Millions of people travel to the Bay Area every year, and it’s no wonder! The multi-faceted beauty, excitement and opportunities available in the Bay Area are unparalleled, as are some of the world’s greatest and most luxurious destinations. With summer vacations in full swing, I decided to put together a list of some of my favorite staycation spots right here in Silicon Valley’s own backyard ...or just a short drive away. They all offer extraordinary experiences, settings, spectacular food, wine, and service.
Forbes Travel Guide (and I) agree that this 5 star hotel and retreat are exceptional in every way imaginable. The setting of Rosewood Sand Hill’s brick lodge is beyond gorgeous with 16 acres of manicured English gardens plus magnificent views of the surrounding Santa Cruz mountains. Sense, a Rosewood inspired and managed spa, is popular with Silicon Valley and Menlo Park locals as well as retreat guests. With 13 treatment rooms, a relaxation lounge, whirlpool duet suite with private garden, salon services, personalized services and its ancillary fitness/wellness site, Sense will invigorate any and all guests. Golfers are welcome to play at the nearby Stanford Golf Club. Madera, under the direction of Chef Peter Rudolph, earned a Michelin star by celebrating market driven American cuisine with exotic ingredients from local, organic farmers in the area. This is an ideal hotel, spa and retreat destination for all locals, travelers, meetings, and special occasions. Since the Rosewood Sand Hill is truly in Menlo Park’s backyard, I and every local/visitor I know regularly treat ourselves to the exceptionalism of this inspired retreat.
Bring your clubs and racquets to the Ritz Carlton in Half Moon Bay, one of the only Bay Area luxury oceanfront resorts with 36 holes of championship golf and six lighted tennis courts. Less than an hour drive away from most Silicon Valley cities, this Ritz Carlton is ideal for any type of getaway, meeting or special event. Stay as long as you’ve time in a variety of courtyard view/ocean front suites and/or guesthouses. Proximity to Devil’s Slide Coastal Trail, Pescadero State Beach and Ano Nuevo State Park make surfing (bring a wetsuit...the water’s cold!) and watching elephant seals a breeze. Spa treatments and services are exceptional, indoor pool facilities, training center filled with Cybex top-of-the line equipment and salon services are available at all times. Their incredible Sunday brunch is not to be missed, and make sure to sit by the fire fit with a glass of rose to watch the sunset!
The Lodge at Cavallo Point, a 10 minute drive from San Francisco over the Golden Gate Bridge amidst the Golden Gate National Park, is an historic lodge restored on the premise of Nature, Nurture, Culture, and Adventure. The Lodge has earned the highest recognition in Travel and Leisure, National Geographic, Legacy Award, and the Michelin Guide for it’s one star Murray Circle restaurant under the direction of Executive Chef Justin Everett. Its Farley Bar, named for the comic stripe character Farley penned by the late Phil Farley, is lively throughout the week with locals and guests alike. The Lodge is LEED gold certified. Lastly, Cavallo’s Great Outdoors Spa could not be more perfectly located within this iconic, breathtaking setting and pool to soak up the beauty around you!
Sea Ranch Lodge has been a staple on the Sonoma-Mendocino Coast for generations. The coastline, ocean, trees, and sky vistas offer a perspective and connection with nature we sometimes lose. Bring your bikes, hiking shoes, and sweaters/jackets for when the fog rolls in and often stays. The Black Point Grill offers exceptional, uncontrived dining with seasonal menus composed of fruits and produce from local suppliers and over 150 unique, regional wines. There are four options in accommodations including guest houses. Sea Ranch in its dramatic, comforting, peaceful setting, is an ideal place to rejuvenate yourself and your loved ones.
The Post Ranch Inn has been voted the best hotel/retreat in Big Sur. With only 39 rooms on 100 acres of stunning property overlooking the Pacific Ocean, this is one of the most private, luxurious and peaceful staycations you will ever experience. Until June 30, this Carmel luxury resort is only accessible by Helicopter via Monterey’s Del Monte Aviation, as part of their new Escape Through the Skies Package; a creative solution to the closing of Highway One and certain to make for a more memorable visit! Chef Elizabeth Murray directs the incredible Sierra Mar restaurant. Spa treatments and services are available at the spa itself as well as ensuite. There are heated infinity spas, a lap pool and a fitness center. The towering redwoods, ocean vistas and majestic mountains render the Post Ranch Inn ideal for yoga hikes, celestial telescope viewings and whale watching. The entire experience, from services to accommodations to dining, could not be more romantic, meditative, and invigorating. Once you get there, you’ll never want to leave!
