Culture / Travel

Your Own Tree House in Wine Country — the Montage Healdsburg Resort Shows Off a Hidden Gem of a Sonoma County Town

Making Getting Into Nature an Important Part of Your Wine Time

BY
photography Christian Horan

Since Montage Healdsburg rang in its first anniversary in December, the chic resort land is continuing to prove that California’s Sonoma Valley could use a new type of luxury. Hidden in the rolling hills where the Alexander and Russian River Valleys meet, the resort is breaking wine country barriers, providing a new kind of stay.

Surrounded by award winning wineries — spots like Jordan Winery and Aperture Cellars — the resort’s stunning property is a quick drive from heart of Healdsburg, one of the low key, charming towns that dot Sonoma County. Montage Healdsburg is the sixth resort from Montage and it’s definitely a first of its kind for the area.

I was curious to see how this new chic sanctuary on the more under the radar side of the mountains would compare to the luxe offerings that can be found in neighboring Napa Valley.

Montage Healdsburg is 14 years in the making — and before the resort could spring up, Montage worked to get local buy-in. Its mission is to fit into the spirit of Healdsburg, a hidden gem of a Sonoma County town, and not dramatically change its untouched appeal. In many ways, the natural surroundings of Healdsburg and its small town charm are the appeal.

Even at the planning stages, Montage created programs to give back to the community and protect the local environment. It’s about shining a light a lesser known corner of the wine country without changing it.

Delawie Architects took on the task of melding Montage Healdsburg into the stunning natural surroundings. The resort is almost built into the hills. Delawie coined the term “farmitecture” to describe the contemporary farmhouse feel it brought to life.

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Each of the resorts 130 suites are their own chic little tree houses set cantilevered among the vine filled hills and oak trees. It’s like having your very own modern but rustic-feeling bungalow. The suites’ enormous patios and outdoor fireplaces (some even come with outdoor showers) further bring the tree and vine-ladened hills in.

montage healdsburg patio suites fireplace (Photo by Christian Horan)
The suites at Montage Healdsburg boast spacious patios with fireplaces and cozy seating inviting guests to stay awhile. (Photo by Christian Horan)

Of course, in order to match its wine country peers, Montage Healdsburg needs next level food. The resort’s signature restaurant Hazel Hill, led by Chef Jason Pringle, combines California charisma with French gastronomy.

Dishes like locally sourced Liberty Farms duck breast and a mouthwatering dungeness crab chitarra (Pringle’s signature creamy yet punchy pasta dish) can be paired with endless selections from the lengthy wine list of wine country heavy hitters.

The resort even plays host to 15.5 acres of on-property vineyards, overseen by Jesse Katz, the hotel’s well known partnering winemaker. Merlot, Petite Verdot, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Sauvignon Blanc grapes are grown on-property and bottled at Katz’s Aperture Cellars Winery, located just six miles from the resort.

Montage Healdsburg’s Land of Plenty

In between exploring area vineyards and major winemakers, Montage Healdsburg offers enough on its own to make you want to carve out plenty of time to spend at the resort too. The Spa Montage is a cozy hideaway with a doting staff and indulgent treatments.

The hotel’s curated recreation activities include hiking trails, bike riding, archery, pickle ball and more. A seriously serene Yoga Among the Vines class will connect you to the land that produces such beloved wine.

Montage Healdsburg’s staff will plan every detail of wine tasting adventures and excursions. They even bring in winemakers and oenophiles to Montage to dazzle guests with the fruits of the area. On weekends, the hotel hosts a Meet the Maker event, letting you learn more about local talent in the comfort of the chic lobby overlooking the Montage’s vineyards.

In fact, the staff at Montage Healdsburg might be its real gem.

Montage Healdsburg Delawie Architects (Photo by Christian Horan)
Each of the 130 suites are modernly rustic and built to fit into the surrounding nature. (Photo by Christian Horan)

For those who are smitten that they want to move in, the Residences at Montage Healdsburg are being built as an extenuation of the 256 acre property. The initial construction of phase one is well underway — and many of the 66 homesites are already taken.

You can choose from turnkey Harvest Homes or more customized Estate lots – all in the same style as the resort, complete with major mountain views and access to all the Montage’s hotel amenities.

Montage International seems to be on a roll, with several high-profile resort openings. Montage Big Sky opened its doors right before Christmas and Montage Cay in the Bahamas is scheduled to open in 2023.

But it will be hard to top Montage Healdsburg and all its natural charms.

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