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Where to Stay in Healdsburg: Spotlight on Hotel Les Mars


Where to Stay in Healdsburg: Spotlight on Hotel Les Mars

If you’re traveling to California wine country, chances are the first place you think to stay is in Napa Valley. While Napa is an amazing, world-class destination for wine, one of my favorite parts of wine country is a little town just a few more miles north… Healdsburg.

Healdsburg, which has been dubbed one of the Nation’s Most Romantic Small Towns by CNNTravel, is part of Sonoma County, which is renowned for its laid-back, farm-country vibe. Healdsburg is a picture-perfect wine country town surrounded by rising hills and vineyards, with hip boutique hotels and beautiful B&Bs surrounding an adorably charming square. It’s at once both elegant and casual – a perfect spot for wine-tasting, river rafting or bicycling in the Dry Creek and Alexander Valleys, and just down the road from the Russian River Valley.  I couldn’t have been happier to make the charming Hotel Les Mars in downtown Healdsburg my home base for the weekend.

Where to Stay in Healdsburg: The Hotel Les Mars

A luxurious 16-room boutique hotel in the heart of the Healdsburg Square that feels fresh out of the French countryside.

Picture this: At check-in, you’re greeted with a freshly-popped glass of bubbly, and shown to your huge room via the elegant marble staircase that sweeps up from the lobby. In the rooms, are baroque canopied four-poster beds with fresh Italian linens and the most comfortable mattress and pillows imaginable, which all add up to feel like you’re sleeping in a 16th century royal palace. Leather-bound books, antique armoires, and a fireplace surround you, as you can hear faint sounds of birds chirping outside. Walking past the huge bath tub, you slip into one of the super-soft robes hanging in the spacious marble bathroom and pour yourself a glass of local wine and a few pieces of cheese to enjoy before heading to dinner. No, this isn’t a dream. This is the Hotel Les Mars, Healdsburg.

Each morning, a beautiful French-style in-room breakfast is served at no extra cost. Is there any better way to start the day?

We loved waking up to French press coffee, the daily newspaper, and an over-the-top breakfast in bed.

The service at the hotel is flawless. The general manager and his staff made sure that we felt at home all weekend, greeting us by name, and always making sure they were available and attentive for any needs. Even leading up to the vacation, we were sent a detailed PDF of recommended wineries and restaurants in Healdsburg, which was so helpful in planning the trip! As a bonus, the hotel has partnerships with many of the best local wineries so you can taste for free at their partner wineries.

The hotel also hosts a nightly wine and cheese reception from 5:30-6:30 with wines featured from some favorite local wineries. This was one of my favorite parts about the hotel. We came down after for dinner a little early, tasted some local wines in the lobby on the comfiest couch, and walked the 10 steps to Chalkboard restaurant for dinner.  Chalkboard, a lovely californian farm-to-table restaurant located within the hotel, is delicious and has an adorable patio perfect for summer nights. Make sure you order the crudo of the day and the pork belly biscuits. So good.

After dinner, retreat back to your incredible royal suite and enjoy some of the decadent homemade chocolates that turn-down service left you in a gorgeous “Hotel Les Mars” case on your pillow that are just to-die-for. It’s a tiny detail that I absolutely adored.

All in all, the Hotel Les Mars, by the acclaimed boutique luxury hotel group Relais & Châteaux, exceeded my expectations on all fronts. It is the perfect home base for a relaxing wine country getaway in the elegantly understated Healdsburg, California.

Rates range from $470-$770 depending on the room and time of year.  


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Christina is a leading luxury lifestyle and travel blogger with over 2 million readers. Follow her on instagram @jetsetchristina.