San Francisco North Bay Hotels Named Among Best by Esquire – Sonoma Magazine

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Four hotels in the North Bay were recently highlighted as part of Esquire’s list of recommended luxury accommodations, “The 41 Best New Hotels in North America and Europe 2024.”

Dawn Ranch in Guerneville, The Sea Ranch Lodge, the Dillon Beach Resort and the Lodge at Marconi in Tomales Bay all made the magazine’s list of great hotels that “can change the way you see yourself in the world.”

In choosing the list of hotels that made the cut, Esquire said that it looked for hotels that not only offer luxury, but also provide guests with a stay that offers them a special way of seeing the neighborhood and city that surround them.

“The most memorable travel experiences are the ones we didn’t expect and can’t replicate anywhere else,” said the magazine.

The magazine is effusive in its description of Dawn Ranch and Guerneville, which it said is “quite possibly one of the most fun places in all of California.” Among the features that adds to the appeal of this “bohemian enclave,” according to Esquire, are its breweries, wineries, restaurants and diners, its proximity to Armstrong Redwoods State Natural Reserve and the Russian River, and the events it hosts such as the LGBTQ+ gathering, Lazy Bear Week.

A guest room at Dawn Ranch in Guerneville. (Gentl and Hyers/Dawn Ranch)
A guest room at Dawn Ranch in Guerneville. (Gentl and Hyers/Dawn Ranch)
gleaming bathrooms with handmade sage-green tile that echoes the colors of the trees and river. (Gentl and Hyers/Dawn Ranch)
Gleaming bathrooms with handmade sage-green tile that echoes the colors of the trees and river at Dawn Ranch in Guerneville. (Gentl and Hyers/Dawn Ranch)

Noting Dawn Ranch was damaged by the flood in early 2019 and reopened just last year after a multi-million-dollar renovation, Esquire said, “the entire property retains a warm, summer-camp feel with an array of cabins, cottages, and glamping tents.” The Dawn Ranch restaurant, the Lodge, is perhaps the “crown jewel” of the hotel’s amenities, according to the magazine. Chef Fernando Trocca’s menu combines traditional Argentine and Uruguayan dishes with fresh California ingredients.

“Be sure to get a bottle from the wine list, which is robust and features more than a few spectacular choices from the Sonoma coast,” advises Esquire.

The magazine also has nothing but good things to say about the Sea Ranch Lodge and the coastal area near the northern border of Sonoma County.

“The Sea Ranch Lodge is that rare place that attracts those with an affinity for nature, modern architecture, and design and an appreciation for how all of these things can be inspirational in their own right and downright spiritual when combined in the right ways,” said Esquire.

Many of the redesigned guest rooms at The Sea Ranch Lodge offer cozy window seats that encourage guests to linger and take in sweeping coastal views. (Adam Potts)
Many of the redesigned guest rooms at The Sea Ranch Lodge offer cozy window seats that encourage guests to linger and take in sweeping coastal views. (Adam Potts)

The 1960s-era coastal lodge unveiled a refreshed look in 2021 with new public spaces open to all, including a redesigned restaurant, a new café, and expansions to the bar, lounge, and general store. Last year, the property debuted its redesigned guest rooms. Though the hotel accommodations, bar and restaurant all enhance the experience, the heart of traveling to this place is being able to take in its incredible natural surroundings, according to the magazine.

“You don’t come here for the luxury. At the end of a day of hiking, hitting the community pool, walking the beach, and observing the way sea-foam can float into the air, all eyes look out toward the horizon and the setting sun, which will eventually give way to a pitch-dark night of stars,” said the magazine.

The Dillon Beach Resort received high marks for the way it combines an easy going vibe with its first rate accommodations. “Was scrappy luxury already a thing or did Dillon Beach Resort invent it?” mused the magazine.

The resort features a collection of tiny homes that were added last year to the hillside of the property overlooking the mouth of Tomales Bay, as well as “coastal cabins” that accommodate up to six people, equipped with their own private fire pit and yard for grilling.

But if you don’t want to prepare your own food, there are plenty of delectable options at the resort restaurant.

“The Coastal Kitchen, attached to a general store and surf shop, is a gathering place with an approachable wine list from the legendary wineries of surrounding Sonoma County and an unmissable clam chowder,” said the magazine.

Lodge at Marconi guestroom
Guest room at Lodge at Marconi. (Lodge at Marconi)

Not far from Dillon Beach, located in Tomales Bay, is The Lodge at Marconi. The property has a colorful history, beginning with its founding in 1915 as a radio receiving station and hotel for employees of Guglielmo Marconi, an inventor of the radio.

Following a recent renovation, the lodge now features “a collection of funky-cool cottages perched on a verdant, secluded hillside overlooking Tomales Bay.”

There are plenty of Adirondack chairs, fire pits and common areas where guests can relax during their stay. Noting that the lodge is located near great trails for hiking, oyster farms and cheesemakers, the magazine points out that the silence you can experience at the end of a busy day might just be its best attribute.

“At night, the splashes from the bay and the gentle sounds of the woods will lull you into a deep sleep.”

In addition to the local hotels that made Esquire’s list, other hotels that made the cut in California included the Pendry Newport Beach in Newport Beach, the Drift Palm Springs in Palm Springs and The Line in San Francisco.

Hotels in other parts of the United States on the list included Kona Village, a Rosewood Resort in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii, Mollie Aspen in Colorado, Four Seasons Hotel in Boston, the St. Regis Chicago, Arlo Williamsburg in Brooklyn, and The Fifth Avenue Hotel in New York.

International hotels on the list include The Dorchester in London, Bulgari Rome, Maison Delano France in Paris, Amarla in Panama City and The St. Regis Kanai Resort in Riviera Maya, Mexico.

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