A remarkable Relais & Châteaux property a block north of Healdsburg Plaza, SingleThread is the creation of husband-and-wife team Kyle and Katina Connaughton, who operate the ground-floor destination restaurant and a five-room second-floor inn. Influencing the couple's approach at both is the Japanese concept of omotenashi, often translated as "selfless hospitality."
YOU SHOULD KNOW SingleThread opened in late 2016. More than a year into its operation, every guest had enjoyed dinner at least once in the restaurant—it's that essential to the experience of staying here.
The designers of the inn's four rooms and a suite described their focus as being "honesty in function but beauty in form," a perspective that translated into singular textures and surfaces—dressers and side tables, for instance, with drawer faces covered in stiff black leather flared discreetly at the bottom to create handles, and white-oak flooring with a subtly rough-hewn look. The overall effect is luxe but minimalistic, with every element, down to the brass screws on the mirrors, chosen for a reason. All rooms have gas fireplaces, 14-foot exposed redwood-beam ceilings, and wet bars with European coffee makers and tea kettles, premium Zalto wine glasses, and snacks that include ice cream treats made in-house.
YOU SHOULD KNOW There are no room keys; guests instead select a code that typed on a keypad gains them entrance to their rooms and the inn's front door.
Heated tile floors, roomy rain showers, marble-trimmed deep soaking tubs (except in one room), and automated Japanese toilets (heated seat, of course) count among the deluxe touches in the spacious bathrooms, done mostly in calming whites and off-whites. Four of the five bathrooms have well-lit leathered-marble double vanities (the fifth is a single), and all are stocked with Aesop bath products. A bento-like box underneath the sink labeled "Fresh and Clean" contains mouthwash, a razor, and other toiletries arranged on a pristine bed of pebbles.
Factor in time for at least one long bath in that glamorous tub.
The inn has a small redwood-paneled lobby with a view through glass into the restaurant's kitchen. In keeping with the goal of the Connaughtons to make a stay here akin to visiting a home, the hosts greet guests in the parking lot and immediately escort them to their rooms, the formalities of check-in having been taken care of prior to arrival. The second-floor study, where guests often gather and sometimes take breakfast, serves some of the communal functions of a traditional lobby.
There's no pool here, but guests receive free passes to the Parkpoint Health Club (10-minute walk), which has a heated 25-yard-long pool. When classes or other activities aren't taking place, you can swim laps.
The inn has no spa, but by arrangement with Elements on the Plaza, a nearby day spa, guests can receive in-room massages. Elements, whose services in addition to massage include facials, manicures, pedicures, and waxing, is a two-minute walk from SingleThread.
SingleThread has no gym, but the innkeepers provide free passes to the Parkpoint Health Club (10-minute walk), which has a full lineup of workout equipment. Instructors teach Pilates, yoga, aerobics, and many other classes.
The room rate includes a multicourse breakfast. One recent morning's choices ranged from a warm porridge of Sonoma grains and a French omelet with seasonal Dungeness crab (with an ounce of caviar offered for an additional fee) to Toad in the Hole (English-style sausages in Yorkshire pudding) and a Japanese breakfast with king salmon, tamago (egg), sweet-potato donabe (clay pot) rice, and miso soup. In good weather, you can enjoy breakfast amid the rooftop garden, where Katina will have tended some of the ingredients on your plate. As for dinner, the seasonally oriented, multicourse Japanese meals known as kaiseki inspired the prix-fixe vegetarian, meat, and seafood menu ($$$$). As Katina describes the endeavor, the 72 "micro seasons" of the farm she tends, 5 acres at a nearby vineyard plus the inn's rooftop garden of fruit trees and microgreens, dictates Kyle's rarefied fare.
It's wise to make dinner reservations at the time you book your room. As 2018 dawned, lunch was offered on weekends only, with the addition of some weekdays a possibility down the line.
The inn has no bar, but guests can order wine from the restaurant's extensive international list, as well as beers from Sonoma County's Russian River Brewing Company and the Napa Valley's Mad Fritz. Scheduled to debut in 2018 is a Russian River blonde ale brewed exclusively for SingleThread.
The inn is a block from Healdsburg Plaza. Downtown Healdsburg is easily walkable, and with shops, restaurants, and three dozen storefront wine-tasting rooms you could easily go a day or two without using your car. Wineries bearing Healdsburg addresses can be as far apart as 20 miles, so you'll find a car handy to visit them. Ride-sharing is another option.
Nearby restaurants guests often visit include Valette (20-second walk) for dishes based on local farm products, Campo Fina (2-minute walk) for nouveau Italian, and the Shed Café (2-minute walk) and Barndiva (3-minute walk) for Modern American.
Duke's Spirited Cocktails (2-minute walk) specializes in "farm-to-bar" cocktails that incorporate locally grown ingredients, as does Spoonbar (4-minute walk) in the h2hotel. The bars at the restaurants Chalkboard (2-minute walk) and Valette (20-second walk) are also good options. Special tastings, food pop-ups, and DJ-dancing and trivia nights draw a youngish crowd to Bergamot Alley (2-minute walk), a wine shop and beer and wine bar.
WHY WE LIKE IT
Although the physical elements, from the custom bedding and furnishings down to the trays on which breakfast is delivered, speak to Kyle and Katina's phenomenal attention to detail, in the end it's the spirit of their rare place that astounds the most: that innkeepers would care this much about the intricacies of understated service and comfort away from home and pull it off so flawlessly.