Healdsburg, Napa & Sonoma, United States Book from

Reviewed by Nadine Mellor
Funky eco-chic hotel with living roof, fun restaurant and superb cocktails
This new hotel, designed by architect David Baker, is one whose eco credentials provide the very fabric of the 4-storey property: from sustainable and locally sourced food and drink in the industrial-chic restaurant and bar, spoonbar, to the living green roof, which acts as rainwater filter, cools the hotel in the summer, and provides a haven for insects.

Yet, joyously, form and function work in perfect harmony here - expect not to be deprived of creature comforts in virtuous hair-shirt fashion, but instead to savour well-designed rooms with groovy reclaimed furniture, indulgent bathrooms and plenty of space. To kick back with artistic artisanal cocktails in the sociable bar with friends, family or your loved one. To swim in the pool, then chill in the bright funky lounge with a Flying Goat cup of coffee, or with a glass of water from the water bar (there's one on each floor). And you are just steps away from the delights of downtown Healdsburg - shopping, galleries, tasting rooms and restaurants - and a short drive from the award-winning wineries of Northern Sonoma Wine Country.


  • A smart, modern, sustainable aesthetic, which is also most pleasingly comfortable
  • All 36 immaculate rooms have private balconies or patios
  • Bikes to borrow for free; dedicated space to bring your own
  • Friendly, relaxed staff who contribute to the warm welcoming environment
  • Local artwork includes Spoonfall (a water sculpture made from 2000 spoons) by the entrance, a sunburst of yellow flowers on spoonbar's concrete walls, and the Live Oak photo series rises through a native tree on each storey


  • Get to the bar early as the cocktails are so popular you could be waiting a while
  • Breakfast is a bit average
  • You're charged for valet parking overnight; at busy times there's a dearth of free parking in the town
  • No extra beds available but family friendly rooms have sofabeds; in general this is a good place for families to stay
  • Don't expect a full service hotel - staff may not have all the answers to questions

Best time to go

A great place to visit all year round although winter is a bit glum as most of the annual rainfall falls then. Springtime sees fresh new ingredients on the menus; summers are warm and welcoming, and can get pretty busy; autumn is when the harvest is gathered (including the grape) and days are still balmy. But whatever time of year you'll be sure to find a celebration of wine and food in some guise or other.

Our top tips

Borrow a bike and explore the town and further afield by pedal power. Or you can BYOB (Bring Your Own Bike) as the hotel has bike storage and maintenance facilities. Buy a picnic lunch from any number of eateries in town, and visit the wineries without having to drive.

Great for...

City Style
Great Outdoors
  • = Recommended
  • = Best in region
  • = World favourite
  • Eco-boutique hotel
  • 36
  • Restaurant + bar
  • All ages welcome
  • Open all year
  • Heated Pool
  • Spa Treatments
  • WiFi
  • Pet Friendly
  • Disabled Access
  • Beach Nearby
  • Off-street Parking
  • Restaurants Nearby
  • Air Conditioning
  • Guest Lounge
  • Terrace
  • Garden
  • Gym
  • Bicycles Available
  • Yoga
  • Games


The 36 rooms are spread out over 4 floors and all share a spare, fresh aesthetic that doesn't stint on comfort. Highlight colours are lime green and orange; bamboo floors have a warm grain that also adds visual texture to the room.

We loved the details: keycards inserted upon entry turn on lights, heat and air-conditioning; sliding doors with leather hand pulls maximise space. Beds wear soft organic Coyuchi cotton sheets and are backed by padded green headboards. White louvered doors open either to a funky wrought-iron balcony or patio screened by bamboo. Whimsical prints of native tree species inspired by 19th-century botanic illustrations hang in all rooms.

Eco-King rooms make up the majority of accommodations and have walk-in showers in the all-white tiled bathrooms (sinks are a little splashy). Eco-Studios have a Japanese-inspired soaking tub, too. Both categories can be made up as twins.

The Eco-Suites have two rooms each with its own balcony - the front one overlooks the town, the other to the rear and pool - and the bed cannot be converted to a twin. Instead, two bedrooms can be created as the living room has a double sofabed and separate toilet. The large bathroom has a plunge tub as well as double walk-in shower.

Toiletries are of natural ingredients, custom-made for the hotel and in refillable containers (natch). Every room has an ergonomic desk and chair, contemporary furniture is made of reclaimed wood and there are large built in cupboards. You get a glass carafe and glasses to refill at the water bar (located on every floor, with a choice of still or sparkling H20). Note you shouldn't experience street noise or restaurant chatter as all windows are double-glazed to strive to be as environmentally sound as possible; however side and street-facing rooms may get some on busy weekends.

Features include:

  • Air conditioning
  • Bathrobes
  • Cd player
  • Central heating
  • Coffee maker
  • Coffee tea making
  • Cots Available
  • Dvd player
  • Hairdryer
  • Internet access
  • Ipod dock
  • Iron
  • Minibar/fridge
  • Phone
  • Radio
  • Safe box
  • Satellite tv
  • Terrace
  • Toiletries
  • Tv
  • WiFi
  • Wifi internet


You eat breakfast in the light-filled Receptobar between 6-10am, or you can take it up to your room. Get there early to make sure you find a full selection and choose from homemade granola, an assortment of yummy pastries and muffins, hard boiled eggs and fruit, juices and local Flying Goat coffee and tea.

