more. Much more. Like a guided morning hike, fitness training, private Pilates sessions, guided meditation and Tarot card reading (Energized People, $255); a choice of aromatherapy blend with foot soak, a wine and rose retreat, Thalasso Spirulina Kur, body energy alignment, or “tranqwillow” face and back experience (Nurturing Environment, $305); or go for the ultimate Authentic Experiences with a Sonoma Stone Massage, Wine Country Recovery, choice of revitalizing Kur and facial, as well as a choice of relaxation massage, a deep cleaning facial, hair and scalp revitalizer, or a choice of a manicure or pedicure. ($485).
Spa for adults 18 and over, appointments and reservations required. Book via spa concierge at 877.289.7354.
The Farmhouse Inn in Forestville, owned by fifth-generation farmers, winery and vineyard owners and brother and sister Joe and Catherine Bartolomei, has become one of Sonoma County’s most lauded inns and restaurants. Originally a farmhouse and barn, the Bartolomeis have turned their little complex near the Russian River into an attractive and elegant inn.
The Bartolomei Massage and Mini Facial uses hand-crafted products from nearby vineyards and farms including lavender butter incorporated into a massage and facial. (90 minutes, $200). The Warming Ginger Honey Massage uses both ginger and honey with a royal jelly facemask and beeswax treatment available (60 minutes - $140 to 90 minutes - $208).
“Gifts from the Vines” refers to exfoliation, body butter massage and mini facial that all use local vine products and a Russian River honey mask, rose geraniums and grape seed body butter (120 minutes, $275).
With Beyond Blissed the Bartolomeis bring in honey from their farm and local flowers and fruit to make creams and masks; the treatment ends with a full body exfoliation followed by your back covered with a massage of everything, including your scalp, toes and fingers (3 hours, $410).
Custom facials and many of the massages and bodywork options are available all over the property, from the Carriage House to in-suite or outdoors ($125 to $270).
Luxurious rooms in the old inn or new barn range from $345 to $895 a night.
7871 River Rd., Forestville. 707.887-3300. farmhouseinn.com
Flamingo Resort & Spa, with its pink neon spire long an icon in Santa Rosa, now offers its Montecito Heights Health club for overnight guests or members who access the facilities daily. Among the treatments are a soothing Vichy rainwater treatment, warming ginger body scrubs, European and clinical facials with ecologically balanced products, natural manicures and pedicures, Swedish, Deep Tissue, Sports, Shiatsu, Thai, Prenatal and Reflexology massages, and Myofascial and Reiki therapies.
You can get creative with spa offerings to create your own package or try some of theirs, such as The Perfect Day of a 50-minute classic massage, facial, pedicure and manicure (four hours - $250), or the “Body Balance” sports massage, classic body scrub, pedicure and facial (four hours - $310).
In a creative “Farm-to-Massage Table” approach, the The Garden Spa at MacArthur Place offers an unusual array of treatments based on the fruits, flower and herbs grown in the inn’s gardens. And yes, expect single varietal essential oils rather than blends.
You can try all sorts of massages, from aromatherapy to Couples Champagne & Roses and even a pregnancy massage ($118 to $125), plus many facial and waxing options.
Daily packages might include a 50-minute Coconut Sugar Body Scrub, Flower Power, Spa Radiance, a seductive Wine Country Romance for couples with body wrap or scrub, lunch and a spa gift, or A Day in the Garden with the spa’s signature treatment, a facial, lunch and a gift ($245 to $345). Signature treatments include the Golden Passion Flower Body Polish, Purley Pomegranate, Rose Petal Bath, Red Wine Grapeseed Bath, or ones with lavender, citrus, healing stones and garden mud, mineral baths, and the Adam, an energizing body treatment for men (all $225).
Accommodations available. 29 E. MacArthur, Sonoma. 707.938.2929 or 800.722.1866; macarthurplace.com.
