Since 1969, restaurant, hotel, travel & other witty reviews by a handpicked, worldwide team of discerning professionals—and your views, too.

The Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn & Spa, California - Hotel Review

Taking The Waters

By Alain Gayot

The ideal wine country escape, The Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn & Spa is an architecturally accurate replica of a California Mission
Geo-thermal spa pools at The Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn & Spa

In the 1800s, it was fashionable for wealthy San Franciscans to "take the waters" in Sonoma. Many retreated to a cluster of mineral hot springs once considered a sacred healing ground by local Native Americans. After a hotel was built on the land in 1927 — an architecturally accurate replica of a California mission — the destination served other purposes, including an R&R haunt for sailors during WWII and training headquarters for sports teams. Today, with the property's evolution into The Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn & Spa, visitors can enjoy the ancient thermal springs once again, as well as the fruits of the Sonoma wine country.

With its Egyptian, Greek and Roman influences, the 40,000-square-foot spa is the centerpiece of the resort. Insider tip: Arrive extra early for the Bathing Ritual, which includes an exfoliating shower, warm bath, hot bath, herbal steam, sauna, re-hydrating drinks and more. This sanctuary of health and well-being anchors a property devoted to pampering both body and spirit, from the moment you tee off at the Sonoma Golf Club to the palate-pleasing hour you spend sipping in front of a fire at the daily afternoon wine tasting in the lobby.

Satisfaction also comes by way of fine dining, beginning with Santé, the resort's signature restaurant. The seasonal menu highlights regional produce in its wine country cuisine offerings, which may include oysters margarita, roasted Petaluma chicken breast with lemon thyme polenta and grilled vegetables. For less formal meals, the resort also offers the bistro-style The Big 3 and poolside The Water Tower. Morning favorites (both classic and new) can be had at the Domaine Carneros Sparkling Brunch at Santé on Sundays and holidays.

A suite at The Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn & Spa A firepit at The Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn & Spa
A guest suite

Accommodations at The Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn & Spa range from signature suites to restored Fairmont Heritage Rooms in the property's original building. With their wine country-inspired décor, the standard Fairmont Wine Country Rooms are pleasant, with garden views. Higher up the scale, the open-plan Mission Suites entice with a two-person Jacuzzi tub arranged between a four-poster king bed and working fireplace. They also feature patios or balconies with French doors, arched doorways and Saltillo tile accents. Amenities in all rooms include color TV, telephones with voicemail, mini-bar fridges, terrycloth robes and high-speed Internet access.

Despite the small inn atmosphere here, there are facilities for large business events and weddings. There is even a concierge team just for honeymooners. Babysitters can be arranged for visiting families, and recreation is offered for active types. At the top of our list: daily guided hikes and golf — the hotel has opened a facility at the private Sonoma Golf Club, with a special section for hotel guests, who enjoy access to the greens. With its casual luxury, well-rounded amenities and unique mineral springs, The Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn & Spa is an ideal wine country escape.

The Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn & Spa
100 Boyes Blvd.
Sonoma, CA 95476


Going to Sonoma? Check out our Travel Guide
Check out our California Travel Guide
Hotel Search


(Updated: 10/26/11 CT)

After a long day on the slopes, reward yourself with a (spiked) hot cocoa in luxurious accommodations at one of GAYOT's Top 10 Ski Resorts.
Leave your troubles far behind and escape to one of GAYOT's Top 10 Remote Hotels, where you'll find a unique experience and setting.