“Can you believe we live so close to so much beauty,” my partner says to me as we watch the sun slip behind the bluffs on our balcony at The Lodge at Bodega Bay.
It’s not the first time he’s made this statement. It’s become the mantra we chant every time we venture outside our neighborhood, a constant reminder that we’re privileged enough to call Northern California home.
But even in a region so stunning, the Sonoma Coast stands out. She is wild and breathtakingly beautiful. She is serene and mysterious. She is spectacular—and the Lodge at Bodega Bay is the perfect place to worship her.
The lodge has come a long way from its humble early days as a 36-room motor lodge perched above Doran Beach. Since 1972, its current owners have been transforming it into an elegant inn on four coastal acres. For its 50th anniversary, they gave the gift of a multi-million dollar renovation.
The 83-room Lodge at Bodega Bay is a collection of wood-and-stone dwellings built to harmonize with the coastal landscape. In its lobby, exposed beams, a statement fireplace, and a sepia floor map of the bay set the tone for the property’s natural, rustic luxury. Outside, a heated pool and infinity hot tub with plush new loungers, multiple ocean-facing fire pits (also with cushy new seating), and a bocce ball court are spread across the manicured lawns.
The warm and welcoming lobby at The Lodge at Bodega Bay(Courtesy of The Lodge at Bodega Bay)
The vast majority of this year’s improvements are in the accommodations. For us mere mortals, there are the coastal Bodega Bay rooms. In each, they’ve gone all in on modern California coastal, with farmhouse wood paneling, pinstriped rugs or fresh hardwood floors, private patios or balconies, and deep two-person soaking tubs. Each room also has wood-burning fireplaces, updated baths with Lather products, buttery-soft robes, and 42-inch LCD TVs with streaming and casting abilities.
For the highest rollers, there’s the completely overhauled Captain’s Quarters, a 1,200-square-foot, one-bedroom apartment with a king-sized bed and two Murphy beds, a marble fireplace, a 12-seat dining or conference table, a small powder room, and a private office. The 600-square-foot wraparound sundeck also has plenty of seating and a granite outdoor bar.
Wherever you lay your head, Drake’s Sonoma Coast Restaurant or the Fireside Lounge are where you’ll fill your belly (on the property, at least). Drake’s, which has a London-brasserie-meets-California-coast vibe, is the more refined of the two, serving dishes like duck leg confit with housemade pepper jelly, and fresh-as-can-be fisherman’s stew.
The adjacent Fireside Lounge, a cozy club room outfitted with leather armchairs and a fireplace, leans more towards comfort and kid-friendly foods like pork belly mac ‘n' cheese and a burger topped with local Valley Ford cheese. If you’d rather stay cozied up in your room, most of the items on both menus can be ordered to your door.
A freshly renovated coastal room.(Courtesy of The Lodge at Bodega Bay)
There’s more to the Lodge at Bodega Bay than just this, of course: a sauna, fitness center, and spa; nightly wine receptions; and complimentary yoga and pilates. Most memorable of all are the brackish wetlands separating the hotel from the Pacific where migrating birds gather throughout the year. Join one of the lodge’s regular guided nature walks or explore them on your own.
That’s exactly where I spend the morning we check out, watching blue herons stand like statues outwaiting their prey as snowy white egrets roost in the Monterey pines above. Just a few minutes walk away from the trailhead, on the long stretch of sand at Doran Beach, avocets dip their needle-pointed beaks into the sand and endangered snowy plovers skitter around the tides.
For most, it is the morning of a lifetime. For us, it’s one of a lifetime of mornings that make living in Northern California so magnificent.
// 103 Hwy 1 (Bodega Bay), lodgeatbodegabay.com