Eco-Friendly Hotels in Sonoma
When I was in Healdsburg, California for the Epicurean Winter Event way back in March, I stayed at two hotels under the same umbrella — h2hotel and Hotel Healdsburg, both along Healdsburg Avenue, which border the bustling Healdsburg Square, home to a number of great restaurants, shops, art galleries and wine tasting rooms.
Although they both tout eco ‘living’, h2hotel demonstrates this more significantly with their simple and stark design – think Scandinavian influenced to get a visual flavor of the place. From an undulating roof alive with succulents to ripples on the creek, the hotel aims to root itself in nature. The hotel is built to LEED Gold green building certification, and from the wood floors and white bare walls to the organic products in the bathroom, they strive for an eco-friendly atmosphere.
My favorite part of the hotel is the lobby, which feels a bit like a chic-but-I’m-not-the-big-city-W, topped with sustainability trimmings.
Add to that the fact that there’s dining to the left of the reception area, tables lining ceiling foot tall windows and a cool flame on the other side of the reception, it creates a fun, eclectic experience.
Hotel Healdsburg is more upscale and the ambiance combines old world with modern, slick design throughout the property. The difference is that Healdsburg has more warmth and color in the lobby, hallways and rooms. My room was a soft sage green and while the sheets and duvet were white, they had a bright orange throw blanket on the bottom of the bed.
The bathtubs are deep, the showers powerful and like h2hotel, they carry organic lotions, shampoos, body wash and conditioner. I really enjoyed the plush cotton white robes and the oak colored shades that made the room feel crisp, clean and spa-like. The hallways were wide and estate-like, yet the whole property’s design is modern and stark with light colors.
Hotel Healdsburg is a better option if you want a romantic weekend getaway or take your family away – kids or parents. They offer a full service spa, pool, country gardens, and it is attached to Charlie Palmer's Dry Creek Kitchen.
View of the pool and gardens from my room:
Hotel Healdsburg also has a terrific spa with a wide range of services, including massage, facials, body wraps and polishes. The menu includes:
- Meyer lemon sage massage
- Meyer lemon sage purifying body polish
- Meyer lemon sage herbal wrap
- Cyclist deep relief massage
- Swedish massage
- Combination massage
- Deep tissue massage
- Wellness massage
- Spicy Thai warm-up experience
- Lavender peppermint restorative massage
- Hot stone massage
- Four hands massage
- Shiatsu massage
- Thai massage
- Wine and honey wrap
- Seaweed gel wrap
I love sage, seaweed and lavender so it was a hard decision between the three of them. The meyer lemon sage massage uses Stellaflora Biodynamic essential oils of lemon sage body milk and locally produced olive oil designed to rejuvenate and relieve tension. You can go with the same ingredients for a body ‘polish,’ which includes exfoliation.
While the lavender massage sounded incredibly relaxing, I opted for the Spicy Thai massage which is great for muscle relief, particularly muscles with inflammation or those prone to far too many hours in front of a computer. The Thai inspired massage includes lemongrass, ginger and clove body milk. Warm, spiced Thai herbal compresses are used in the massage to soothe tight muscles, exfoliate skin and promote a sense of well being — these are very hot compresses and a welcome retreat in between tissue work. They also give them to you when you leave so you can get a few more uses out of them.
Afterwards, be sure to jump in their outside hot tub which is set up against a wall covered in twigs creatively displayed. Beyond the iron doors is the pool surrounded by trees, giving you the feeling of pure nature, as if you are at a far away retreat, beyond the town of Healdsburg.
Disclosure: I was hosted by the Healdsburg Chamber of Commerce to visit a handful of restaurants & hotels however all opinions expressed here are my own and honestly reported.