Okay, so let’s be honest, actually going to Tuscany would be much better! Now that we’ve cleared that up, we can muse about our memorable spa experience a few Saturdays ago at Kenwood Inn and Spa, a quaint, beautiful, and “Tuscanesque” (made up word) hotel in Sonoma. But instead of our usual, we’re going to let our pictures tell you our story because quite simply, they’ll do more justice.
So c’mon, take a peek and be inspired.
Drive to the Spa
Beautiful landscapes, grazing livestock, lush vineyards, and sprawling trees are just some of the breathtaking sights you’ll experience on your drive to Sonoma. It’s so refreshing to get away from city life and to enjoy the countryside even if just for a minute.
Arriving at the Spa
Tucked away behind these gates is your little taste of Italy; a Tuscany inspired Inn and Spa. We were surprised to learn that many of the accessories used for the Inn decor came all the way from Tuscany.
Brunch at the Atrium
Before our spa treatments, my sis and I love to enjoy some light appetizers. After all, it’s hard to be zen with a growling tummy. We look forward to it because it’s our first glimpse not just of the food, but also the service to anticipate (aside from the concierge) when we arrive at any establishment.
Sadly, the appetizer menu was not so appetizing and the attendant serving us was not so courteous either. He seemed to be agitated and in a rush. Because this was our day, we refused to allow these two unfortunate experiences to shape the rest of our day. Instead we chose to focus on the beauty that surrounded us – as we picked on our uninspiring cured meats, house made lavash (hummus), and seasonal accompaniments – the breathtaking atrium, the delicious mimosas, and the amazing decor.
Later, we realized that the attendant was just a half hour away from the end of his shift and that he couldn’t wait to be done with his day. While it was no excuse for his behavior, we could certainly empathize with him.
Good thing we decided to ignore him. It served as a reminder that we’re all responsible for how we deal with negative experiences. We can either choose to let them dictate future outcomes or learn from them and move on. The latter should always win.
Walkway to the Spa
One of our favorite spots at the Inn was the walkway to the spa. It elicited a feeling of intrigue, mystic, and even romance (I know, don’t ask!) Something about walking through a walkway engulfed in lush trees, flowers, and manicured bushes was simply magical.
Poolside at the Spa
What better way to enjoy our mimosas before our spa treatments than to relax poolside. Because we visited the Spa a week after Mother’s Day, the pool area was not crowded, which meant that we had free reign on where to lounge. We picked a spot that gave us a panoramic view of the pool surroundings, which were beautiful.
Spa Check In
Honestly, despite vowing to stay positive, there was a little apprehension prior to checking into the spa. Would the attendant at the check-in desk be the same as the attendant at the restaurant? Our concerns were quickly squashed by the lady that welcomed us to the spa and checked us in.
She was gracious, positive, helpful, and willing to go the extra mile to ensure that we had a superb experience. She started off by offering us complementary mimosas, which was a nice touch. She then gave us a quick spa tour with the enthusiasm of someone who took pride in her work and was clearly passionate about making guests feel welcome. Halfway through our spa stay, she even offered to make dinner reservations for us when I asked her to recommend a good place to dine in downtown Sonoma.
Her kindness was augmented by Devin, another attendant who after finding out the French restaurant we wanted to go to had no reservations before 10.00 p.m. decided to pull some strings to get us in at 8.30 p.m. Talk about delighting your guests! We were not only thrilled but truly thankful to this young man.
There were a couple of things that weren’t so great about the spa but after the graciousness of the check-in attendant and Devin’s kindness, plus, the excellent service by the massage therapist, estetician, and body scrub attendant, it was easy to overlook these shortcomings.
We discovered that the spa didn’t have some typical ammenities like a steam room or sauna (remind me not to make assumptions the next time.) This gave me a sinking feeling, mostly because the steam room is absolutely my favorite spa thing to do. They did have a steam shower, which was better than nothing but not quite as satisfying.
Also, unlike other spas, the changing rooms doubled up as bathrooms, separated into two and were pretty small. This forced my sister and I to be apart when we needed to use our lockers. Again, not ideal because those are the times you get to chat, laugh a little and share your experiences about the spa. They did have a nice lounge area where we could enjoy some girl talk and our complementary mimosas and snacks.
Zen Moments at the Jacuzzi
We were pleasantly surprised to find out there were two jacuzzis at the spa; a small one poolside and a much larger one on the guest accommodations side of the Inn. Of course, we chose to use the latter because not only was it less crowded (one couple left 10 minutes after we arrived), but also in a really lovely setting.
Glowing After the Spa
You know that your experience at the spa was lovely when you look in the mirror and can hardly recognize the person you see with the one that arrived (okay, so I’m exaggerating a bit!) But seriously, the glow in both my sis and I was undeniable! Even the spa attendant had to acknowledge that we looked so rejuvenated and beautiful that she offered to take photos of us before we left.
Saying GoodBye to the Spa
As always, leaving the spa after such a fantastic experience was bittersweet. We couldn’t help but pause for one more moment to take it all in. Even though we rarely visit a spa twice, we agreed that this was one of those instances that were worth a repeat visit.
Dining in Downtown Sonoma
If you’ve never been to downtown Sonoma, it’s worthy of your consideration. It’s a quaint and charming town that has remained unspoiled and maintains some of it’s past. The streets are lined with little boutiques, galleries, restaurants, and a beautiful park full of lush trees and manicured bushes, along with lovely sculptures.
Sometimes it’s the unexpected encounters that make our experiences memorable. We got to downtown Sonoma a half hour before our dinner reservations so we decided to take a stroll to kill time. As we were crossing the road and really only paying attention to the sights and sounds of this lovely town of just 10,000 residents, a joyful woman accompanied by a friend stopped us with this line, “You ladies look so lovely. It’s not often we see people so stylish like you in Sonoma. Mind if I take a picture?” My sister and I happily obliged.
As we walked away laughing out loud, we couldn’t help but be amused by the whole exchange. Was it strange? Perhaps. Well intentioned, yes. Awkward? Most certainly. Offensive? Not in the least bit. Hilarious? Absolutely.
In retrospect, it served as a reminder not to take ourselves so seriously. Sometimes people ask questions, say or do things to simply satisfy their curiosity; the same way a child will ask a question because they just want to know. As long as it’s well intentioned just let it be and move on.
Our dinner reservations were at The Girl and the Fig, a highly-rated French restaurant, which certainly lived up to our expectations. The service was exquisite and the food absolutely delightful. Our favorite dish happened to be the goat cheese sampler, a decadent and delicious selection of local and imported artisan cheeses, fig cake, compote, spiced nuts, and baguette.
As most of our gapmuse readers know, every year, around Mother’s Day, a visit to the spa has become tradition for my sister and I. It’s the one time we get to splurge on ourselves and really take a time out from the daily stresses of life.
Despite a few hiccups, our experience at Kenwood Inn and Spa was just as rejuvenating as our previous spa visits, if not more. We came away reinvigorated, self-confident, feeling beautiful, and indestructible. This last sentiment was captured perfectly by my sis when she declared as we were sitting poolside “I’m ready for Monday so bring it on!”
It was an affirmation of our belief that the responsibility to make ourselves feel good falls on us. We must take time off to “tune up” our body, mind, and soul so we can better be prepared to handle the stresses of our daily lives and the unpredictability of life in general.
We hope that these photos have inspired you to go out, seek and experience something special just for you. Because you deserve it.
Be inspired. 🙂