Wondering where to stay in Sonoma?
Check out our experience at the newly renovated MacArthur Place.
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Last week, we were fortunate to be able to stay at the newly renovated MacArthur Place, in the heart of downtown Sonoma. We had stayed at MacArthur Place previously, nearly three years ago now, prior to the renovation and were so anxious to see how it hard turned out after the overhaul. The renovation is not quite finished, though the main building and many of the guesthouses are completed. I would take a guess that about 1/4 of the guesthouses are still under construction. The spa and gym will be the last piece to be renovated, during the next down season - they were kept open during the rest of the work to ensure guests had something to keep them entertained!
Overall, MacArthur place is a gem and this renovation has been a huge success. In particular, it features stunning rooms and grounds, in addition to a number of special touches, including a nightly happy hour with local wine and cheese, free of charge to guests and hosted in the newly spruced-up lobby.
In the Heart of Sonoma
I should start by saying that MacArthur Place really does have the most phenomenal location. Easy walking distance from Downtown Sonoma, the walk is through quaint homes, shops, small offices, and dentist offices, and even past the original Williams Sonoma.
Sonoma's town square, the largest in the U.S., is home to nearly 30 tasting rooms of the surrounding wineries, along with high-end restaurants, such as The Girl and the Fig, where we had lunch on our first day. No matter what your plans for your visit to Sonoma, you really can't select a better location than MacArthur's. In addition to our time downtown, we also drove to several wineries that are just outside of town - Gloria Ferrer is about a 10-minute drive. And, of course, Napa is only about half an hour away (though, if I have to choose, I'd highly recommend picking Sonoma over Napa for your wine country adventure).
MacArthur Place's Grounds
MacArthur Place's grounds are perhaps its strongest attribute, after the incredible location. The hotel is actually a compilation of two-story guest houses and buildings supporting the hotel, such as the check-in and restaurant, all of which are connected by well-maintained pathways, sporting some gorgeous flowers. I find it one of the most relaxing places we've stayed that wasn't on an ocean. A world away from the hustle and bustle of a fairly busy tourist trip to wine country, full of trotting in an out of bachelorette-filled wineries, being able to take a quick stroll around the grounds really is relaxing.
Spa, Hot Tub, and Pool
MacArthur Place boasts a spa, small gym, and nice pool and hot tub, all of which are currently open, though, we were informed, the spa will undergo its renovations in the 2019-20 down season. The building that houses the spa is also home to the gift shop, which sells a few fun Sonoma-themed trinkets (I bought a mug that says 750 mL is my happy place).
The pool has been upgraded with new chairs and umbrellas. Some adirondack chairs are also available in the surrounding grass. A hot tub is available, if you have more conducive weather than we did!
Exploring the Renovated Guestrooms
Definitely for the better, the guestrooms at MacArthur place are unrecognizable after their recent revamp. Formerly featuring a very heavy horse/ranch vibe, the rooms have been thoroughly modernized, with crisp, textiled walls, and patterned ceilings, all in muted oatmeal, black, white, and gray.
The rooms are quite large - we opted for the smallest room size, a Standard Guestroom, and found it to be plenty of size for the two of us, even though we did spend a fair amount of time at the resort. We had two of the lounge chairs (to the left, below), in addition to a small seating area with two chairs and a table large enough to work at or share a small meal. Lighting throughout the room and bathroom was able to be changed from a cool network of control boxes, and arranged to suit the mood - relaxed, full lighting, low lighting, etc. Motion sensors were also triggered upon entrance into the bathroom - a nice feature!
Thankfully, the room is fully stocked with both coffee and tea facilities for morning, and wine-uncorcking supplies for evening. Interestingly, rather than a traditional coffee maker, they supplied a kettle and instant coffee in the form of tea bags.
I found this not only tasty, but also a bit more hygienic than whatever a much-used and abused hotel coffee maker can usually churn out. The Husband wasn't a fan - but, never fear, there's a coffee shop on site. Turndown service was some of the most thorough I've seen lately - especially with the variety of beverage options being used!
Like the bedroom, the bathrooms have had a complete overhaul, and the installation of a number of intriguing features, including my personal absolute favorite: heated floors in the shower.
Layla at MacArthur Place
The most highly-anticipated change for us, and likely most guests, was the new restaurant and bar at MacArthur Place, Layla. The restaurant underwent a complete overhaul of both the physical space and, of course, the menu. The footprint of the restaurant in the building has changed - removing a small hallway and opening up the windows. The decor is light and barn-like, featuring oversized basket-esque lighting, light-colored furnishings, and pottery-based serving dishes and plates. Gorgeous outdoor seating is available toward the back, spreading onto a patio.
Replacing the former, much-loved and heavily horse-themed Saddles, Layla features a Mediterranean-centered menu, with hummus and delicious tzatziki (we tried both!) as the main starters, followed by a selection of seafood and steaks. The menu is small and the dishes are all well-done, with just the right mix of Mediterranean flavor infusion, when accompanied by the selection of local wines (a full bar is also available). I opted for the salmon which was excellent, accompanied by a flavorful bed of couscous.
The bar area, too, has been completely changed. A delicious and considerately-priced bar menu is available (try the hamburger - it's absolutely phenomenal. We're still talking about it!!) and the dinner menu is available as well.
The renovations to MacArthur Place are a triumph. Combined with the phenomenal location, friendly atmosphere, and incredible scenery, you can't go wrong making MacArthur place your home base on your next trip to Sonoma County!
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