It’s been a while since any Hollywood celebrities or jet-setters were spotted poolside at the Flamingo Resort in Santa Rosa. Following a recent renovation, reported to have cost nearly $20 million, the property is once again shaping up as a place to be seen.
An old-school, Vegas-style neon sign still welcomes guests as they arrive at the Flamingo. But when they pull up to the new porte-cochère, they’ll discover that the mid-century hotel has received a facelift that makes it look both stylishly retro and contemporary sleek. At the resort entrance, floor-to-ceiling windows now frame the pool and courtyard area beyond. It is a good spot for a picture — but you might just want to keep your phone handy, the photogenic lobby is just steps away.
Upon entering the resort, your eyes are immediately drawn to a large mural created by San Francisco artist Serge Gay, Jr. An explosion of color, it depicts a lobby receptionist called Monroe, who is busy taking room calls while channeling Marilyn. Don’t forget to look up: a chandelier that combines pendant lamps with foliage and feathers is another playful design element in the lobby.
Instead of a traditional front desk, guests are greeted at a counter that resembles a kitchen island. The intention behind this more informal layout was to make guests feel as if they are entering a home, rather than a business, said Wendi Gelfound, director of sales and marketing at the Flamingo Resort.
Set on 10 acres, the Flamingo Resort boasts 170 rooms and suites located in five two-story buildings. Built in 1957, the hotel has been carefully modernized to retain its 1950s charm. Along with comfortable beds and USB ports, guests will find fun retro touches in their rooms, like mint green Trimline telephones and matching tea kettles. Soothing color schemes, teak millwork and abundant natural light come together to create a relaxing vibe and nostalgic ambiance. There’s even a family room with bunk beds for kids.
Scattered throughout the property are half a dozen custom-made pieces by Bay Area artists. Guests are encouraged to wander the grounds to take in the artwork — the HYBYCOZO garden sculpture at the hotel entrance takes on a whole new life after the sun goes down as it glows in the dark. Returning guests should take a closer look at the rope art installation by San Francisco based artist Windy Chien, which hangs in the resort’s event foyer, in what was previously the hotel lobby. If you have memories of what this space used to look like, you might have trouble believing your eyes.
With an eye toward sustainability, hydration stations have been installed throughout hotel grounds. All rooms have refillable glass water pitchers as well as refillable toiletry dispensers in an effort to cut down on single-use plastics.
With California set to fully reopen by mid-June, the staff at the Flamingo has high hopes for the summer season and beyond. In addition to returning guests sharing memories of the resort with their families, the hotel is hoping to attract younger, millennial travelers.
“We think that people will look to something that’s fresh, a little different, it’s not a cookie-cutter box. It’s still very approachable in price and it has amenities,” said Wendi Gelfound.
A neighborhood hotel that once hosted Hollywood luminaries like Jayne Mansfield and Frankie Avalon, the Flamingo has plenty of stories from halcyon days spent by the pool. Heated year-round, the pool and spacious inner courtyard will continue to serve as the social hub of the property. A list of poolside plans are in the works, including a vintage trailer that will be converted into a bar, and a cold water bucket experience which guests will be able to pair with a dip in the hot tub.
The new Lazeaway Club restaurant offers indoor and outdoor dining by the pool from a menu with a Cal-Pacific twist (read the review here). The pop-up Wild Bird, which gained a loyal following during the pandemic, will offer more casual poolside service and some of its menu items will be available for in-room dining, too. Work is also being finished on a music lounge, with hopes of hosting a series of outdoor concerts this summer.
The second Sunday of every month, guests and community members are welcome to take part in the resort’s self-care series, hosted in partnership with Montecito Heights Health Club and Spa. Activities like Vinyasa yoga, Shamanic breath work and sound healing with Tibetan singing bowls take place throughout the day. An additional fee is required.
Flamingo Resort, 2777 4th St, Santa Rosa, 707-545-8530, flamingoresort.com. Rates start at $189 a night, plus a $29 experience fee. Resort guests have access to the Montecito Heights Health Club and Spa.