With a small-town atmosphere spread across acres of vineyards, Sonoma is a bit like modern-day Tuscany. The buildings aren’t as old and ancient vines not as widespread, but the cuisine and landscape beckon relaxation in the same way. At The Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn & Spa, refuge is true to Old World form—relaxation begins with a bathing ritual in mineral pools and ends in a tub filled with lavender.
One of the only spa resorts in the country with its own source of natural thermal mineral water, The Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn & Spa operates under the axiom, “Sanitas per Aquas”—healing through water. It was built in 1927 at the site of the Boyes Hot Springs. Today, 135-degree mineral water still flows beneath the Inn. This healing water is the focus of the Bathing Ritual, a self-paced relaxation process including an exfoliating shower; soaks in a 98-degree mineral pool and a 102-degree jetted pool; relaxation in the herbal steam room or dry sauna; and a cool-down shower. I allotted a much-needed half-hour to my bathing ritual, and afterward, couldn’t help but doze off on one of the spa’s comfortable lounge chairs.My facialist used a tempting ingredient to lure me out of my slumber: caviar. The Fairmont Sonoma’s Caviar Rejuvenation Facial involves a protein-rich marine mask and powerful antioxidants—it’s 50 minutes of bliss that result in renewed skin on the face, hands and décolleté. Who needs tray-passed caviar when you can have it massaged into your skin?
Of course, the best way to end a long weekend in Sonoma is in a bubble bath filled with lavender. The suites at The Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn & Spa are beautifully designed with fireplaces, private balconies or courtyards, and an inviting tub where you can soak all day long. For extra pampering, however, I would recommend the Sonoma Lavender Kur, a combination treatment that begins with a 20-minute soak in a bath infused with lavender and seaweed extracts. It’s followed by a botanical body wrap and a Swedish full-body massage—a treatment so relaxing and so romantic, it’s among the spa’s most popular services for couples.To begin planning your escape to The Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn & Spa, visit fairmont.com/sonoma.
AT A GLANCE
Location: 40 miles north of San Francisco
100 Boyes Blvd., Sonoma, CA 95476, 800.862.4945; fairmont.com/sonoma
Amenities: 40,000-square-foot facility; bath house; outdoor thermal mineral swimming pool; outdoor thermal mineral pools with Jacuzzi-style jets; dedicated Watsu pool, eucalyptus steam room; sauna; indoor lounge with fireplace; outdoor resting loggia; Spa Café; fitness center
Activities: Personalized fitness training; yoga and pilates; fitness assessment; nutritional assessment; guided hikes; morning bike tours; private tours
Must Try: Watsu massage; Sonoma Lavender Kur for couples; Chardonnay Olive Oil Sugar Scrub
Cuisine: Santé, the Inn’s signature restaurant, offers seasonal dishes and an extensive wine list. Spa Café offers healthy spa cuisine for poolside or loggia dining.