The sparkle that characterizes Sonoma County keeps getting brighter, boosting Northern California’s appeal to visitors. Air-travel options are on the rise, new hotels are popping up while others are expanding or being reinspired, and a new commuter train is getting ready to roll out.
Air travel directly into Wine Country has never been easier, thanks to a widening array of air carriers joining forces with Charles M. Schulz-Sonoma County Airport (STS). American Airlines began service earlier this year, and recently announced a second daily flight beginning in June. Also this month, United Airlines will start offering several nonstop daily flights into San Francisco International Airport (SFO). And later this summer, Sun Country Airlines will launch seasonal, nonstop flights in and out of Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport (MSP).
Meanwhile, the Sonoma-Marin Area Rail Transit passenger railway and bicycle-pedestrian pathway project—known as SMART, has released its initial train schedule as it gets ready to welcome its first commuters on board in the coming weeks. The trains will serve a 70-mile corridor through Sonoma and Marin counties, with 34 trips each weekday, plus connections with its public-transit partners. Bicycle-pedestrian pathways will provide access to the 10 stations along the route.
Long a favorite of tourists and meeting planners with its central location, the Hyatt Vineyard Creek Hotel & Spa in Santa Rosa is in the midst of a significant expansion that will add four stories to its existing property. When it’s all said and done later this year, there will be an additional 90 rooms on top of the existing 153 — which also are being renovated.
Lodging growth in Santa Rosa continues to rise, led by Marriott, with two hotels slated to open in 2018. The 115-room Residence Inn by Marriott will be located at 3558 Round Barn Circle. And the 142-room AC Hotel by Marriott will be situated downtown at 210 5th St. The hotelier describes this newer brand as “modern design for modern business.” AC Hotels feature European-inspired breakfasts, and have replaced room service with the flexibility of a quick snack or evening tapas plates. The properties’ bartenders are armed with an abundance of knowledge to share with guests about what’s new and happening in the city.
One of the most anticipated and inspired lodging options in Santa Rosa scheduled to welcome guests this summer is the revitalized Astro Motel, first opened in 1963. The project aims to recapture the motel’s origins, yet also infuse it with a more modern design.
On the heels of its 200-room luxury hotel and convention-space grand opening in November 2016, Graton Resort & Casino in Rohnert Park already has an expansion proposal in the works. Plans include building an additional 200 hotel rooms, new meeting rooms, and expanding the convention facility. Opened in late 2013, owned by the Federated Indians of Graton Rancheria, and operated by Station Casinos of Las Vegas, Graton Resort & Casino ranks as one of California’s five largest casinos.
The eco-friendly and pet-friendly Oxford Suites just off Highway 101 in Rohnert Park, is now taking reservations for stays beginning Aug. 1. The property will include 163 suites on five floors, conference facilities, the Oxford Bistro restaurant and lounge, a fitness center, and an outdoor pool and spa. Complimentary amenities will include a full hot breakfast buffet, evening receptions, wireless Internet access, and free parking.
Also on the horizon for Rohnert Park is the Cambria Hotel & Suites Sonoma County, a four-story, 132-room hotel that will include a restaurant and lounge, as well as meeting space. The hotel, part of a larger project known as Five Creek, is slated to open in 2019.
Find your passion in Sonoma County, located only 30 miles/50 kilometers north of San Francisco and featuring more than 425 wineries, 100-plus organic farms, and 50 miles/80 kilometers of stunning Pacific Ocean coastline.
For a free visitors guide or information on hotels, wineries, events, spas, attractions, and dining in Sonoma County, visit www.sonomacounty.com or call +1-707-522-5800.