Gaige House recently joined the Four Sisters Inns along the creek in Glen Ellen and within walking distance of some really fine Valley restaurants. Rooms and suites have a modern Asian flair in a green, almost woodsy setting with swimming pool, hot tub and spa loft. All guests get a complimentary luxurious and healthy full breakfast buffet and an afternoon wine and cheese reception. Gaige House also offers special rates in the winter and during the wintertime Sonoma Valley Olive Festival.
Massages are tailored to individual desires and needs to rejuvenate the sprit and body, with treatments in the spa loft or in your Zen Suite. Gaige House’s Swedish Massage features a 60-minute treatment of long, vertical strokes, available for singles and couples. (50 minutes - $120; 80 minutes - $170). Their Hot Stone Massage utilizes heated smooth, flat stones placed on key points on the body, possibly with the massage therapist holding the stones to massage certain areas of your body. (80 minutes - $195).
13540 Arnold Dr., Glen Ellen. 800.935.0237. gaige.com
Kenwood Inn & Spa oozes romance in an architectural design that combines a Mediterranean-style villa with Sonoma adobe nearly covered and dripping with ivy everywhere. Once on the grounds, you will find three lush courtyards with saline pools including fountains, ponds, beautiful flowers, and private entrances to each secluded room.
Kenwood Spa Packages include the Ti Amo (I love you) couples spa treatment with a romantic 80-minute candlelit side-by-side Swedish massage in your room or (weather permitting) on the spa terrace with a bottle of sparking wine on ice, and a gift of aphrodisiac expert Amy Reiley’s hot and saucy cookbook, “Romancing the Stove” ($390). The Kenwood Wine Country Signature treatment includes a bottle of sparkling wine and 50 minutes of therapeutic Wine Country massage and 50 minutes of Vinexpert treatment using organic products brimming with antioxidants from grapevine stalks and grapeseed oils ($275).
Men rarely get their own focus at spas, but Kenwood offers an exceptional Men’s De-stress Package to encourage men to “let it all go from head to toe with an 80-minute therapeutic Wine Country massage and a 50-minute gentleman’s facial ($310).
This spa puts some wine (or at least grapes) into its Wine Country massage treatments. The Terroir Treatment mixes an earth-based hot stone massage for 100 minutes, followed by a 50-minute vineyard-based facial using essential oils from grapevines and grape seeds ($330). Heart of the Valley treatment spans five hours of vinotherapy and includes lunch by the pool or in the restaurant, a crushed cabernet scrub, a honey wine wrap (using bee’s honey, not your sweetheart), therapeutic massage, and a vinexpert’s magic hands ($585). No televisions, no pets, and no one under 18 allowed.
10400 Sonoma Highway, Kenwood. 800.353.6966. kenwoodinn.com.
Osmosis Day Spa Sanctuary in the tiny community of Freestone is one of Sonoma County’s most highly regarded day spas. The property features Japanese gardens, rejuvenating Cedar Enzyme baths, massage and organic skin care. Tucked beneath redwood trees next to vineyards, Osmosis has been a giant favorite of international publications and travelers, as well as locals.
Try the Cedar Enzyme Bath, the only one available in North America, in which you immerse yourself in a bed of softly ground evergreens, which supports your body with a gentle penetrating heat. The heat is generated biologically by fermentation, and the bath boosts your metabolism and circulation, relaxes you and gives your skin a radiant glow. (1 1/2 hours, $85 for one person, two or more $75 each). The ever-popular Rejuvenation Package combines tea in the Japanese Zen garden, a cedar enzyme bath, and a 75-minute Swedish Esalen massage (2.5 hours - $195). Osmosis’ “Ultimate Experience Package” includes a half-day renewal of tea in the Japanese Zen garden, a cedar enzyme bath, and a 75-minute aromatherapy facial ($325 per person).
209 Bohemian Highway, Freestone. 707.823.8231. osmosis.com.
Raindance Spa at The Lodge at Sonoma Resort & Spa specializes in romantic retreats with spa packages such as its Renewal Package, including a cozy cottage room, a steam bath, fireside tea in the relaxation room or in a cabana, a $100 credit toward a spa treatment and breakfast for two in Carneros Restaurant (from $359). Other packages include Suite Romance with all of the above plus a 25-minute bath for a couple with a 50-minute massage ($355) or an 80-minute couples massage ($435).
