MacArthur Place Hotel & Spa: Sonoma Wine Country’s Hautiest Hideaway

All Images credit MacArthur Place

They come to this region in droves and with good reason. This sun-drenched hamlet is the ideal escape from the manic pace of San Franciso and Silicon Valley or for those from around the world who love good wine. Here they find an ideal base to explore all that this bountiful wine region has to offer from epicurean experiences and the lovely drop and all of the lifestyle that goes along with it. It is Sonoma and one of its most iconic and beloved retreats is the MacArthur Place Hotel and Spa.

This is not a hotel, it is a retreat. It is quite deceptive from the outside; just a few rooftops hidden behind a hedge of bushes. Yet once inside you'll find yourself in an expansive village offering the haute living in the heart of wine country. It is one of Sonoma’s most grand hotels, with luxurious accommodations, a highly regarded restaurant, and a newly renovated spa.

Sonoma's MacArthur Place Hotel & Spa has a history as rich as the wine region itself. What is now one of California’s toniest hideaways began back in the 1850s as a family estate, a working ranch with prized trotters and cattle, and a vineyard. Throughout the property are cottages reflective of the architecture of the early 1900s that you’ll also see throughout northern California. Although the design and architecture may be from over a century ago, the style and features are anything but dated with the most modern amenities and a fresh country chic aesthetic.  

The center of Sonoma is a four-block walk away from the MacArthur Place.  Like many towns in this part of California, you’ll find the town square with tree-lined lawns,  park benches, and babbling water fountains as well as a few statues of local heroes thrown in for good measure. Surrounding the area are countless shops for antiques, clothing, and of course wine tasting rooms. Further away you’ll find yourself in the heart of California wine country with endless expanses of rolling hills covered in vineyards. There are 425 wineries in Sonoma with countless cellar doors awaiting visitors to share their exceptional wine and chardonnay, pinot noir, and Cabernet Sauvignon for which the region is known. Another 30 minutes away you’ll find the Napa Valley and all that that world-class wine region has to offer as well.

But Sonoma is so much more than its wonderful wines and even this iconic town.  It is a very large county of 1,575 square miles with breathtaking Redwood forests, 50 miles of coastline with coastal hiking trails, and other quaint towns full of personality to explore.  

The MacArthur Place is the address for the quintessential country living holiday. It’s not only what it offers, but it’s the ambiance, feeling, and lifestyle that guests experience during their stay,  Once inside the secluded enclave, guests enter what was once the estate's barn which is now a country chic reception area, lounge, and bar. What follows is the modern and airy dining area and highly regarded restaurant, Layla.  Beyond that is the retreat which is laid out like a village. There are pretty bungalows and country houses spread throughout the property with long porches for guests to sit out in the evening with a glass of wine and exchange pleasantries with other guests as they stroll past.

In between is one of the property's most exquisite attributes, its lavish grounds so beautiful that it would put Martha’s Steward gardens to shame. Throughout are stately redwoods, pines and spruce, ancient oaks, graceful magnolias, with verdant lawns with well-coiffed bushes. The gardens are awash with sublime flower gardens bursting in color and fragrance as well as lavender, rosemary, and native grasses. The gardens are connected by wandering paths dotted with a gorgeous outdoor art gallery of bronze statues and abstract figures that demand admiration. 

To further enjoy the gorgeous grounds on the property, there are plenty of seats and benches to pause to take in the outdoor beauty as well as lounges centered around a fire pit for guests to gather to enjoy the fresh air on chilly nights and with a glass of chardonnay. Each walk to and from your bungalow is an awaited pleasure. 

The accommodations offer the ideal environment for relaxation. There are 64 guest rooms spread out around the estate in bungalows and the main guest house. The architecture of the cottages is defined as Craftsman style which you’ll see throughout this part of California. The design was created in the early 1900s as a backlash to the ornate Victorian architecture of the day and to be more austere and practical for the California climate. 

The interiors exude laidback luxury with calming textures, natural materials, custom-designed millwork, and heated travertine floors.  The Garden Spa Suites are designed to impress with a stylishly-appointed lounge, high-tech entertainment system, fireplace, and indoor/outdoor rain shower. Outdoors features an alfresco bath under a trellis surrounded by lush foliage and sitting areas.  

The dining experience is ideal for a stay in Sonoma’s wine country and serves a contemporary Mediterranean menu in their restaurant, Layla. The restaurant is situated in the cavernous space of the former barn with lofty ceilings and exposed rafters with white-washed surfaces, and large wicket basket lighting fixtures. The venue continues outdoors with tables spread out on the garden patio with water fountains and tables set under pergolas. Brunch on the weekends is the perfect way to start the day before visiting a few wineries. You’ll see friends catching up as well as multi-generation families enjoying time together over a meal under the California sunshine.   

The cuisine is healthy, organic, fresh, and unfussy served in communal style on shared plates. Dishes include a modern take on lamb tagine, Sole à la Meunière, and couscous as well as baba ghanoush, hummus, and tzatziki made with seasonal farm-fresh ingredients. Other dishes include options for meat lovers such as flame-grilled ribeye, filet, and New York strip steaks.

The friendly and personal service is as exquisite as the cuisine. This is California wine country with many of the staff having a particular interest in wine with many of them up-and-coming sommeliers or at a minimum, oenophiles. They don't just know the wines they have a personal connection with many of the regional winemakers. They can not only tell you about the wines and make suggestions for your parings but can also have in-depth knowledge by having visited the wineries and vineyards nearby. 

To make the MacArthur Place experience complete, the renovated garden-themed spa is the retreat’s latest endeavor which recently re-opened to well-deserved accolades. The destination spa offers signature treatments developed from the botanicals and herbs grown in the property’s gardens as well as neighboring farms and vineyards. Guests rejuvenate in lavish treatment rooms, as well as a heated pool, hot tub, and fitness center.

The MacArthur Place is the quintessential retreat to enjoy an authentic holiday in the Sonoma wine country.  This resort is rooted in the history of the region itself, in its meticulously restored Victorian mansion along with its modern and ultra-chic bungalows with luxurious outdoor baths. The gorgeous gardens and artwork adorned grounds as well as its restaurant and service make the stay complete. Sonoma is an ideal destination to discover California’s wine country and so much more. MacArthur Place offers the ideal respite from which to explore it all. 

Glenn Harris

Glenn Harris is an accomplished journalist focusing on international travel, fine dining, and luxury lifestyle events. His wanderlust has taken him to over 105 countries where he is constantly straying off the beaten path uncovering new and exotic finds. He particularly enjoys seeking out lesser known travel gems and places to stay, dine, or experiences to capture. ...(Read More)

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