Disclosure: Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn and Spa provided us with complimentary dinner at their 38º North Lounge in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own!
During our recent January trip to Sonoma Valley in Northern California, my husband and I wanted a really private, secluded spot so that we could relax and enjoy our down time away from the crowds, which is why we chose to stay at Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn and Spa. It was really a perfect choice for what we needed: seclusion, privacy, excellent spa, close proximity to downtown Sonoma and the Sonoma Valley wineries, hotel transportation to downtown Sonoma when we needed it.
The hotel property is gorgeous, with a rich history. The hotel was built in the early 20th century in the traditional Spanish mission style, which you can see in every building. The hotel has been majorly renovated since then, but the old style was beautifully preserved.
Outdoor spaces have great landscaping, with a rustic feel to it.
Fairmont Sonoma is a perfect Wine Country destination with natural mineral hot springs in the Sonoma Valley. The hotel's Willow Stream Spa is a luxury spa with its own thermal mineral baths. Upon arrival, you immediately know you are in the wine country because the first thing you see is a huge wine barrel that greets all arriving hotel guests:
After we got settled in, we got to enjoy a bottle of wine in our hotel room - we are in the wine country after all!
The hotel lobby is quite impressive with a large wood-burning fireplace.
And it's very cozy and inviting.
Fairmont Sonoma is home to Sante Restaurant, a fine dining restaurant, and one of Sonoma's hottest lounge venues, 38º North. Sante was not open the week we were staying at Fairmont Sonoma, so we had dinner one night at 38º North.
38º North has a sleek, minimalist design that's really appealing.
The restaurant's design is centered around wine, and there is a huge floor to ceiling modern glass wine cellar along one of the restaurant's walls.
Here is that impressive glass wine cellar up close:
On our second night at the hotel, my husband and I invited another couple that we've been friends with for many years to have dinner with us at this lounge. 38º North offers the kind of dining that's quite sophisticated yet casual and unpretentious. We started our evening by having a few cocktails to get our appetites going. The restaurant has a great cocktail menu, and here are some highlights in photos.
The Caribbean Sidecar Cocktail is a nice, moderately sweet drink that I really enjoyed:
The Vesper is a martini style drink for those who enjoy non-sweet cocktails:
Salted Agave Punch is a refreshing Tequila drink with a cucumber flavor - quite nice!
What is really cool about this restaurant is that their menu is on a tablet, and you have an option to email to yourself everything you ordered which is quite handy for a food blogger! 🙂
After a couple of cocktails, it was time to move on to food. We started with their "small bites" menu. Keep in mind that there were four of us eating, so we ordered quite a few items. Let the photos speak for themselves!
Chicken Meatballs with spicy tomato curry:
Grown Up Mac and Cheese with Lobster and Black Truffle:
Vineyard Escargots baked in a garlic and parsley herb butter:
Caesar Salad - perfect for salad lovers and adding some fiber to your dinner!
Thai Spiced Crispy Chicken Wings:
Classic French Onion Soup:
Maine Lobster Bisque "Cappuccino":
And, finally, the highlight of the "small bites" menu was Tsar Nicoulai Select Caviar served traditional style:
Here is the caviar up close - looks delicious, doesn't it?
After the caviar, we moved on to their "larger bites" menu, ordering just a couple of items, since we were quite full by then. Their "larger bites" menu is smaller than the "smaller bites" menu, since it's a lounge style restaurant.
So here's what we ordered from the "larger bites" menu:
Poutine with potato fries smothered with a creamy smoked bacon gravy and topped with Melted Cheddar was pure comfort food:
The steak dinner was served bistro-style with french fries:
When it was time to order desserts, I was excited to see that lots of dessert items were gluten free which is great for a gluten free person like me! We ordered 3 dessert items from the menu - which turned out to be a perfect amount to be shared by 4 people:
The chocolate truffles were delicious and there were 3 different kinds of truffles on the plate. Being a chocolate lover, this was my favorite dessert:
Trio of Creme Brulee was amazing as well - Vanilla Bean, Green Tea, and Chocolate. My friends loved it!
Finally, fresh Macaroons came in three's as well. I really liked that each of the three dessert entrees came as trios. It adds variety and creates a really nice presentation. The macaroons were so good! The flavors included Blood Orange, Buttered Rum Milk Chocolate, Red Currant and Peppermint Dark Chocolate. My favorite of the three was the chocolate macaroon with the Peppermint center:
Staying at Fairmont Sonoma was a great, relaxing retreat, and we really enjoyed spending time at this historic hotel with its beautiful Spanish Colonial Mission style buildings. The food was excellent at 38º North, and it was nice to have the in-house Willow Stream Spa with natural hot springs right at our finger tips whenever we wanted it. We had lots of privacy and seclusion which was what we were looking for, yet, when we needed it, the hotel transportation was available to take us to downtown Sonoma, which was just a few minutes away by car. I hope to be back soon!