Exterior view of Hotel Winters, Winters, California, USA.

Hotel Winters
Winters, California, USA


While roaming the streets of Winters, California, we found several treasures that put a smile on our face – one of our favourites, no doubt, was the lifestyle-driven Hotel Winters, which promised a comfortable and pleasant retreat to return to after a day of exploring the historic Californian town.

Unlike most small towns in California, Winters is not often entered via Main Street. Coming from Sonoma, we approach the town on Railroad Avenue, as most will, passing the now-pedestrian truss bridge and repurposed train depot that put Winters on the map. The drive through town is beyond brief, though packed with busy restaurants, quaint shops, and two tasting rooms of area wineries on this small stretch of road alone. At the edge of town—what would amount to a 5-minute walk from the other edge—a turn onto Abbey Street reveals Hotel Winters, whose accommodations, spa, and restaurant dominate the entire block.

Though undeniably long, Hotel Winters is surprisingly unobtrusive to the town’s historic atmosphere. Remaining just three storeys tall and punctuating its length with varyingly designed facades, it evokes a row of diverse businesses rather than a single behemoth property. Entering the handsome, historic hotel’s airy interior, we instantly left yesteryear behind, as its white walls host contemporary art above modern furniture in tones of grey with muted blue accents. We were impressed by how quickly, yet gracefully, we changed centuries from sidewalk to lobby, and we appreciated the welcome glass of local wine while we checked in.

A few meters away, a wedding party had reserved the hotel’s large courtyard, with a bar and fountain feature for a cocktail reception. It’s clear that Hotel Winters is the preeminent wedding venue in town, and quite possibly the only one with enough rooms and facilities to support an event of decent size without sacrifice. The presence of ZenTerra Spa and Eight Six Zero Salon drive home the message that this hotel is the full-service wedding venue of the region. However, you don’t need to be preparing for your wedding to enjoy these facilities.

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While you’re Out There
There are several worthwhile restaurants in the small town of Winters, but few showcase the local bounty with as much style as Preserve. Just beyond the railroad truss that marks the beginning of town on the opposite side of the road, Preserve’s vine-drenched exterior and plant-scaped entry are solid indicators of both the restaurant and the town’s pride in agriculture. Inside, the seasonal and locally sourced menu is served in a large dining room, combining industrial chic with rustic charm best represented by the metal-topped horseshoe bar. The space is softened by buttery leather banquets, more mature greenery, and amber lighting in the evening. There’s plenty of outdoor dining available, too.

ZenTerra offers a complete menu of traditional treatments, but our favourite option was the Zen Zero Gravity Experience for decompression with a warm-towel footwrap and gentle massage in the Zen lounge’s zero gravity chairs. There’s no stress to find in this leisure town, but spa treatments are always welcome and are particularly appreciated after a long drive in.

Upstairs, the white and blue theme continued with a lengthy hallway that led to our top-floor room. Inside, tall ceilings and a wide floor plan were welcome touches, as was the generous, arched window with plantation shutters overlooking Railroad Avenue. However, the oversized floorplan and features did leave the ambience somewhat cold, with few artistic touches or design elements to warm the space. Suites come with a bit more colour and personality, but those seeking anything Instagrammable will need to book the bridal suite if it’s available. All rooms feature well-appointed bathrooms with walk-in rainfall showers and plush robes, and suites additionally offer clawfoot tubs for indulgent soaks.

There’s no denying Hotel Winters is the top stay in town, but expect a comfortable perch from which to get out and explore the local foodie culture, rather than a destination property that’s impossible to leave. It’s a perfectly pleasant place to return to in the evening after dining and shopping in and around Winters.


Photography courtesy of Hotel Winters

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