Urban chic meets Sonoma County bounty in forward-thinking Healdsburg

Wine country hamlet ratchets up the sophistication level

Early on a Saturday evening, the smooth sound of jazz drifts from the terrace of the Hotel Healdsburg. Stylishly dressed 30-somethings recline on Adirondack chairs, wineglasses perched on armrests, reveling in the last bits of light on this perfect spring day. Outside, the trees on the plaza start to fade into twilight.

Inside the lobby, people lounge at the bar and sprawl on enormous couches grouped around a fireplace. You'd think they were in their own living room. That's just what the Hotel Healdsburg seems to want guests to feel ― a comfortable informality with a sophisticated twist rarely found in traditional Wine Country inns. And people are lapping it up, in droves.

"Healdsburg has become a huge draw, partly because of the hotel," says Christine Hanna, vice president and general manager of Hanna Winery in the nearby Alexander Valley. "It's very cutting edge."

In fact, with its minimalist design, the hotel looks more in keeping with San Francisco's South of Market neighborhood ― or New York City's SoHo ― than with an agriculturally oriented town in Sonoma County. That's typical of Healdsburg, where city sophistication blends seamlessly with farm-town friendliness and rustic charm.


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