1325 Broadway, Sonoma. 707.935.6600. thelodgeatsonoma.com.
Bubbles are always nice, but set the mood with this cocktail from the Girl & the Fig that’s as decadent as the great Italian director from which it takes its name.
From the Girl & the Fig in Sonoma
makes 2 cocktails
2 1/2 ounces Hellocello Limoncello
2 ounces blood orange purée
Prosecco or other sparkling wine
orange wedges or slices, for garnish
In a mixing glass filled with ice, combine the Hellocello Limoncello and blood orange purée.
Mix to chill. Strain the mixture into two champagne flutes, dividing equally. Top with well-chilled sparkling wine and garnish with an orange wedge or a slice.
When most people think of weddings in Wine Country, destination or no, images of the bride and groom surrounded by vines full of grapes most often come to mind. And sure, we’ve got plenty of that, but we’ve got much more as well.
This is it. The full vineyard Monty. Walk through the rows of wines, pet horses, feed each other grapes—the whole shebang. All in a stunning and elegant location in Glen Ellen.
Through Julie Atwoods Events, 707.935.0621, julieatwoodevents.com
High steel arches hung with thousands of tiny lights stretch across the antique-filled Studio Garden at BarnDiva with its centerpiece a 200-year-old orchard table. Wedding ceremonies are often performed on grassy clearing atop a stone wall in the adjacent garden space.
231 Center Street, Healdsburg, (707) 431-0100, barndiva.com
Situated in Carneros, with a backdrop of mountains, vineyards and golden light, the gardens and lawns at Cornerstone set a picture-perfect backdrop for nuptials. There’s also an elopement option if you’re in a hurry.
23570 Arnold Drive, Sonoma, 707.933.3010
The sunlight-drenched private courtyard at Ramekins Culinary retreat complex lends an air of sophistication. With the new “Plant Your Wedding” program the bride-and-groom-to-be plant a personal plot in the private Fifth Street Farm with all the vegetables that will be served to wedding guests.
450 West Spain Street, Sonoma, 707.933.0450, ramekins.com
Quarry Hill Botanical Garden
These lovely Asian botanical gardens, with multiple venues for weddings are” tranquil and exotic, like being in a faraway mountain retreat,” says event planner Julie Atwood, who will tailor the event to suite you.
12841 Sonoma Highway, Glen Ellen. Through Julie Atwoods Events, (707) 935-0621, julieatwoodevents.com
Destination for bath and body care, as well as massages, facials and body wraps.
19310 Sonoma Highway, 707.935.5855, bodykarma.biz
Catalina’s Skin and Body
Offers hair, skin and nail services as well as complete pre-wedding packages for brides and bridesmaids.
535 First Street West, Sonoma, 707.933.3860
One of the areas top hair salons, offers special bridal services for the big day.
156 East Napa Street, Sonoma, 707.935.0322, cheveuxsalonsonoma.com
Trouble Spots treatment aims at whatever you need, help for your neck and shoulders from tension or wok on your legs and hips in need of relief from hiking in Sonoma Valley’s beautiful hills and mountains. Extend the effects with a few minutes in the hot pool or sauna.
13540 Arnold Dr., Glen Ellen. 800.935.0237, gaige.com.
Koko’s of Sonoma
Treatments such as micro-current toning and lifting with Revitalight LED light therapy give skin a tighter, glowing appearance.
225 West Napa Street, Suite C, Sonoma, 707.933.9004, kokosofsonoma.com
On the Plaza in Sonoma with other locations throughout the area, offering the signature Hot Stone Envy treatment.
452 First Street East, Sonoma, 707.938.7404
Raindance Spa at The Lodge at Sonoma Resort & Spa
Basic massage experiences are 25 to 80 minutes; and couples massages of 80 minutes to 115 minutes are also available.
1325 Broadway, Sonoma. 707.935.6600. thelodgeatsonoma.com.
From the 2012 Winter issue of SONOMA