Sonoma is a place of delightful contradictions.
The land, for example, is vast. Yet its communities are so tight knit that they feel like small towns.
And then there are the people. There are millionaires. And there are farmers. Heck, there are even millionaire farmers, yet everyone is warm and welcoming, understanding they are stewards of one of the world’s special places.
One of our favorite contradictions in the region is the Mediterranean-inspired Kenwood Inn & Spa.
A luxury resort by all accounts, lauded by the likes of Conde Nast Traveler, Kenwood Inn & Spa is sprawled across two-and-a-half acres of lush gardens with views of nearby vineyards in all directions. Yet, it is small by hotel standards, featuring just 29 guestrooms and suites, each tucked away into its own enclave to make its guests feel like they are the only people on earth.
Of particular note is the 750-sq.-ft. Tuscany Suite, which has its own private staircase and entrance that reminds me (in a cool way!) of the chic apartments on Melrose Place. Upon entering, there are two lavish sitting areas – one by a dreamy gas fireplace and the other by an entertainment center – as well as a door to the upstairs patio, which will make you feel like you are in a Nancy Meyers’ movie (Google it!). The patio overlooks the pool and its cabanas as well as a water fountain and vineyards in the distance. At night, the glowing lights strung across the hotel dance along the patio and meander across the property, allowing for one of the most romantic and dramatic-yet-intimate views in the region. There is, of course, also a full bedroom with king-sized bed, a walk-in closet and a bathroom about the size an apartment. (Insider tip: Don’t be surprised to be gifted bottles of wine and little treats during your stay, often with them just appearing in the room as if by magic.)
The pool area offers another paradox. There are neither swim-up bars nor lazy rivers as some resorts boast. Instead, there are two pools, with the primary being at the center of the property and small, three-ft. warming pool on the south side of the property.
But, do not mistake simplicity for basic, as the pool experiences at Kenwood are anything but. The primary pool offers a daily cabana experience for an added charge, which provides access to a semi-private alcove with plush lounge chairs, pillows and a poolside attendant at the ready with towels, a premium bottle of sparkling wine for your party and a charcuterie plate for noshing as well as regular bottled water and soft drinks. Oh, and that is just the first of the experiences offered poolside. For those celebrating something special or just feeling fancy, there is also a poolside retreat, which is a private indoor-outdoor lounge with its own fireplace, as well as a spa terrace experience, which is located on the top floor of the spa and overlooks the pool area. There, indulge in a lavender or CBD bath in total privacy before or after heading for a dip.
Another of the most delightful contradictions on property is the culinary program. That is because there is no formal sit-down restaurant at Kenwood. In its place is a commercial kitchen. It allows the staff to prepare a wine and cheese (and fresh-baked cookies!) tasting each afternoon as well as an extravagant breakfast daily, which may be delivered to your room or set up along tree-lined dining terrace complete with tranquil water fountain and ample vibrant flowers. (Both dining experiences are complimentary.) The kitchen also serves as home base for the many specialty dinners that Kenwood hosts in partnership with nearby vintners and Executive Chef LeeAnn Geneve. During these five-course culinary evenings to remember, Chef Geneve will personally visit each table to share his inspiration for each seasonally focused dish, as will a member of the partner winery, who will delight in telling behind-the-scenes stories about the vineyard as well as tasting notes for the evening’s paired wines.
And finally, there is the spa. A bespoke experience if there ever was one, each of the primary massage treatments is customized to your wants, needs and body. Even what may appear from brochures and on the web as standard massages take the whole person into account and are modified to maximize your goal, be it pain relief, relaxation or a Zen-out sesh.
For more on Kenwood Inn & Spa, visit www.kenwoodinn.com.