With its high arched windows, old-fashioned black-metal balconies, and gaslamp-style lighting fixtures, this six-room redbrick hotel looks like it’s graced Sonoma Plaza’s eastern flank for more than a century. Not quite. The building is less than two decades old, and the sensibility is more modern boutique than mini grande dame. Upscale luxury carries the day, from the walnut-floored lobby to the large, individually decorated rooms. Each is named for an ancestor of owner Steve Ledson, who also operates Ledson Winery, 14 miles north in Kenwood.
YOU SHOULD KNOW The maximum occupancy for all rooms is two people; children must be at least 12 years old.
At 400 square feet, the Ledson’s spacious rooms, all on the second floor, were built for romance. At night a gas fireplace with a richly decorative mantelpiece sets each room aglow, and steps away, separate from the bathroom, is a whirlpool tub large enough for two. Crystal chandeliers, inlaid-wood floors, period reproduction furniture, oriental rugs, and those balconies, accessed by arched, glass-paned doors, complete the picture. Beds are plush kings with high-thread-count linens.
The rooms in front, which look out on Sonoma Plaza, have better views but pick up some street noise; the ones in the back are quieter but the vistas are less inspiring.
Bathrooms vary from room to room, but all are good-size and have marble or granite showers and sinks with gold-plated fixtures. For soaking, there’s the separate whirlpool tub.
Check-in takes place at the high-ceilinged street-front lobby, which doubles as the tasting room for the Zina Hyde Cunningham Winery, a smaller label Ledson also owns. Guests, who receive a complimentary tasting during a stay, are welcome to enjoy the setting at any time.
Five nights a week, the hotel's executive chef prepares four- and six-course meals paired with Zina Hyde Cunningham and Ledson wines. These elaborate affairs—bacon-wrapped cocoa-spice rubbed pork loin and seared Hawaiian ahi tuna are typical mains—are reasonably priced given the quality of the cuisine and wines.
The lobby’s Zina Lounge wine bar is open daily until the early evening for tastings of small-production wines from grapes grown in the Russian River Valley, Sonoma Coast, Anderson Valley (Mendocino County), and other appellations.
Shops, tasting rooms, and restaurants are all within walking distance, with more wineries and tasting rooms a short drive away. Public buses departing from the plaza pass by nearby wineries, though few tourists travel this way.
Two of Sonoma’s best restaurants, LaSalette (1-minute walk) for Portuguese and Cafe La Haye (2-minute walk) for seasonal California cuisine, occupy the same block as the Ledson. A few steps beyond LaSalette is Sweet Scoops (2-minute walk), for hand-crafted ice cream cups or aromatic waffle cones. Nearby are Oso Sonoma (1-minute walk) for small bites and bar food and El Dorado Kitchen (5-minute walk) for stylish New American.
Slip over to Sigh (3-minute walk) for sparkling wines, the bar at El Dorado Hotel (5-minute walk) for contempo cocktails, and the 1909 Swiss Hotel (4-minute walk) for the signature Glariffee coffee drink, reputedly co-created by an Ernest Hemingway relative.
WHY WE LIKE IT
With just six rooms the Ledson feels intimate, and the furnishings and amenities—down beds, mood lighting, gas fireplaces, whirlpool tubs, and balconies for enjoying breakfast or a glass of wine—stack up well against Wine Country rooms costing more, especially in high season. Toss in a caring staff and wine-tasting and wine-and-food-pairing options, and you’ve stumbled upon (with our help) one of downtown Sonoma’s best lodging options.