01 / 2022 | by: Maxim

On a recent trip to investigate Sonoma wine country–more on that coming soon—we found ourselves with the inevitable, unenviable task of making travel arrangements to facilitate our visit. This involved, initially, flying into San Francisco for one night, and rather than choosing the easiest option, we decided to make it a memorable one.


Sonoma is well-known for, of course, for world-class wine; but also farm-to-table cuisine as well as the various farms, cheesemongers and the like who supply the ingredients. And the town itself is a charming mélange of historic buildings, great bars, bakeries, restaurants, shops, and a perfectly-preserved 1930s theater, where we of course had to take in a showing of The French Dispatch.


Located a block away from historic Sonoma plaza, the Mediterranean-meets-Mission-style Cottage Inn & Spa is a tranquil place to establish your wine country HQ, with nine suites as well as a small but excellent spa. Some of the suites have gas fireplaces, and a bottle of local pinot noir and an amazing cheese and charcuterie plate greeted our arrival. Olive trees shade the property and its interior courtyard with a fountain and firepit was inspired by Santorini..


Architect Robert Behrans built and designed it in the 1990s, but it feels like timeless, thanks to the materials and decor. The North Suite is the property’s largest at 820 square feet, and features a cathedral ceiling with a skylight, a gourmet kitchen, wine fridge, gas fireplace, private patio, and a California King bed.


The Alta Suite on the second floor, the most luxurious offering, is 750 square feet and boasts picture-perfect views of the mountains, a double jacuzzi, soaring ceilings, and a gas fireplace.  Wood, leather and natural stone set the tone for this elegant retreat.


And the Inn’s Calm Spa, also open to non-hotel guests, is not to be missed. The day spa offers seven different by-appointment massage treatments, including Swedish aromatherapy, deep tissue (our pick), and reflexology. As the Inn’s Insta puts it, Lead Therapist Stephanie Smith “combines years of practice [and] equal parts art and science” to cure what ails you with an hour on the massage table. She also has excellent restaurant recommendations.


And anyone who knows the area will direct you to Folktable at Cornerstone Sonoma. Last year the Michelin Guide added Folktable to its California list of Bib Gourmand picks. Quite a feat considering the casual eatery opened during the pandemic. Of course it has something to do with the fact that Top Chef star Casey Thompson is at the helm; her seasonal menu “represents some of the most modern, innovative wine country cuisine in the San Francisco Bay Area,” as the experts have it.


Also at Cornerstone is the Obsidian Wine Co.’s boutique wine tasting room. It’s something of a cult favorite, as “through decades of growing, coopering and winemaking,” they have “sought farther, rockier and higher places to grow grapes and build wines,” with results that are “complex, nuanced and delicious.” In other words, Sonoma in a glass.

delicious crusty fish hamburger with pickles tomate special hamrburger sauce and fluffy toasted bread