By Kim Michele
In the spirit of loving and caring for our environment, consider making your travels during the month of love a green occasion, with an eco-friendly getaway to one of North America’s most beautifully sustainable areas; Northern California. From the San Francisco Bay Area, through wine country and up to Mendocino County, sustainability and luxury are almost one in the same. With hidden boutique hotels and farm-to-table restaurants, to award winning chefs and sustainable wineries, this part of the country offers some of the best eco-pampering around. Wherever your romantic desires lie, Northern California will treat you to a variety of green options, guaranteed to leave a lighter footprint.
A Wellness Story
If you are looking to ease the demands of everyday life and pamper your inner self, a visit to the Stanford Inn in Mendocino County will certainly do the trick. The property is one with its surrounding nature and engulfs you with its inspiring energy. The 41-room resort sits on the banks of the Big River and is surrounded by the redwood forest to the east and the Pacific Ocean to the west. Focusing on more than just getting away, the Stanford Inn’s Center for Living Well explores health and wellness from every angle, offering everything from yoga, acupuncture, nutrition classes, therapeutic massage and spa services, to gardening, cooking and art classes. The property also welcomes pets, so if you are wondering what to do with Fido while you are away; take him with you!
The rooms at the Stanford Inn are luxuriously welcoming and cabin-like, complete with a fireplace and balcony overlooking the beautiful surroundings. What could be more romantic? There is a beautiful solarium with a heated (saline) pool and Jacuzzi where you can relax and wash away everyday stress. And to whet your appetite, dining in Ravens Restaurant is a special treat. Located in the main lodge, Ravens offers a totally vegan menu, guaranteed to satisfy in every way. Whether or not you are a vegetarian, there is no disputing the deliciousness of the food (50-60% of which is sourced from their own garden). Their main focus is a well-balanced, nutritional diet which fits in well with the eco-consciousness of the property.
'LEED'ing in Luxury
One of Sonoma County’s best kept secrets is the city of Healdsburg, home to the lavishly sustainable h2hotel. With undulating roof gardens, eco-inspired art and spacious guest rooms, h2hotel is located just off the square that marks the center of Healdsburg. Each guest room boasts its own patio or balcony, is lavishly, yet simply decorated with bamboo flooring, ergonomic furniture and health ceramic tiles. Their signature bath products are crafted from natural products while the linens and robes are made from lush organic cottons. There are many small details that set this hotel apart from the rest, including a water bar on each floor offering ice cold or sparkling water.
The h2hotel is also home to spoonbar restaurant which has earned a reputation of being one of Northern California’s best farm-to-table restaurants. With a creatively delicious, market-driven menu, the food is out of this world. Everything is locally sourced, thus seasonal and very artfully presented. You can even take a class on how to make your own homegrown, herbal infused cocktails. If you are looking for a delectable romantic meal, dining at spoonbar won’t disappoint.
A Boon in Green
Looking for something a little more remote? Boon Hotel and Spa is a hip, Zen-like boutique hotel located in the little town of Guerneville in California’s Russian River Valley. Only an hour and a half drive from San Francisco, this eco-friendly, luxurious hotel is both unique and inviting. Entering the property you are given the impression of a Zen retreat, with its quaint yet modern design and calming effect. The gardens are alluring as are the pool and hot tub; both filled with saline and heated using solar power. The rooms are nicely decorated with orange being the accent color, and come with deluxe organic cotton linens and teak shower mats. To add an intimate touch, you can cuddle up together and listen to vintage vinyl on your in-room turntable. This boutique hotel is the perfect escape for a green getaway, providing a romantic spot to escape for a couple of days, while leaving a vastly reduced carbon footprint.
So go ahead and put your heart where it really counts.