Luxury is in the detail at the Madrona – a stellar retreat of rooms and suites in 19th-century buildings on a winery estate near Healdsburg. Original antique furniture, retained fireplaces, fretted gables and plasterwork-framed bay windows bring the kind of period charm to interiors that lesser stays could only hope to source from salvage. First-class comforts such as Italian linens, high-spec mattresses and underfloor heating are the kind of modern details we can all get behind – matched in contemporary appeal by a top-notch restaurant, pool and picnic lawn. The Madrona’s capacious gardens, including an orchard and citrus grove, are yours to wander and help yourself from; beyond the estate gates, the delights of Sonoma wine country await.
Get this when you book through us:
A bottle of local pinot noir or chardonnay on arrival
11.15am. Earliest check-in, 3.15pm. Both are flexible, subject to availability and a discretionary fee for late check-out.
Double rooms from £574.14 ($714), including tax at 14.2 per cent. Please note the hotel charges an additional resort fee of $60.00 per room per night on check-out.
Rates do not usually include breakfast.
For big groups marking big celebrations, consider an exclusive takeover of rooms and suites at either the carriage house or the mansion (on request via Smith’s travel specialists).
At the hotel
Vineyard, picnic lawn, citrus grove, garden, gym, e-bikes to borrow. In rooms: free WiFi, Bluetooth speaker, drinks cart (free to guests staying in suites) with free bottled water and snacks, Flamingo Estate bath products.
Our favourite rooms
Working fireplaces, period details and antique furniture mean all rooms and suites exude yesteryear charm by the (wine) barrel load. For privacy, bungalow suites dotted around the estate are hard to beat. The stately proportions and heart-of-the-action location of mansion rooms will win you over easily – especially the salon with balcony at the front of the hotel.
A tile-edged, heated saltwater pool with Riviera good looks and stepped entry at both ends sits adjacent to a tiled sun terrace dotted with loungers. Open from dawn till dusk, plus you can order snacks and drinks (including cocktails) to your sunlounger.
Your most casually glamorous threads to fit the laid-back Cali vibe, plus an extra layer or two to boost your staying power for poolside drinks by the fire.
For wheelchair users, a bungalow suite beside the pool is wheelchair-accessible and comes with an adapted wet room.
Although they’re in theory welcome, this wine-country stay has a grown-up feel better suited to adults only.
Low food mileage and an emphasis on seasonal fare are afforded by a vast kitchen garden, orchard and herb patch in the grounds that supply the Madrona with fresh produce. Daily flower posies are grown and cut at the hotel. In the Madrona’s citrus grove, you can help yourself to an orange straight from the branch and use the outdoor juicer to squeeze yourself a fresh dose of vitamin C.
Balmy Californian evenings on the tiled terrace offer conviviality framed by valley views. In the dining room, make a beeline for the cosy table for two in the top corner where you can sit adjacent to each other on banquettes.
Park the surf dress or shorts and T-shirts – a space as elegant as the Madrona’s restaurant calls for smart-casual attire; palazzo pants and a glamorous top or a collared shirt and longs.
What’s ripe for picking from the hotel’s kitchen garden inspires the seasonal, locally sourced dishes on offer at the Madrona’s restaurant. Intent on showcasing California-fresh ingredients, executive chef Jesse Malgren draws on influences from his travels to take diners on a culinary world tour. Signature dishes include onion velouté with slow-cooked egg and chicken paillard; ever-changing plate, the Madrona salad, is pulled together using only hotel-grown ingredients. An international wine list celebrates winemaking beyond Sonoma’s borders. The choice of spaces in which to dine is equally impressive: on the covered deck, accompanied by sprawling valley views; in the cosy yolk-yellow dining room where a light installation of bulb-dotted scaffolding hangs from wallpapered ceiling panels; or opt for a private group dinner in the tucked-away drawing room, adorned with a photographic mural of the estate.
Beside the lobby, Hannah’s Bar allows you to move between the bar and a couple of first-floor parlours on the way to the restaurant and is open from 11am until 10pm. Intricately tiled fireplaces, eye-catching paintings and an abundance of antique furniture create a sense of lounging around your aunt’s fabulous drawing room, rather than any formal drinking den. Cocktails are held in equal esteem with wine, mixed using vintage spirits in original bottles that are on display in an ornate wooden armoire. Take your aged-campari sodas out to the deck by the pool, where sofas and firepits encourage lingering.
Breakfast is served from 7.30am–10.30am; lunch, 11am–2pm; dinner, 5.30pm–9pm. Weekend brunch is served from 10.30am until 2pm.
