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We’re California dreamin’ this week, and dishing out our prize to a wine-country wonder in Sonoma County. We’re not the only fans: Trazzler’s Adam Rugel counts it as his favourite weekend escape. Something to do with hotel heaven, and a farmers’ market…

Style Cockle-warming wine retreat
Setting Sonoma vineyard country

Why this week? From late November until late February, Smith members can get 25 per cent off three-night stays at Hotel Healdsburg in California.

Our favourite bits We love the Dry Creek Kitchen’s tastebud-teasing Californian fusion food and wine cellar, which, as you’d expect in this vine-covered corner of America, holds a staggering range of tasty tipples. The secluded garden pool is lined with extra-comfy loungers and surrounded by olive trees. Even the standard rooms are special – they all feature six-foot bath tubs, similarly generous beds, French doors opening onto private balconies and oak floors covered with Tibetan rugs. And our favourite favourite bit? The policy of allowing you to load up your own tray from the buffet breakfast and then take it back to bed with you (better, and quicker, than room service).

Mr & Mrs Smith say ‘A curious thing happens when all of the architects, moneymen, chefs, busboys and suits who are required to run a hotel get it just about exactly right – it starts to feel like home. That is not to say that we have gossamer mattresses, dulcet towels or a wine list of exquisite Sonoman Pinots back at our London flat. Home means you put the things you want where you want them, discard the things you don’t and, as a result, when you get in from whatever you have had to do that day, you feel at ease.

Now some hotels, like some people, can be hugely impressive, but also slightly oppressive. The endless acres of white, the scuttling maids folding your hand-towels and the insistence on doing that thing with the end of the loo roll make you feel like you’re having dinner with an astrophysicist – memorable, stirring even, but really not that fun. Hotel Healdsburg, by contrast, is luxurious without being silly, stylish without being over-styled and well-served without grovelling lackeys offering up wet-wipes for your every sneeze. It’s the kind of place that just when you think, ‘I’m a little hot right now. I’d like a glass of water,’ you chance upon one of several urns of delicious fresh lemonade that are dotted about…’

Read the full review of Hotel Healdsburg in Sonoma County

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