Across the street from the tidy town plaza, this spare, sophisticated hotel owned by chef and hotelier Charlie Palmer caters to travelers with an urban sensibility. A full-service property, the Hotel Healdsburg has an upscale restaurant, a gourmet pizzeria, a spa, a pool, a fitness center, and shops that include Lime Stone (overseen by Palmer's wife, Lisa) for kitchen items and housewares.
A minimalistic aesthetic prevails in the guest rooms, their walls painted a soothing pale green. Plush contemporary area rugs cover the pecan-wood floors, and the beds, nightstands, and furniture all have clean lines. The mattresses are among the most comfortable you'll find. All rooms have HDTVs, refrigerators, and Keurig coffee makers, and complimentary bottled water (still and sparkling) and snacks are supplied.
YOU SHOULD KNOW Although the minimalistic aesthetic still appeals on the whole, some rooms appear careworn and could use a refresh.
Spacious bathrooms continue the rooms' sleek style with monochromatic tiles, polished-concrete vanities, doorless glass walk-in showers, and in some rooms deep soaking tubs. The natural bath products (available for purchase in the spa) include Meyer lemon and sage shampoo and bath gel and lavender, jasmine, and blood-orange conditioner.
Guests enter the concrete-floored lobby from Matheson Street or a broad pedestrian alley off Healdsburg Avenue. Inside, a large fireplace, a baby grand, high-pile area rugs, and hand-crafted contemporary furniture strike a cool, subdued tone. Even when the Spirit Bar in the back isn't open, this classy setting is definitely a place to hang. A graveled sitting area in the alley just outside the entrance receives attention when the weather's nice.
A vined willow fence and cypress, olive, and other trees provide shade, color, and privacy for the landscaped pool area. The modest (60-foot-long) rectangular lap pool is lined with chairs and chaises. Lemon or other flavored water is available daily, bar service on weekends.
The Spa Hotel Healdsburg, between the lobby and the pool, offers a variety of treatments. Swedish-style massage is central to the Healdsburg Signature Massage, which also involves aromatic oils. Deep-tissue and hot-stone massages are among the other modalities. The signature facial uses biodynamic botanicals and concludes with a cool stone facial massage. As with the facials, there are nail treatments for men and women.
Some spa treatments are available in your room.
A dedicated hardwood-floored space behind the lobby and near the pool contains the fitness center. Precor equipment includes two treadmills, two stair climbers, a spinning machine, and a recumbent bicycle, and there are free weights and multi-station workout unit. Bottled water and towels are provided.
Eggs cooked to order, bagels with lox, breakfast sandwiches, and mimosas are among the popular items at the hotel's complimentary spread laid out each morning. Pizzando, a casual street-front restaurant opens for lunch and dinner with a menu of antipasti, salads, pasta dishes, and wood-fired pizzas. Dry Creek Kitchen, known for its intricate Modern American cuisine and polished setting, opens for dinner only. Both restaurants provide room service to the hotel.
In an open space in the lobby, the Spirit Bar serves a lineup of specialty cocktails, plus local wines and (except for PBR and a nonalcoholic brew) Northern California craft beers. As might be expected in a chef-owned hotel, many of the cocktails involve herbs, fruit, vegetables, and spices. Jalapeño-infused tequila, lime, agave syrup, and baby cilantro with Tajín seasoning go into the piquant A Cocktail for Carl. The light and easy Don't Make Me Blush, a summertime poolside favorite, contains white-peach puree, peach liqueur, and sparkling wine.
Steps west of Healdsburg Plaza, the hotel is within walking distance of noteworthy restaurants, shops, tasting rooms, and galleries. It's possible to spend a day or two without needing your car, and indeed many guests do. If you're game for a short drive, several dozen wineries with Healdsburg or Geyserville addresses are accessible off U.S. 101, Dry Creek Road, Westside Road, and other streets. Sonoma County Transit Bus 60 and Bus 67 (aka the Healdsburg Shuttle, which loops around downtown) stop across Healdsburg Avenue from the hotel.
You could spend a week in Healdsburg and not hit all the superior restaurants within walking distance of the hotel. A few worth considering include Barndiva (3-minute walk) and Valette (3-minute walk) for Modern American (namesake chef Dustin Valette of the latter was the executive chef of Dry Creek Kitchen for several years). The service can be spotty at Mateo's Cocina Latina (3-minute walk) but the Latin-fusion cuisine is always spot-on.
Out of loyalty, the hotel's staff directs guests looking for a drink off-property to Spoonbar (3-minute walk), a block south at sister operation h2hotel, and it really is a good choice for cocktails (or a meal). Expect more drinks with farm and garden components, with the Bee's Knees (beeswax-infused gin, lemon juice, and lavender honey) but one example. Three Spoonbar mixologists opened Duke's Spirited Cocktails (2-minute walk), known for "farm-to-bar" drinks like the Atticus Finch (bourbon, butternut squash, maple rosemary, and lemon), named for lawyer father of the protagonist of To Kill a Mockingbird.
WHY WE LIKE IT
The Hotel Healdsburg has a lot going for it, starting with its suave design and Healdsburg Plaza location. Whether you dine at Pizzando and Dry Creek Kitchen or call for room service, the restaurants count as additional pluses, as do the spa, pool, and lobby bar. Toss in the stylish rooms and on-the-ball hospitality and this hotel's a pip all the way around.