by Lissa Poirot
Built in 1927, the Sonoma Mission Inn is a renowned resort in the heart of Sonoma County. Fairmont took over the 11-acre property in 2004, adding its own special touches and giving the resort a complete renovation in 2014. One of the few resort complexes in Sonoma County, the expansive property is meant to feel like home with a living room-style lobby, fire pits for gatherings (and S’mores!), and special events to gather guests together, such as complimentary wine tastings each night. The property focuses its attention of its Sonoma location with wine pairings, wine in the rooms, and wine events, as well as the beautiful temperate weather that calls for outdoor activities. Complimentary guided hikes, bicycling tours, and a host of outdoor activities – including a swimming pool — are available for families to enjoy the Californian sun year-round.
Our Editor Loves
- Family activities and programming
- Onsite dining
- Outdoor activities
- Children Programs
- Connecting Rooms
- Free Wi-Fi
- Onsite Dining
Find the Best Price for Your Stay
Rooms at the Fairmont provide a number of options, many of which have fireplaces and all of which have small refrigerators and flat-screen TVs. All guests are welcomed with a bottle of wine in their room, too! (This is Sonoma County, after all.) There are 226 rooms and 60 suites at this property, and all categories connect to other rooms to create larger rooms. Standard rooms range in size from 259 to 289 square feet, but only provide one king or one queen bed, and Junior Suites, which have 500 square feet, also only offer a king bed option. Options for families include:
Starting at 368 square feet, these rooms feature two queen beds to sleep four. Some of these rooms offer fireplaces and all of the rooms feature garden views.
Offering 550 square feet of space, these studio suites provide a king bed and a sitting area with a sofa bed. The suites have garden views and a fireplace, as well as a patio or balcony with French doors.
Providing a separate bedroom with a king bed and a living room with a sleeper sofa, fireplace and dining table, these suites are 600 square feet in size. The suites overlook the gardens and some have patios or balconies.
Cribs and rollaway beds are available; fees apply for rollaway beds.
We spent 2 nights the beginning of July. The rooms are quaint but a bit outdated an the air conditioner was rather week. This hotel has a new owner, and I think they may have overlooked the fact that guests return quite frequently not only for personal reasons but also for the historical significance of the property! The new owners do NOT respect this!
I've been going to the Fairmont Sonoma Spa for years. It is very nice and the experience is, usually, good. However, a few things to point out:
-It is pricy. A 90 min regular massage, with the usual (and very much pushed) 20% tip, will cost you over $300. Now if you want "medium" or "deep" pressure be prepared to pay more (yes, they do have different prices according to pressure level)
-massage therapists are hit or miss. I've had great ones and simple mediocre ones. I know this is true for any spa or massage place but the inconsistency is notable, particularly for a high-end place such as this one. I suppose it has to do with staffing issues or the fact that, despite the very high cost to the customer, the therapists probably only get a small portion of those fees.
-The bath experience is nice but, on the day I visited (June 12), the smaller hot pool spa was not hot at all. I told front desk as soon as I checked in and they called facilities but it remained barely warm (in fact, colder than the "warm" pool) until I checked out at closing time. A few years ago they installed this ridiculous "rain experience", which is basically 3 or 4 different water jets that hits you as you walk down a short path. It makes no sense other than for marketing value. I wish they had instead turned it into a cold plunge pool to complement the warm and hot pools they have inside.
-Talking about closing time: they close at 7:30 pm in the Summer! Sun was barely down! I asked why the early Summer closing and they told me it had to do with staffing and said they were exploring adding a late-night day but that it was proving difficult to staff. And they are strict (and a bit pushy) about vacating by closing. For example, the dressing room attendants will start cleaning out and tidying up by 7:20. It is so the opposite of a "relaxing" exit that I usually remind myself to leave at least 30 min earlier the official closing time so avoid witnessing the janitorial display.
So it is a good, nice place which I'd be happy to visit again but they could certainly improve a few things. I've written to the spa manager before with suggestions and never heard back.
The resort's main pool is the heart of the action at the Fairmont, with many children found playing with inflatable toys. Cabanas are available to rent by the day and come with fans, TVs, and a small refrigerator stocked with bottled water and soda. There is also an adults-only pool.
Families may enjoy the resort's bicycles, which include infant seats and kid sizes. An 11-mile morning bike tour is offered on Mondays, Thursdays, Fridays and weekends, from 8 to 10 a.m. The rides include water and teens ages 16 and up are welcome to join. Reservations must be made in advance.
Complimentary guided hikes are available daily, but space is limited and reservations must be made in advance. Hikes include transportation to and from trailheads. Kids must be 10 or older to participate. Private and custom hikes are available by request.
Two tennis courts at the Sonoma Golf Club are reserved for guests of the Fairmont between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. There is a court fee based on an hour of play, and rackets and balls are available to rent. Children under the age of 16 must be accompanied by an adult.
The Fairmont adjoins the Sonoma Golf Club, which offers 177 acres of golfing terrain. The resort offers golf packages, and golf clubs are available to rent.
Kids 5 and under eat free off the kids' menus, while kids age 6 to 11 eat half price off of the regular menu. The Fairmont's Lifestyle Cuisine healthy menu extends to the children's menu, providing healthy twists to help kids meet their daily recommended nutritional needs.
Named for the latitude of the 38th parallel in which Sonoma County lies, this evening-only restaurant is the property's upscale steakhouse. As this is Sonoma, wine pairings and an extensive wine list are found here. The modern restaurant uses iPad menus for interactive ordering and service. Dinner is served nightly between 4 and 10 p.m.
Sonoma Golf Club Grill
Located in the property's golf club, this all-day restaurant provides breakfast, lunch, dinner and light fare. Breakfast is offered between 7 and 11 a.m., lunch from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., and dinner from 3 to 6 p.m.
Water Tower Bar
Just off of the main pool and next to the hotel's iconic water tower, this is the hotspot on the property. A full-service bar, it offers sandwiches, salads and fruit smoothies for poolside and al fresco dining. The bar is open, weather permitting, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily.
The resort's Michelin-rated restaurant requires reservations and is best-suited for adults and older children when dining for dinner. Open from 6 to 9 p.m. nightly, the dining room uses local and fresh foods and seafood and remains on "Best of" lists year after year. The restaurant features Winemaker dinner events each month. A seven-course wine pairing dinner is available. The dining room is also open from breakfast daily, between 7 and 11 a.m., providing an a la carte menu outside near the pool.
Planning & Tips
All About the Extras
The resort charges a daily resort fee of $25. This fee provides guests with internet access, self-parking, shuttle service, and the free activities and amenities.
The property is pet-friendly, with two pets allowed per guestroom ($50 each for the stay). Pet bowls and water and food dishes are available.
The hotel can provide nanny or babysitting recommendations through its partner networks, Nanny on Call and All About Kids.
The Art of Smart Timing
Summer is peak season at the Sonoma Inn, with September and October also crowded due to crush/harvest season for the winemakers. The best time to visit for the best rates are November through early December, and again in the spring months.
The closest international airport to the property is San Francisco International Airport. Oakland International Airport is another option.
The resort offers free shuttle service to Sonoma Place and Sonoma Golf Club. It also provides complimentary limo service in a Cadillac within a 5-mile radius. Self- and valet parking are available, with a fee for valet service.
For Mom and Dad
The Willow Stream Spa features mineral hot springs and has been ranked one of the best spas in the country; don't miss it! The spa is 40,000 square feet with 30 full spa treatments and a fitness center. Children under 18 are not allowed in the spa.