Discover Northern California By Air, Sea And Land

By Pati Navalta Poblete | November 21, 2019 | Lifestyle


The Fairmont San Francisco penthouse terrace affords breathtaking views of the bay and landmarks, including the Transamerica Pyramid.

Let’s face it: The Bay Area in Northern California is truly spoiled. Mountain ranges, towering redwoods, bucolic vineyards, nature preserves and, of course, the beautiful bay. Throw in the Mediterranean climate, and you understand why it’s such a sought-after address for both bohemians and billionaires alike. Three Fairmont hotels have created unique experiences showcasing and celebrating the best that nature has to offer in their respective regions. From air to sea to land, your ultimate vacation is only a plane ride away.


Crew members with Sonoma Ballooning Adventures prepare for a flight before sunrise over Sonoma Valley.

Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn & Spa
Located above an ancient thermal mineral spring, streaming from 1,100 feet below the surface, this hotel is all about its 40,000-square-foot Willow Stream Spa. Zen-seekers have four geothermal pools from which to choose, including the spa’s signature Watsu pool experience. Guests are encouraged to place flotation noodles under their neck and legs to experience a full floating massage in the mineral water, kept at a comfortable 98 degrees. And, no, the music you’re hearing isn’t in your head. The pool comes with an underwater sound system to lull you into a deeper realm of relaxation. Guests can also reserve private cabanas for small groups and experience a European bathing ritual in the bathhouse, which includes exfoliating showers, two mineral-water soaking pools, herbal steam and a dry sauna lined with an illuminated wall made of Himalayan salt. For those seeking something more spiritual, intuitive readings (60 minutes for $169) offer insights about your current life challenges and goals. The property is surrounded by wineries, so why not take them all in at once? Nearby Sonoma Ballooning Adventures (standard package $219, private charter $2,200) has a three-hour experience beginning at dawn, lifting you up just in time to catch the sunrise. At its height, you’ll be surrounded by panoramic views of Sonoma Valley, local vineyards, rolling hills of Petaluma and distant views of the San Francisco Bay. The hotel concierge will take care of all the details for you, including transportation to the launch site. Suite rates from $419 per night


A yacht excursion on the Diamond Seas on the San Francisco Bay

Fairmont San Francisco
This luxury hotel may be the very reason why Tony Bennett left his heart in San Francisco. Located atop tony Nob Hill, the Fairmont’s rooms offer breathtaking panoramic views of the cityscape and the bay. The grand entrance to the hotel’s opulent lobby alone lets you know you’re not in Kansas anymore. The property, built in 1907, is so scenic that numerous movies and TV shows have been filmed there, including The Rock, Vertigo, The Intern and, most recently, Netflix’s Always Be My Maybe, with a scene-stealer shot in the hotel’s famed penthouse. Speaking of which, the penthouse is one of six one-of-a-kind suites among the hotel’s 606 guest rooms, including the Fairmont presidential suite, Diplomat Tony Bennett suite, Napoleon two-bedroom suite, Buckingham balcony suite and Cambridge suite. And even at $18,000 per night, it’s safe to say you get your money’s worth with the penthouse suite. You’ll have plenty of room in this 6,000-square-foot space with an expansive terrace, a billiard room, three bedrooms, a formal dining room and that famous library with that famous hidden door. Located in the only spot in the city where each of the cable cars meet, San Francisco sightseeing requires only footsteps and a cable car ride. But for a truly San Francisco experience, take your adventure on the bay. Talk to the concierge about your options for a day on the water—from dinner cruises to sailboats to a yacht. Suite rates from $599 per night


A table at the Fairmont San Jose’s Fountain Restaurant

Fairmont San Jose
The hotel is located in the heart of the city’s downtown area, with no shortage of entertainment options, including the San Jose Museum of Art, Tech Museum of Innovation, the Japanese American Museum of San Jose, parks and the NHL’s San Jose Sharks. The hotel’s corporate feel makes it suitable for work meetings, but its Chef’s Table dinners are a draw for a night out and give diners a chance to meet executive chef Marcelo Salinas and taste his seasonal dishes before they are offered on the menu of the hotel’s Fountain Restaurant. Fun fact: The restaurant was originally a soda shop and creamery, which is why the wall art features cows. Each of the four courses includes wine pairings from Lexington Wine Co. in Saratoga. Salinas is masterful with aromatics and flavor; you’ll definitely want a seat at this table. Ask the concierge to book an excursion to the Byington Vineyard & Winery, located in the Santa Cruz Mountains. The property boasts 95 acres with gorgeous views of the mountains and Monterey Bay, not to mention its pinot noir vineyards. Visitors can tour the winemaking facilities, tasting room, wine cave, and, on a clear day, have a picnic and take a hike on the grounds. Suite rates from $209 per night

Photography by: Yacht photo by Pati Navalta Poblete; all other photos courtesy of Fairmont Hotels & Resorts