My Wine Country Getaway to the Fairmont Sonoma

Fairmont Sonoma entrance
The front entrance and fountain (Photo by Freddy Sherman)

While everyone may talk about wine travel to Napa Valley, the Sonoma area, just over the mountains from Napa, also produces some of the world’s best wine. I had a wonderful getaway in Sonoma, staying at the Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn and Spa. The luxury hotel is in the heart of Sonoma wine country and offers luxurious accommodations, award-winning food, an incredible spa and legendary Fairmont service.

Drone view of Fairmont Sonoma
A drone view of the luxury hotel (Photo by Freddy Sherman)

The Fairmont
Located about 45 minutes from downtown San Francisco, the Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn and Spa is the area’s largest luxury hotel. We stayed in a Mission Suite, a large, open-plan space with a huge Jacuzzi tub in the center of the room. There was also a real, wood-burning fireplace which was perfect for the cool Sonoma evenings.

Fairmont Sonoma lobby
The beautiful lobby of the Fairmont (Photo by Freddy Sherman)

The Fairmont sits on a mineral spring and this naturally heated water is used in the spa and for the outdoor swimming pool. The hotel is known for their world-class, 40,000 square-foot Willow Stream spa and their Sante’ restaurant. I didn’t have a chance to visit either one on this trip but we did have a spectacular room service breakfast on the patio of our suite. If you want to extend your stay in the area, there’s also the Fairmont San Francisco and The Claremont Hotel and Spa, a Fairmont property in the hills of Berkley facing San Francisco and overlooking the Bay.

Room service breakfast
Breakfast is served, made with fresh, organic and locally-sourced products (Photo by Freddy Sherman)

Since this is wine country, instead of afternoon tea, the Fairmont Sonoma does a 50-wine tasting session (with small bites) at their 38 Degrees North lounge.

Gloria Ferrer vineyards
Charcuterie with a view over the Gloria Ferrer vineyards (Photo by Freddy Sherman)

Wine Tasting
The area is filled with wineries (425 in Sonoma County alone) and tasting opportunities. We spent the afternoon at Gloria Ferrer Caves and Vineyards in Carneros. After enjoying some of their delicious wine and charcuterie on the winery’s terrace overlooking the vineyards, we did what they call their Reserve Tour. Available to the public, the tour included a visit to the production area, a tour and overview of the vineyards and a visit to the cave.

Gloria Ferrer Vineyards cave
The cave at Gloria Ferrer (Photo by Freddy Sherman)

The winery has been open since 1986 and is owned by the family who produce Freixenet Spanish sparkling wine (the one in the black bottle). They’re the only sparkling wine house in Sonoma and grow mainly Pinot Noir and Chardonnay grapes.

For a very cool local foodie experience, we headed over to Novato and had dinner at Hilltop 1892. The hilltop restaurant really is on a hilltop, so I recommend arriving before sunset! It’s in a mansion that was built in 1892 but it’s been a Marin County favorite since opening as a restaurant first in the 1930s.

Lexus RC F
The Lexus RC F looking stylish in front of the Fairmont (Photo by Freddy Sherman)

Getting There
The Sonoma visit was a part of an epic California road trip I did in the Lexus RC F. In case you didn’t know, the RC F is the Japanese automaker’s 5.0 L V8-powered, front-engined, rear-wheel-drive sports coupe. With 467 horsepower, it was just amazing to drive the Lexus both on the open freeway heading up to Sonoma from Los Angeles and on the curvy mountain roads near the hotel and winery.

Read more of Freddy Sherman’s take on travel on his Go World Travel Blog. You can also follow more of his adventures at, on his luxuryfred Instagram feed and on his YouTube channel.

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