January 29, 2012

Hotel Les Mars: Romance in Wine Country

No matter how much we love our kids, parents need some time alone, too. For our anniversary this past fall, my husband and I escaped to the wine country north of San Francisco. Our favorite place to stay is Healdsburg, because of the charming town square filled with cafes and shops, and the dozens of fantastic wineries just a short drive away. And no matter what time of year we go, the scenery is spectacular, and we never run into the traffic or crowds that are often found in Napa Valley. I personally prefer fall, though, because the weather is mild and the vineyards are showing off their fall foliage.

The choice of where to stay was easy: There is nothing as elegant or romantic as Hotel Les Mars, just a few steps off the main square. A Relais & Chateaux property, it was built from the ground up in the style of a French chateau, so everything from the headboards to the library bookcases were handcrafted to complement one another. We truly felt we were back in Provence, especially with Old World touches like a skeleton style room key on a tassel, which was really an electronic key card.

Our room was absolutely gorgeous. A small foyer led to nice sized room with a canopied four poster king bed. Each room has a fireplace, its own wireless router, iPod station, bookshelves & armoire, TV, and DVD player. The bathroom had a spacious rain shower and, in keeping with the European authenticity, a bidet. Antiques can be found throughout the hotel; in fact the desk in our room was the oldest item on the property.

Rates include a delicious continental breakfast of pastries, yogurt, granola, juice, fruit, and coffee. Each evening we put the room service order form outside our door, and the next morning we enjoyed it in front of our fireplace, lounging in soft, fluffy bathrobes.

The staff was well trained and ready to do whatever it takes to please a guest. We were greetly warmly when coming or going, and they made sure we always left with plenty of bottled water, which we really appreciated after visiting a few wineries. We also enjoyed chatting with them and other guests at the evening wine & cheese reception in the library.
I also want to note an amenity that summer visitors will appreciate when temperatures soar: a swimming pool. It was small, but retained the French ambiance of the hotel, and would be the perfect place to relax at the end of the day.

If you’re planning a romantic getaway, you can’t go wrong with Hotel Les Mars. I am happy to share with my clients my personal wine tasting guide, or for those who would like to do something extra-special or unique, I can arrange a day to remember: a private winery tour, yacht charter, cooking or photography classes, hot air ballooning, and more.

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