The Spa at Kenwood Inn
The Spa at Kenwood Inn
The Spa at Kenwood Inn

Squinting, I reached over to the bed-side clock and realized it was 8am.

An evening had passed. I was snuggled between luxurious sheets at the Kenwood Inn and Spa. Cloudy, grey skies peeked in from behind the heavy drapes that adorned the Mediterranean-style room. At the foot of the bed, dark embers enclosed in a statuesque fireplace are the only evidence of the fire that graced the walls last night with a warm glow.

My luxurious king size bed at the Kenwood Inn and Spa.
My luxurious king size bed at the Kenwood Inn and Spa.

An hour until my massage at The Spa.

I rolled out of bed and stepped into the large stone shower and lavished my hair in Arcona shampoo and conditioner. The scents, accentuated by the steam rising from the hot water, were a relaxing prelude to my massage. I stepped out, dried my hair, slathered my body in rich lotion and wrapped myself in one of the robes hanging on the back of the bathroom door.

On my way to breakfast, I couldn’t resist trying a biscotti from a tiny crystal bowl sitting on the side table. It had nice big chunks of hazelnuts. Before I grabbed another I reminded myself to save room for breakfast.

I lingered on the fresh squeezed orange juice which so few places now serve; there really is no substitute. The coffee, which is a private blend, sourced from a place in Seattle was perfect. Karl Bruno, the general manager at Kenwood Inn had told me there was an extensive selection process for a coffee blend using blind taste tests. Their efforts were not in vain.

Breakfast of polenta, poached eggs and bacon.
Breakfast: polenta, poached eggs and bacon.

I bit into a croissant noting it was very good if not as good as the ones I’ve had in Italy or Belgium. These croissants were made by a chef in Hawaii who freezes them and are freshly baked in the ovens at Kenwood Inn.

The banana nut bread was made from scratch by Ron, the Chef de Cuisine, and I could tell. It had a moistness that is hard to replicate unless hand-crafted and baked fresh.

Finally, I sampled the hot breakfast dish of polenta, poached eggs and bacon. I stabbed into the eggs and the golden yellow centers melted over the polenta. The combination of the polenta texture, creaminess of the egg yolk and the saltiness from the bacon was well-balanced and the ultimate comfort food on a drizzly day in Sonoma wine country.

Water wheel. Behind, a secluded hot tub and steam shower for romantic interludes. I plead the fifth.
Water wheel. Behind, a secluded hot tub and steam shower for romantic interludes. I plead the fifth.

With good food, time must fly because before I knew it, Stacey, the Spa Director walked into the breakfast area.

It was 9:10 am and I knew this was my cue to tear myself away from breakfast and follow Stacey past Kumquat trees, water fountains and pools to the renowned spa which was voted the top resort spa in the United States by Condé Nast Traveler Magazine.

I thought, strangely that the clouds and light sprinkling of rain brought out the peacefulness of this Mediterranean-style villa and its surrounding vineyard views.

Kenwood-Inn-Spa-October-2009-Event-59I entered The Spa and was greeted by my massage therapist. I was whisked quickly into the treatment room having only time for a quick glance at the waiting room which had large arm chairs and yes, another fireplace. The entire property has fireplaces in almost every room and every available outdoor wall.

I have two passions in life, sushi and massages. You could say I’ve had more than my fair share of each.

On first impressions, I liked the ambiance of the spa which extended the feel of the entire Kenwood Inn. The music was very relaxing, the massage table was the perfect firm plushness and the sheets were smooth, fresh and cool against the body.

Face down, I feel a hot towel placed on my back, the heat penetrates into my tense shoulder muscles, an affliction common to those that reside in Silicon Valley.

The massage is a combination of relaxation and deep tissue. Well-time hot towels are strategically placed on the feet and neck luring me into a deeper state of relaxation. Upon turning on my back, I feel a refreshing spritz on my face followed by lightly weighted eye mask. Hard pressure placed on the bottom of my feet caused me to realize how much tension was also in that part of my body.

The eighty minutes flew by and when the end came, I wished it didn’t. A true sign of a good massage.

Kenwood Inn and Spa
10400 Sonoma Highway,
Kenwood, California 95452

Phone: (707) 833-1293

Disclosure: this was part of a press event.

Loni Stark
Loni Stark is an artist at Atelier Stark, self-professed foodie, and adventure travel seeker who has a lifelong passion for technology’s impact on business and creativity. She collaborates with Clinton Stark on video projects for Atelier Stark Films. It’s been said her laugh can be heard from San Jose all the way up to the Golden Gate Bridge. She makes no claims to super powers, although sushi is definitely her Kryptonite.