Booking our stay
I booked our one-night stay at MacArthur place using American Express Fine Hotels and Resorts since they were offering a $200 credit off a hotel stay (a new annual offering on Platinum Cards) in addition to their normal benefits. The hotel also frequently has sales on its rates, and we scored a 25% discount off the rack rate in addition to the $200 Platinum credit.
The normal benefits of booking through their platform are as follows:
- Room upgrade when available
- Daily breakfast for two people
- Guaranteed 4pm late check-out
- Noon check-in when available
- Complimentary wifi
- $100 property credit
The hotel, which is located in Sonoma, is a beautiful 1 hour and 15 minute drive from San Francisco. Jason and I arrived just before 11am and were happy to see they offered complimentary valet parking. When we checked in, the agent was very friendly, but ultimately not helpful in securing our room in a timely fashion. Since the room wasn’t ready, we had brunch at their on-property restaurant, Layla.
Fortunately, we had wine tasting appointments in the afternoon, but when we returned to the hotel around 3pm, our room still wasn’t ready. Their standard check-in time is 4pm, but given we booked with American Express and that we were at the resort at 11am, it would have been nice if they prioritized our room. I also checked their availability online, and it showed the hotel had plenty of availability for the night, meaning there were likely available rooms.
We booked the base room called a Burris guestroom, and they upgraded us to a “suite” thanks to our American Express benefits. The suite was disappointing because it didn’t have a separate living room from the bedroom and was very tight on space.
Unfortunately, there was a wedding on property the night we were staying at MacArthur place. I was disappointed the resort didn’t give us a heads up about the wedding, and I was shocked when the room they assigned us was directly in front of the wedding. The entire 100 person wedding was seated directly facing our room and outdoor space. We had to close all the blinds and couldn’t use our outdoor space. It was pretty uncomfortable.
I called to let the general manager know how uncomfortable we felt, and he immediately moved us to a different room. I appreciated that he acknowledged the less-than-ideal room and that he acted quickly to remedy the situation. Lucky for us, he upgraded us to the highest category room, the Chef’s Cottage.
The Chef’s Cottage is a quaint, standalone cottage toward the front of the property. It has dedicated outdoor space with an 8-person dining table, loungers with a firepit and a cute little porch. Inside, it’s an open concept with a king-sized bed, wood-burning fireplace, and small dining table.
The bathroom had a single-vanity sink, closet, separated water closet and generously sized shower. Inside the shower, there was access to an outdoor shower that was a neat touch but didn’t offer much in terms of views.
I really liked the room amenities! This was the first hotel I’ve ever stayed at that had Dyson hair dryers. They retail for over $400, so I was excited to try it out for the first time. They also had some really tasty complimentary snacks, and the morning coffee was from a brand called Steeped, which was essentially coffee in a tea bag form – genius!
The shower amenities were from Grown Alchemist, which are definitely luxurious but not my favorite. Notably, in both rooms there was no bathtub. However, the bed was extremely comfortable.
Overall, the room was great, but I was surprised that the Chef’s Cottage is the highest category room on property. It wasn’t a true suite, meaning it didn’t have a separate living room and bedroom. The Chef’s Cottage is comparable to studio rooms at Solage Calistoga, which are not their top category rooms.
The main building houses the lobby, a cafe, cocktail bar and lounge, as well as the main restaurant, Layla. The team who designed this space did a great job, and as a design enthusiast, I noticed furniture pieces from some of my favorite shops – outdoor furniture from Harbour Outdoor, barstools from Lawson Fenning, and throw pillows from Libeco. It’s an elevated California cool vibe, and I really liked it.
If you can’t tell from the photos, the hotel grounds are gorgeous! We visited during the winter season, and it was still beautiful, but I bet it’s stunning during spring. The property isn’t that big, but it was fun to walk the paths, and there are a lot of comfortable spots with outdoor fire pits to stop along the way. The rooms are in scattered buildings throughout the property, many of which have porches or terraces.
There is also a medium-size pool with loungers, as well as a spa and small gym.
The only meal we ate on property was breakfast twice – once at Layla and once for in-room dining – and it was good both times. The staff and kitchen was very accommodating to any food requests/restrictions, which I always appreciate. And the coffee was good!
Overall, I found the service to be very friendly. Again, the staff wasn’t super helpful about getting us into our room, but they were quick to get us into a new room with the wedding snafu. Service lagged a little bit when we called for turn-down before we left for dinner, and they never came.
Some trips to wine country are all about wine tasting and exploring the area, and some trips are more about relaxing at a beautiful resort and enjoying the sunshine. For the former, I think MacArthur place is a great home base. For the latter, I think there are better resorts with nicer rooms/amenities for a similar price point.