The inn crowd: road-tripping in style around California's Pacific northwest

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Tanya Ansaldi
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For the ultimate romantic road trip to satisfy foodies and nature lovers alike, California’s Pacific northwest offers a little something for everyone along its winding roads. From vibrant San Francisco and the wine regions of Napa and Sonoma Valley to the infamously beautiful coastal region of Big Sur, these hidden gems are the perfect plush stops when hitting the open road.

San Francisco, Inn at the Presidio

Avoid the tourist track with the historic and intimate Inn at the Presidio in the heart of San Francisco’s beautiful Presidio Park. Cross the iconic Golden Gate Bridge into a peaceful oasis from the buzzing city, where this lovely inn is nestled amongst greenery and surrounded by trails, and yet is only a short drive from many of the must-see sights such as the famous Haight & Ashbury flower child district and the beautiful Palace of Fine Arts. The 17 rooms and suites are cosy yet spacious and some feature fireplaces and fantastic sunset views overlooking the bay.

Napa Valley, Milliken Creek Inn

This beautiful and eclectic little town is a foodie mecca featuring some of America’s most renowned restaurants and is of course surrounded by countless vineyards. The Milliken Creek Inn is quietly tucked away along a picturesque little creek. This romantic retreat features only 12 rooms and a pampering little spa, and while it does not feature a restaurant, each morning you will receive a delectable breakfast hamper which can either be enjoyed in-room on your private terrace overlooking the creek and greenery. Each evening the inn also features a “magic hour” where a local winery will showcase a special vintage of their wine for guests to enjoy.

Sonoma Valley, The Farmhouse Inn

When venturing through California wine country be sure to include Sonoma Valley, which offers all the culinary delights of Napa, but is on an ever-so-slightly less beaten path. The Farmhouse Inn is an oenophile’s heaven as it lies along the Russian River Valley and features one of the world’s few Master Sommeliers directing the wine list at their celebrated restaurant. After indulging in a delectable four or seven-course dinner menu with wine pairings, you will find the fireplace in your room roaring and an adorable little kit to make gourmet s’mores - which is a classic American campfire treat with graham crackers, chocolate and roasted marshmallows. The inn also features a sweet spa with spoiling treatments and lovely locally made soaps and lotions that smell divine. Guests of the inn are also able to enjoy complimentary wine tastings at many of the area’s top wineries.

Big Sur, Post Ranch Inn

The legendary Post Ranch Inn will take longer than expected to reach as you’ll surely pull over a million times to take photos along California’s spectacularly beautiful Pacific Coast Highway. The extremely private rooms at the Post Ranch Inn are set at atop dramatic cliffs overlooking blue waters and surrounded by forests. As there is no light pollution, this is the perfect spot for stargazing and on clear nights there is often an astronomer with telescopes to point out constellations. All rooms include a complimentary mini bar with lovely wines, cheeses and very tempting cookies, and some rooms feature private outdoor hot tubs. Not to be missed is the famed Sierra Mar restaurant, which is set along the cliffs with impressive ocean views and is considered one of the most romantic restaurants in the United States. Be sure to time your reservation so you can watch the sun set.

To book these boutique hotels go to or call 0330 100 3180. Mr & Mrs Smith have a price match guarantee and offer a free gift on arrival.

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Tanya Ansaldi