Sonoma, What's New in Sonoma County

The Big Chill: New Rain Tunnel at Fairmont Sonoma

Regulars of the Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn & Spa’s Willow Stream Spa are familiar with the six-step “bathing ritual,” where guests take full advantage of the thermal mineral waters common in the area. An exfoliating shower, a soak in two mineral-water pools, and herbal steam and dry-sauna treatments are followed by one of several cool-down showers.

Now there’s a chilling change. The final showers have been replaced by something much more luxurious: the Rain Tunnel. And it leaves many guests shrieking, just a little.

Photo courtesy of Willow Stream Spa at Sonoma Mission Inn.
Photo courtesy of Willow Stream Spa at Sonoma Mission Inn.

The tunnel is a multifaceted glass shower that allows guests to “take the waters” in several whimsical ways. The experience is a blend of ancient healing ritual and state-of-the-art technology. Fed by artesian mineral water, an overhead mist gently hydrates the face. Move next to the dancing waters spurting from a river-rock floor. Then it’s on to a waterfall that cascades over the shoulders, designed to wash away tension and stress.

It’s the final step that gets the biggest reaction, and one not necessarily associated with a relaxing experience. A strategically placed wooden bucket with a cord attached is perched overhead. Those brave enough to pull the cord are doused with cold water, and many let out an involuntary screech —and a few laughs — breaking the silence of the otherwise tranquil setting. It’s a playful twist on the typical spa experience.

100 Boyes Blvd., Sonoma, 877-289-7354,

Editor’s Note: Travel, dining and wine tasting can be complicated right now. Use our inspirational ideas to plan ahead for your next outing, be it this week or next year. If you visit restaurants, wineries, and other businesses during the pandemic, remember to call ahead, make reservations, wear a mask and social distance.

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