2014 BEST Spa/Resort: Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn & Spa
Author: Bonnie Durrance
May, 2014 Issue
“We truly have almost inexhaustible opportunities for guests.” —Michelle Heston
“This recognition speaks volumes,” says Michelle Heston, regional director of public relations for Fairmont Hotels and Resorts, of the honor of being named BEST Spa/Resort by NorthBay biz readers. “When our guests, neighbors, partners and people we do business with on a regular basis are recognizing our efforts, we’re exceptionally proud.”
The Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn & Spa is the second-largest employer in Sonoma Valley, after the school district, and its parent company, Fairmont Hotels & Resorts, is committed to serving its local communities. “We know it’s good for business,” says Heston, “because we know it’s good for the community, and many of our colleagues reside here.”
The Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn & Spa shows its commitment to the community in numerous ways. It’s particularly proud of its Adopted School program—a partnership with neighboring El Verano Elementary School, which is now going on nine years. Through the program, it provides financial, in-kind and volunteer support to enhance existing programs and curricular objectives.
There are opportunities for employees to be involved in the community too, with golf tournaments that raise money, teacher appreciation lunches and volunteer, in-class programming for the kids. “We want to do more than write a check,” says Heston. “We want to get our staff involved.”
Fairmont has recently completed a renovation of the Heritage Room and lobby, and it’s gone to great lengths to respect the historic traditions and architectural importance of the resort. “When you go into a renovation of a once-historic building—and we’re now a proud member of Historic Hotels of America—you go in with a bit of trepidation,” says Heston. “Can we respect the architecture and what it was while providing updated services and amenities? I think our designers have done a phenomenal job with that.”
Guests coming to the Inn can feel the freshness of modern luxury as well as the flavor of Old Sonoma’s Spanish heritage. Guests can swim and soak onsite at the 40,000-square-foot Willow Stream Spa, and golf at the nearby Sonoma Golf Club. “Whether it’s bike riding, hiking, wine tasting or other fun activities,” says Heston, “our wonderful concierges can arrange it for you. We truly have almost inexhaustible opportunities for guests.”
At the elegant Santé restaurant, Chef Andrew Cain offers cuisine in the Sonoma manner, meaning he’s committed to locally sourcing his seasonal ingredients—whether it’s wines, bread, cheese or produce.
“I think that what we offer is really a match for the community,” says Heston. “We have an incredible amenity in the heart of an incredible destination, and the people who work here are truly committed to providing really authentic and genuine travel experiences for guests.
“About few years back, Chef Cain added his signature lobster truffle mac and cheese to the menu. Let me tell you, it’s probably one of the most decadent things you can eat!”
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Located at 1410 Neotomas Ave. in Santa Rosa,NorthBay biz magazine is a monthly business-to-business publication covering Napa, Sonoma and Marin counties. This year, the magazine is celebrating 43 years of continuous operation. It originally hit the stands in 1975, when it was called Sonoma Business, and only covered Sonoma County. Norm and Joni Rosinski and John Dennis, acquired it in 2000 and changed its name to cover an expanded market. Today, the magazine is part of Amaturo Sonoma Media Group. More here..