The Carneros Resort is truly Napa made perfect. In the heart of the town, this resort and spa has the look and feel of Cape Cod in its architecture. Harvard Square clapboard cottages, suites and houses dot the resort...most have bikes leaning on the porches the cruise around the grounds and surrounding wine country. The views of the hillsides from here are breathtaking! Two sparkling pools, one for adults only, a spa exclusively for guests, a boutique filled with merchandise of top designers, and the Market: an upscale general store that sells picnic supplies, fine wines of course, and anything else you might need for a perfect day in Napa are part of the resort’s environs. Its Town Square has a bocce ball court and incredible outdoor lounges. Two outstanding restaurants, FARM and the Boonfly Cafe, are homages to locally farmed offerings, outstanding wine and the roadhouse styled Boonfly to a local Carneros pioneer who planted hundreds of the trees in the area. Forbes, Virtuoso, Preferred, etc. have all recognized the Carneros as one of the best resorts in Napa Valley!
Another luxury Rosewood hotel, the Rosewood CordeValle sits at the foothills of the Santa Cruz Mountains in San Martin. Anticipate the same level of excellence as the Rosewood Sand Hill. Its meticulously designed California Craftsman style structure reflects the natural beauty of the setting. The 260-acre property with its award winning Robert Trent Jones, Jr. golf course, recognized by Golf Digest, Golf Magazine, etc., hosted last year’s U.S. Women’s Open as well as golf’s international professionals and amateurs alike. Just 30 minutes from San Jose, this 5-star resort indulges its guests with the Corazon del Valle (Heart of the Valley) private spa, seasonal menus from local growers, the resort’s own herb/vegetable garden and wines from Northern California’s original wine country.
A 5 star resort and Michelin 1 star Solbar restaurant, Solage celebrates its tenth anniversary this summer and, no doubt, the resort and restaurant will pull out all the stops. The local food and wine is presented with Michelin excellence. Truly, Solage has small town charm with urban sophistication. Spa Solage melds Calistoga’s famous mud and mineral water therapies into its treatments and services. The pool is stunning! Cruiser bikes are available on site for rides into the heart of the wine country. Solage truly delivers its branding…”every stay a story”.
This historic boutique hotel delivers high fashioned luxury on San Francisco’s Nob Hill. The Huntington stays true to its flamboyant red decor and color scheme both inside and out as it weaves its connections to its Singapore Straits Chinese heritage. The Big 4 restaurant has a brassy, dark wooded feel, and Chef Miguel Garcia presents Moroccan, Asian Fusion and Rustic food to perfection. The Spa at the Huntington, a three level oasis living on Nob Hill that boasts spectacular city/skyline views, treatment rooms, a pool, sauna, and steam room, is considered one of the best -and my very favorite!- spas in the City. Truly, the Huntington is an uninhibited haven of grace, glamour and timeless, iconic chic in the heart of the City.
Last but definitely not least, Bardessono is considered among the best hotels in the country by U.S. News and World Report magazine. Its Lucy Restaurant and Bar are rated 4 star by Forbes (5 star by me!). Located in the heart of Yountville, this unique oasis is within walking distance to 10 wineries and some of the best restaurants in wine country including Bouchon and French Laundry. LEED certified and dedicated to environmental stewardship, daring architecture and exceptional service, the Bardessono offers 62 rooms, each built around four distinct landscaped courtyards with its own outdoor space and sitting areas with hidden massage tables for in-room spa treatments. The pool is exceptional and the perfect place to relax and take in the scenery. This resort, partially powered by rooftop solar, is a regular on Conde Nast Reader’s Choice, Travel and Leisure World’s Best and Trip Advisor Traveler’s Choice lists.
There you have it... my favorite recommendations for your staycations to enjoy regularly!