Available 24 hours, room service consists of the full restaurant menu between 7am and 9pm, and a selection of snacks and light bites outside of these hours.
The Madrona is in Sonoma County wine country, a mile outside Healdsburg CA.
Sonoma County Airport is just 15 minutes from the hotel by road. For international arrivals, San Francisco is a 90-minute drive away. The hotel can arrange private transfers (at extra cost).
Sonoma-Marin trains (SMART) run in the Bay area from Sonoma County Airport to Larkspur. Until the planned Healdsburg link is up and running, Sonoma County Airport station is nearest to the Madrona (15 minutes away by road). The hotel can arrange free transfers.
There’s ample private parking at the Madrona, with charging points for electric vehicles, plus free valet parking.
A free car service is on offer for shuttles within a five mile radius of the hotel.
Worth getting out of bed for
The Madrona’s concierge can arrange tours of lesser-known boutique wineries, forest bathing among the redwoods or guided ocean kayaking. Ways to explore Sonoma include horseback riding, river stand-up paddleboarding and bicycle tours. Hiking, guided or solo, can take you to the Armstrong Redwoods or Grove of Old Trees, to Sonoma Lake or Trione-Annadel State Park. Borrow an e-bike and cycle into Healdsburg for a spot of shopping and café hopping. Or order a chef’s picnic to enjoy on the Madrona’s pristine picnic lawn.
Just off the square in downtown Healdsburg, Chalkboard is where chef Hugh Dyer conjures seasonal small plates from produce sourced from local farms as well as the restaurant’s own kitchen garden: the choice of wine and cocktails is as impressive as the food. On a working family farm, Barndiva is where chef Erik Anderson (Coi, San Francisco) oversees finessed plates of farm to table fare such as Hokkaido pan-seared scallops, duck breast au poivre and Snake River Farm strip loin in a bordelaise sauce, with home-baked bread and decadent desserts steered by pastry chef Neidy Venegas. Hazel Hill serves up blissful views from its hilltop perch alongside French-influenced Californian fare: dishes such as coq au vin, wagyu steak-frites and Ora king salmon are plated with mind-boggling prettiness.
There are beignets all day at Parish Café – although its New Orleans breakfasts are a good reason to head into Healdsburg early. A baking empire that’s been around in one form or another since 1923, Costeaux French Bakery is best known for its cinnamon walnut bread (which you can order by post), but also has lunch options of salads, sandwiches and wondrous ways with eggs, as well as a good line in coffee and cake.
If you’re in Healdsburg for dinner, head to Harmon Guest House for cocktails at the Rooftop and enjoy views of Fitch Mountain and the Sonoma hills with your spicy mezcal margarita. Italian café and wine bar Baci is as much about dining as its carefully curated list of bottles from boutique wineries: you could go all in with meaty mains, hearty pasta or risotto, but with wine this good, sharing plates of antipasti such as burrata, bruschetta, grilled Gulf shrimp and scallop carpaccio are great for grazing.
Every hotel featured is visited personally by members of our team, given the Smith seal of approval, and then anonymously reviewed. As soon as our reviewers have returned from this wine estate in Sonoma County and unpacked their trail maps and tasting notes, a full account of their vineyard break will be with you. In the meantime, to whet your wanderlust, here's a quick peek inside the Madrona near Healdsburg…
Original thinking is the Madrona’s superpower: this 1880s mansion has been cleverly restored retaining a wealth of period details, from wooden fretwork on mansion gables to painted-tile fireplaces to pillars and plasterwork, plus antique furniture at every turn. The hotel’s credentials are not just original in the bonafide sense, either – its approach to hosting a stand-out stay is peppered with thoughtful details unique to the Madrona. Find a bottle you like on a trip to a boutique winery and it may just be waiting for you at the bar on your return; in your room, fresh flower posies picked from the garden are changed daily. If you like the look of those ripe oranges in the hotel’s citrus grove, feel free to pick one and turn it in at the bar to be mixed with your mimosa. So much about the Madrona is a boon to bons vivants: Jesse Malgren’s seasonal cuisine; a series of salons in which to lounge; a level lawn dedicated to picnics, and sofas set around fire pits for after-dinner cocktails – this is a hotel where grown-up fun has been artfully finessed. Then there’s the estate’s wine country locale: Healdsburg is just a mile’s e-bike ride away; Sonoma valley vineyards are within easy reach, and if you fancy a trek through redwood forests or a trip to the coast for some ocean kayaking, the concierge will happily arrange that, too. The only thing not original about the Madrona is the desire it prompts in you to return – a widespread (and welcome) side effect.