(Courtesy of MacArthur Place Hotel & Spa)

A luxe redesign and new restaurant check in at Sonoma's iconic MacArthur Place Hotel

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A Sonoma icon, the MacArthur Place Hotel & Spa has undergone a $25 million facelift to celebrate the property's 150th anniversary.

Past and present merge at the MacArthur Place 2.0. From the outside, the idyllic, six-acre property located mere blocks from the Sonoma Plaza maintains its timeless Victorian architecture and countryside charm, but the interiors have been transformed for the modern era—think the light, airy, warm, and neutral-colored farmhouse vibe that's become synonymous with Wine Country design.


(Courtesy of MacArthur Place Hotel & Spa)

Housed in a 150-year-old restored barn, the sunny MacArthur Place lobby with high-beamed ceilings was the crux of the redesign and is now also home to a new bar, restaurant, and coffee house.

The 64 guest rooms have been updated with lighter, more contemporary furnishings; amenities, depending on which room you book, include a fireplace, a patio or balcony, heated floors, and an outdoor shower or soaking tub (only two rooms have the tubs, so ask to see if they're available). Another perk: a complementary Provisions Bar of good-for-you snacks and drinks, like gluten-free cookies and collagen water. A new standalone, one-bedroom suite called The Chef's Cottage is available for bookings as well; the Burris House, the MacArthur's original 1869 building, had all 10 of its rooms remodeled also. It was the original homestead of David Burris, a miner, rancher, and entrepreneur who first established the property.

Fire pits encourage al fresco relaxation in the evenings, though there are plenty serene outdoor nooks to cozy up in along the estate's lush, meandering pathways. The Coach House, which was also the former lobby, is now a sleek event salon; the pool and spa continue to be property staples, though both are slated for their own renovations in the coming months.

Layla at MacArthur Place.(Courtesy of MacArthur Place Hotel & Spa)

MacArthur now offers a food and beverage experience for all occasions throughout the day. Pick up your morning jolt from The Porch, a chic coffee bar and grab-and-go market serving Sonoma County Acre coffee and unlimited drip to those who purchase a MacArthur mug. The Porch offers light breakfast items all day, in addition to salads, sandos, and sweets. If you have time, enjoy it on The Porch's front porch among locals reading the paper before heading off to work.

The lobby hosts a wine and cheese hour at 5pm and the classic cocktail lounge, named simply The Bar at MacArthur, is open daily from 11am to 10pm, making it a great option for both happy hour and a nightcap. This room is not like the others; it's the only place where you'll find dark tones, rich textures, and oversized furnishings all reminiscent of a library. Order up seasonal craft cocktails—the Spritz Veneziano (Lillet Rose, Luxardo Bianco, fresh citrus, and sparkling wine), served in an extra-large wine glass, has been a summer favorite—and plates sized for any appetite, from four types of fries to a fried chicken sandwich.

And then there's Layla. The new farm-to-table, Mediterranean-themed restaurant replaced the legendary Saddles Steakhouse, a local favorite for 20 years. The Sonoma community was undoubtedly sad to see it go, but Layla pays homage to its predecessor by offering three cuts of steak on its dinner menu. The rest is on the simpler, lighter, and healthier side, with plenty of vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free options. Executive Chef Cole Dickinson (formerly of Napa Valley's Acacia House) pulls inspiration from all of the Mediterranean countries, not just Greece or Turkey.

Layla is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Breakfast serves fun twists on classic offerings, like the Croque-Madamsel (country ham, taleggio, sausage gravy, sunny side egg, hash browns) and the Caprese Bloody Mary (fresh basil, tomato, grated horseradish, spices, caprese garnish skewer). For lunch, try the vegetable Bolognese with almond ricotta.

I recently enjoyed dinner at Layla on the back patio and I insist you start off with the dip trio, which includes pitas with baba ganoush, hummus, and tzatziki—the best I've ever had—for dipping. The octopus with eggplant caviar and green oil was another standout starter (and I'm very picky about how my octopus is cooked).

Upon check-in to my room, an employee had recommended the carbonara with guanciale, a shaved egg, and heaps of cheese, and while it didn't feel like the most obvious Mediterranean dish (perhaps I should have ordered some fish?) it transported me right back to my travels in Italy and I was left with zero regrets in ordering it.

Finally, for dessert, the s'mores were the most unique and Instagrammable interpretation I've ever seen of the classic treat. A chocolate and caramel tart with graham cracker ice cream lay on a bed of bright pink strawberry coals and was topped with a giant dollop of whipped maple.

// The MacArthur Place, 29 E MacArthur St. (Sonoma); for reservations (starting at $509 per night), go to macarthurplace.com.

Courtesy of MacArthur Place Hotel & Spa

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