Life is Good at Sonoma’s MacArthur Place Hotel & Spa

Historic MacArthur Place has witnessed a few transformations over the years. Current changes, both big and small, place the bucolic resort in the highest hospitality echelon. Formerly a prestigious 19th century estate, the six-acre resort is home to 69 luxuriously appointed rooms and suites. Now owned by Bill Foley of Foley Entertainment Group, he and his team are casting the same Foley magic as at their Hotel Californian in Santa Barbara, Hotel Les Mars in Healdsburg, and Farmhouse Inn in Forestville, among others. A Foley property equates to luxury, service, and posh amenities—MacArthur Place’s plush in-room slippers exhibit A. Here’s how I enjoyed an indulgent 24 hours at MacArthur Place & Spa:

An early arrival allowed for some pool time prior to room check-in. The pool and pool deck are new and are now the heart of the resort; what was formerly fine and serviceable is now gracious and welcoming. Chaises lounge and cabanas surround the large body of water, and a separate hot tub hides in a secluded corner. Yellow and white striped towels set a sunny tone, and the iced water and complimentary sunscreen are a nice touch. Beverages and nibbles can be delivered via onsite restaurant Layla. On a warm day, there is little reason to leave this haute haven, yet the adjacent and beautifully remodeled Spa at MacArthur beckoned.

The MacArthur Place swimming pool is the heart of the resort. Photo by Robert Miller
Spa relaxation patio and hot tub. Photo by Robert Miller

My MacArthur Facial was soothing and therapeutic. Spa aestheticians are provided the freedom to tailor services and curate product for each client, utilizing the organic lines Laurel Skin and Eminence Organics. My facialist targeted my recurrent dehydration, creating a rosy, no-makeup-needed glow that lasted through the evening. The spa’s new relaxation patio with co-ed hot tub provided a nice spot in which to bask post-treatment.

Room check-in time. I wandered the art-lined, purple wisteria-scented garden path to my Garden Spa Suite. Expansive and designed in a soothing color palette of warm, creamy neutrals accented with taupe, pumpkin, and black, the suite elicited oohs and ahhs. Yet, I was disappointed that my large bathroom (with heated floors!) did not have a bathtub. Then, I took a peek outside on our private patio, and, voila. An extra spacious tub stood ready to indulge me in a late night soak under the stars. Luxe linens, sumptuous robes, and the coziest hotel slippers ever are standard in every room, as are complimentary sweet and salty snacks. (But seriously; MacArthur Place’s plush green slippers are simply the best.)

MacArthur Place guest room
Garden Spa Suite outdoor soaking tub. Photo by Fran Miller

The resort is walking or biking distance to quaint Sonoma Plaza (don’t miss out on the complimentary use of the resort’s Blix Electric Bikes). Notable restaurants and wine tasting rooms are within a stone’s throw, yet onsite Layla, the resort’s flagship restaurant, is itself a destination dining spot, and my choice for dinner. Open and airy with large picture windows and dramatic pendant lighting fixtures, Layla’s modern design pays homage to its original barn structure and is a stunning gathering spot for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Menus are inspired by the Mediterranean, utilizing fresh, seasonal ingredients. Patio dining is offered when the weather cooperates, and my al fresco dinner was a perfect spring kickoff.  And though I was tempted to enjoy a nightcap at the adjacent The Bar at MacArthur, a sultry and sumptuous jewel-toned lounge serving a curated selection of classic cocktails, I instead gathered my complimentary s’mores pack from the front desk and beelined to one of the many cozy firepits within the grounds in order to toast my marshmallows for the most perfect of desserts.

Layla dining room
The Bar at MacArthur interior

A post-dinner and dessert slow walk through the lush garden paths allowed for a viewing of the robust and whimsical outdoor sculpture collection, a partnership with AERENA Galleries which curates the rotating series of pieces created by an impressive roster of emerging, mid-career and established artists. Art lovers will also want to peruse the impressive interior collection of more than 100 rotating pieces by independent artists across the nation. Part of the resort’s Artist-in-Residence program in partnership with the renowned gallery Uprise Art, the collection champions emerging artists who take part in week-long sojourns to gather inspiration and create pieces that will grace the hotel’s halls.

Numerous fire pits dot the landscape at MacArthur Place. Photo by Fran Miller

As the night air grew cooler, my outdoor soaking tub beckoned, and I took a dip before drifting off to a pleasant and restful sleep.

Sonoma is often described to be what neighboring Napa Valley once was—authentic and unspoiled. MacArthur Place exudes a relaxed sophistication, representative of this belief. The resort embraces its original equestrian charm by paying homage to the farmhouse aesthetic, while surrounding guests in modern splendor. Guests can take home a bit of the MacArthur Place vibe with the ‘The MacArthur Place’ candle, a bespoke juniper fragrance that evokes the resort’s agrarian nature, custom created for the hotel by cult Parisian creative house Lola James Harper.

MacArthur Place entrance

Photos courtesy of MacArthur Place Hotel & Spa, unless otherwise noted

Fran Miller

Fran Endicott Miller is an experienced travel, wine, and general feature writer for a variety of luxury lifestyle publications and websites. Prior to her journalism career she established and managed the Golden State Warriors' first official community relations department and efforts. Principled and genuine, she’s known for thoughtfully eloquent writing. When not traveling, she can be found walking her Northern California neighborhood with her beloved golden retriever Nate.