Contemporary spoonbar restaurant takes up the rest of the ground floor space; in keeping with the sustainable ethos, its tables are made of reclaimed acacia wood. The menu is modern Mediterranean regional fare and, naturally, changes regularly according to season. Executive Chef Rudy Mihal is passionate about sourcing local ingredients and prides himself on his good relations with local farmers.

We started with the small bites. I had never had deep fried stuffed olives before - a real burst of concentrated flavour - and I loved the spicy lamb meatballs.

Appetizer choices included pork belly with winter squash puree, crab salad with grapefruit, and duck liver pate with local date jam. There's also a seafood selection of local oysters and scallops if you're in a romantic mood. Mains are either grains and pasta (think couscous with aubergine or toasted faro with wild mushrooms) or larger plates such as Moorish style chicken or sea bass with champagne vinaigrette. All dishes are presented simply without pomp, this is a place of relaxed good cheer not formal dining.

You can't stay here without sampling master mixologist Scott Beattie's artisanal cocktails. He fervently believes that 'great cocktails must be made entirely from great ingredients', and regional, organic and sustainable ones to boot - the few spirits from further afield available were considered special enough to import. I spent nearly an hour just reading the absolutely fascinating cocktail menu, which delves into the history of certain potions, and explores both heritage spirits and the newer craft-distilled local spirits. He runs popular cocktail making classes too.

Eating out is an easy alternative with such choice in Healdsburg. Barndiva, which specialises in farm-to-restaurant cuisine, is across a parking lot opposite. The locals like dining at Scopa; Bistro Ralph's is one of the original eateries around the plaza. Sakeo serves sushi.

Features include:

  • Bar
  • Children meals
  • Coffee maker
  • Coffee tea making
  • Minibar/fridge
  • Organic produce
  • Restaurant
  • Restaurants nearby
  • Room service
  • Vegetarian menu
  • Waterbar


  • At the Hotel: chill out poolside, or in the colourful lobby over a tea, coffee or snack from the Receptobar

  • Bicycle Bliss: the hotel has Public Bikes to borrow, or you can BYOB (bring your own bike) as h2 has secure bike parking. Explore the town, and nearby wineries; the hotel has 4 suggested bike trails which take you through scenic vineyards

  • Take a Hike: Armstrong Woods State Park outside Guerneville has wonderful redwoods and a range of topography worth a good walk, and you can also see the park on horseback; Sonoma Vineyard Walks arrange 1-3 day walks through vineyards with personal guides that gain you access to private vineyards and winemakers

  • Up, Up and Away: There are rival hot air balloon operators at Sonoma County Airport

  • Gently Down the Stream: Russian River is lovely for kayaking/canoeing and very popular in the summer

  • Spa Moment: Book in advance to get in to The Spa at Hotel Healdsburg just a block away, which has an excellent menu of treatments and soothing massages

  • Shop until you Drop: Healdsburg is renowned for its upscale shopping and galleries showcasing both art and arts and crafts, the hotel can provide you with a list of places to check out, or simply wander up a block up to the main plaza

  • Gourmet Gluttony: No better place to indulge in fine wine and grub than Healdsburg. There are 30 tasting rooms within a stroll of the front door, and almost as many restaurants. Ask if one of Scott Beattie's acclaimed cocktail-making classes is on when you plan to visit

Activities on site or nearby include:

  • Cycling
  • Hiking
  • Horse-riding
  • Hot air ballooning
  • Kayaking
  • Museums / galleries
  • Shopping / markets
  • Swimming
  • Wine tasting


Children are very welcome at h2hotel which has a relaxed 'can do' attitude. It's fun, vibrant and in a great location; the only downside is that when we visited, staff weren't as 'full service' as they could have been. We trust that will have improved!

Best for:

All ages

Family friendly accommodation:

The best overall are the Eco Suites, which have a double bedroom and a lounge with double sofa bed. There's plenty of space and they have a bathtub and shower.


The hotel can refer you to a babysitting service. You need to give 72 hours notice, or, ideally, request when booking. There's a 4-hour minimum charge and you'll have to pay a small fee to cover transportation (normal for US babysitting services). See rates.

Baby equipment:

  • 4 cots
  • Baby bedding
  • High chair
  • Bottle warming

Remember  baby and child equipment may be limited or need pre-booking

Children's meals:

A kids' menu is available in spoonbar - small plates of mac and cheese, chicken fingers, cheeseburgers - and it also offers an early dinner/high tea. Hotel staff can give you access to microwaves for baby food warming if needed. There are also takeaways (including picnics, for taking to wineries), food shops and child-friendly eateries nearby.

Kids Activities on site:

  • Swimming pool with shallow end
  • Complimentary bikes to borrow for a family cycle trip
  • Children's DVDs
  • Farm animals nearby

Kids Activities nearby:

  • Copperfield children's bookshop
  • Russian River and Lake Sonoma for kayaking, tubing, waterskiing
  • Wildlife park Safari West
  • Charles Schultz museum in Santa Rosa, which also has an ice skating rink

Families Should Know:

The hotel requests that kids are attended at all times.


  • Airport: 20 minutes
  • Hospital: 5 minutes
  • Closest supermarket: 5 minutes' walk
Kid Friendly:

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