When my husband and I were first married, taking off for a spur of the moment weekend trip wasn’t a problem – we just went. But then we had kids, and things got complicated.
Now, I know couples who have no issue taking their newborn with them wherever they go; smiling through the constant diaper changes and feedings – but my husband and I were never those kind of parents…not even close.
Fortunately, there are plenty of hotels in Sonoma County that understand that it can be a struggle to keep the whole crew content, and they’re more than happy to help out. Here are 6 local hotels that have the kind of family-friendly amenities that will make a trip with the kids a rousing success – or, at the very least, a lot less stressful:
The Inn at the Tides – Bodega Bay
This is a great hotel for a sea-loving family. When you’re done building castles in the sand and running around on the beach, there’s an arcade game room to entertain older kids and an outdoor pool for everyone. I like that this hotel is an easy 13 mile drive from the Korbel Champagne Cellars, and my husband likes that it’s near Armstrong Redwoods State Natural Reserve so he can take the boys hiking.
The Inn at the Tides family friendly amenities include: an outdoor pool, free Wi-Fi, complimentary cribs or infant beds in the room, and laundry facilities (any parent with younger kids knows that the laundry facilities are like a golden ticket).
Even the most sullen teenager will crack a smile when they get a load of this pool, and the view beyond.
Reserve your family-friendly room: The Inn at the Tides 800 Coast Hwy One, Bodega Bay, Ca 94923, 800-916-4339, innatthetides.com
Flamingo Conference Resort & Spa – Santa Rosa
It may be the mid-century modern architecture, or the large obelisk with neon signs, but The Flamingo Hotel always makes me think of old Las Vegas. This resort-style hotel is located close to downtown Santa Rosa, and within easy driving distance to all sorts of family fun, like the Charles Schultz museum, Howarth Park, and the Children’s Museum of Sonoma County.
The Flamingo’s family-friendly amenities include: Outdoor pools, children’s pool free Wi-Fi, outdoor tennis courts, laundry facilities, babysitting or childcare, refrigerator in room, and a microwave (on request). It may seem like a simple thing, but the microwave is a big deal if you have kids who snack (all the time, every day) making it possible for you to reheat leftovers at 10 p.m., instead of calling room service, again.
It doesn’t matter if it’s the middle of October, Sonoma County is still warm enough to justify an afternoon dip in the pool. There’s plenty of space to lounge by the pool at the Flamnigo while watching the kids swim, or fit in some exercise by doing a couple of laps.
Reserve your family-friendly room: 2777 4th St, Santa Rosa, CA 95405, (707) 545-8530. www.flamingoresort.com
Inn at Sonoma, A Four Sisters Inn – Sonoma
The Inn at Sonoma is one of the more upscale family getaways in Sonoma County, and they’ll welcome you and your brood with open arms. I appreciate the proximity to Sonoma Plaza (only two blocks away) and that the hotel has bikes for riding around downtown or on the mile-long bike path by the hotel.
The Inn at Sonoma, A Four Sisters Inn’s family-friendly amenities include: High-speed Wi-Fi, complimentary breakfast as well as a complimentary manager’s reception, a library, coffee, tea and cookies in a common area – and plenty of bottled water (if there’s a chance to stow some water bottles in my bag, I always do – the boys run wild wherever we go, and one of them will inevitably claim that they’re absolutely parched).
There’s no pool at the Inn at Sonoma, but there is an outdoor, uncovered hot tub on the second floor of the main inn building. This is definitely a much appreciated adult-only amenity.
Reserve your family-friendly room: Inn at Sonoma, A Four Sisters Inn, 630 Broadway, Sonoma, CA 95476, (707) 939-1340. www.innatsonoma.com
Holiday Inn Express Windsor Sonoma Wine Country – Windsor
In my experience, Holiday Inn can be hit-or-miss. But their services have improved considerably, and they remain a family-friendly hotel chain. The Holiday Inn Express in Windsor is an affordable wine country option, within close proximity to hundreds of wineries, and to Santa Rosa and Healdsburg.
The Holiday Inn Express Windsor Sonoma Wine Country’s family-friendly amenities include: Outdoor pool, free Wi-Fi, laundry facilities, refrigerator, and microwave. The rooms are basic – but they have what you need to recharge for a day of new adventures.
If your kids want to take a break from exploring the surrounding area, this pool is the perfect place to spend a balmy afternoon.
Reserve your family-friendly room: Holiday Inn Express Windsor Sonoma Wine Country. 8865 Conde Ln, Windsor, CA 95492, (707) 837-0808. www.ihg.com
Fountaingrove Inn Hotel & Conference Center – Santa Rosa
The architecture at the Fountaingrove Inn will add an eclectic element to your family holiday. While located only 5 miles from downtown Santa Rosa, this hotel feels a world away from anything everyday.
The Fountaingrove Inn Hotel & Conference Center’s family-friendly amenities include: free Wi-Fi, in-room childcare (there is a surcharge for this), in-room refrigerator, and complimentary cribs or infant beds. The infant bed is a fantastic addition if you aren’t a fan of co-sleeping (although, when we go somewhere new, my kids always crawl into bed with us to feel safe).
The in-room childcare comes in handy when you want to spend some time at the Fountaingrove Inn bar lounge.
Reserve your family-friendly room: Fountaingrove Inn Hotel & Conference Center, 101 Fountaingrove Pkwy, Santa Rosa, CA 95403. (707) 578-6101. www.fountaingroveinn.com
Hotel Healdsburg – Healdsburg
Hotel Healdsburg is hands-down the fanciest hotel on this list, but if you’re headed to Healdsburg you may as well stay in style. The hotel has a full-service spa, complimentary bikes available to use around town, gourmet breakfast, and a craft cocktail bar. Sure, the kids will have fun, but it’s the adults who will be the big winners on this vacation.
The Hotel Healdsburg’s family-friendly amenities include: an outdoor pool, free Wi-Fi, complimentary cribs or infant beds, and an in-room DVD player. The rooms have a sleek modern design, and the Premier King room is decorated with paintings by local artist Wade Hoefer.
This sixty-foot pool is surrounded by a landscaped garden, and the pool bar is open for drinks and dining service during the summer. Soak in the jacuzzi while the kids are swimming. Who said vacationing with children couldn’t be relaxing?
Reserve your family-friendly room: Hotel Healdsburg, 25 Matheson St, Healdsburg, CA 95448, (707) 431-2800. www.hotelhealdsburg.com
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