Fodor's Expert Review h2hotel
219 Healdsburg Ave., Healdsburg, California 95448, USA See on Map Fodor's Choice
Eco-friendly touches abound at this hotel, from the plant-covered "green roof" to wooden decks made from salvaged lumber. A block from Healdsburg Plaza, the h2 is within walking distance of many restaurants, shops, and tasting rooms, and many wineries are but a short drive away. Spoonbar, the ground-floor restaurant and bar, draws food- and cocktail-savvy travelers.
YOU SHOULD KNOW The h2 hotel's two sister properties include the Hotel Healdsburg, a block away across from the plaza, and the Harmon Guest House, set to open in 2018 two doors north of h2. A private walkway will connect the two properties.
Earthy items like striped tiger bamboo floors, wool felt area rugs, and side tables made from blocks of elm warm up the sleek rooms, where white walls and bedding inspire serenity. Rooms come in three categories (from smallest to largest): eco-king, eco-studio, and eco-suites. Each room has a patio or small balcony, and the many thoughtful amenities include the ample storage for your luggage and the guest computers on every floor.
The rooms' king beds can be converted to two twins.
Eco-king rooms have walk-in showers; the studios and suites have deep, deep soaking tubs. The look is spare but settling. The same natural bath products used at the Hotel Healdsburg and its spa—Meyer lemon and sage shampoo and bath gel and lavender, jasmine, and blood-orange conditioner—are provided here, too.
A short pedestrian walkway leads east from Healdsburg Avenue to the h2's lobby. Along the way, guests pass a row of powder-blue bicycles (3-hour use is complimentary) and the water-feature sculpture incorporating thousands of spoons that gives Spoonbar restaurant its name. Although just a few dozen steps, the journey emphasizes the transition from streetscape to hip urban retreat. Once inside, the concrete and glass lobby, the large and colorful Roche-Bobois sectionals, a glass-art display, and pool views reinforce the notion.
A few steps behind the lobby, the fenced-in pool area, whose adjacent lawn edges Foss Creek, gets sun for most of the afternoon. Faux-wicker patio furniture for lounging takes up much of the concrete portion surrounding the pool. Towels are provided and drinking water is available in the lobby. There's no hot tub.
The h2 hotel has no spa, but guests often head a block north to the Spa Hotel Healdsburg, where the Healdsburg Signature Massage involves a Swedish-style approach and incorporates aromatic oils. Deep-tissue and hot-stone massages are also offered. Therapists use biodynamic botanicals for the signature facial, which concludes with a cool stone facial massage. Facials and nail treatments are available for women and men.
There's no on-site gym, but guests are invited to walk 3 minutes to the hardwood-floored fitness center at the Healdsburg Hotel. Use is complimentary. Precor equipment includes two treadmills, two ellipticals, a spinning machine and a recumbent bicycle, and there are free weights and a multi-station workout unit. Bottled water and towels are provided.
The hotel's complimentary breakfast, served in the lobby, includes an egg dish or two, baked goods made in-house, fresh fruit, juices, and tea, along with java from local purveyor Flying Goat Coffee. The chefs at the dinner-only Spoonbar prepare a menu of contemporary California cuisine with Italian influences. House-made pasta dishes like spaghetti with Dungeness crab and roasted sunchoke ravioli with grilled scallions and crispy prosciutto are the specialty.
Spoonbar's talented bartenders whip up zippy cocktails, many using locally produced spirits and incorporating seasonal organic herbs and produce. "Experimental" cocktails include the Smoked Old Fashion, made with bacon fat, Old Forester bourbon, and maple syrup. The wine list favors Sonoma County but also includes international selections. Cantina doors make Spoonbar especially appealing in summer, when a warm breeze wafts into the stylish space.
A long block south of Healdsburg Plaza, the hotel is a mile or so off highway U.S. 101. Downtown is highly walkable, and several dozen wineries with Healdsburg and Geyserville address are accessible by car off U.S. 101, Dry Creek Road, Westside Road, Eastside Road, and other streets. Sonoma County Transit Bus 60 and Bus 67 (aka the Healdsburg Shuttle, which loops around downtown) both stop near the hotel.
Staffers report that guests enjoy Mateo's Cocina Latina (20-second walk) for Latin American cuisine with French influences, chef Charlie Palmer's Dry Creek Kitchen (2-minute walk) for sophisticated Modern American, the Brass Rabbit (4-minute walk) for contemporary comfort food, and Campo Fina (4-minute walk) for California-inflected Italian.
Spirit Bar, in the lobby of the Hotel Healdsburg (2-minute walk), serves inventive specialty cocktails, many of which involve locally grown herbs, fruit, vegetables, and spices. The crew at Duke's Spirited Cocktails (4-minute walk), some of whom previously worked at Spoonbar, craft "farm-to-bar" libations as well as the classics. The bartenders at Chalkboard (5-minute walk) restaurant in the Hôtel Les Mars whip up frothy concoctions like the Monkeypod (rum coconut, tamarind, cacao, and lime, served in a coconut shell) but can also craft a smooth Manhattan or a frisky Sazerac.
WHY WE LIKE IT
When you're in the mood to dispense with formality without sacrificing service and style, the h2hotel is just the ticket. The vibe is hip and urban, the restaurant rates well above the hotel norm, and the proactive staff is good at problem-solving and turning on guests to what's new and fun in town. More than a half decade after the h2 debuted, its eco-chic concept still seems fresh.
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