Exploring Bodega Bay
I was looking for a quick excursion for some much needed rest and relaxation. Bodega Bay on California’s Sonoma Coast sounded like the perfect choice. Scenery transitioned from golden hills to rocky coastline and mild temperatures as I arrived at Bodega Bay Lodge to find the paradise I sought.
Bodega Bay Lodge oozes relaxation. Perhaps it’s the location, perched on a bluff looking out over the wildlife habitat and the Pacific Ocean, or maybe it’s the water views and fresh sea breezes. Even the fog creates a mystical, calming ambiance. The lodge is a series of wood buildings facing the ocean, taking advantage of the beautiful, natural environment and blending into the bluff. Scattered throughout the grounds are places to enjoy the view: fire pits, ocean-facing chairs, and even a pool.
I was delighted to see my room with soaring ceilings, a fireplace, and a balcony, where I could look at the ocean and the myriad of birds flying overhead. The king bed was soft and cozy with plenty of down comforters, luxury linens, and soft pillows; it was like sleeping on a cloud. The marble bathroom contained a large, tiled shower and a sunken bathtub, perfect for a bubble bath later that night. I could feel myself slipping into relaxation mode. The pool and Jacuzzi were the perfect places to unwind.
After a leisurely walk to Doran Beach, strolling along the deserted sand and dipping my feet in the cold water, it was time to attend the wine reception. Held in the lobby, we gathered around the fireplace, sipping Sonoma County wine, chatting with the other hotel guests about the day’s highlights, and trading tips.
The lodge has a restaurant, The Duck Club, and a bar, Drakes Fireside Lounge, where I decided to enjoy a quiet dinner. The water views helped me slip into a relaxed state. Staying on the coast, I was in the mood for seafood, and I wasn’t disappointed. With the aid of food and beverage director Bill Goven I selected an unfamiliar bottle of sparkling wine from a Sonoma winery, Les Caves Roties de Pente. It was dry with hints of citrus and was the perfect accompaniment with the Oysters Rockefeller.
The exercise and sea air gave me quite an appetite. I chose a salad of butter leaf lettuce drizzled with green goddess dressing and containing beefsteak tomatoes, avocado, and pepitas; it was so tasty and fresh. The local, pan-roasted cod was prepared with leek, braised fennel, cranberry beans, hearts of celery, and herb salad with lemon vinaigrette and Saba. It was savory, cooked to perfection, and so delicious with the bubbly. For dessert, I couldn’t resist the key lime pie with coconut cream. It was decadent and the perfect end to a delicious meal.
I appreciate that the lodge takes its responsibility seriously as stewards of the environment while providing a luxurious guest experience. The restaurant is part of the Seafood Watch Program, which promotes healthy and sustainable seafood choices, while the lodge continually looks for ways to increase water conservation, reduce energy, and recycle materials. This policy is good for guests and the environment.
If I wasn’t feeling relaxed enough already, the spa offered a variety of massages, body treatments, and facials to leave you blissed out for days. My favorite is the Fog Lifter Package, which allows you to customize any two 50-minute treatments. Afterward, the sauna and Jacuzzi wait for further relaxation until 11 p.m. each day. The cozy robes make the short stroll from room to spa a treat.
After an amazing night’s sleep listening to sea lions barking and waking up to the chirping of birds, I decided room service was in order so I could continue to enjoy the views from my balcony. The Dungeness crab omelet was savory and satisfying served with breakfast potatoes and toast. Somehow it all tasted better as I lingered to take in the serene environment and breathe in the fresh sea air. I had achieved my goal of relaxation, making me reluctant to leave.
While you might never want to leave the Bodega Bay Lodge, if you are feeling adventurous the town is a short drive along the beautiful coast. Gourmet au Bay is a wine bar with an outdoor terrace offering wine surfing—a flight of your choosing served on a mini surfboard. Lucas Wharf Restaurant & Bar is a fish market and restaurant where fresh-caught seafood is always on the menu. Spud Point Crab Co offers outdoor seating with views of the marina, as well as fresh seafood. Terrapin Creek Café & Restaurant is a Michelin-starred, intimate restaurant with seating for 30 that serves lunch and dinner. While you are enjoying the views you just might see whales frolicking in the ocean.
Details: Bodega Bay Lodge has 84 rooms featuring ocean-view balconies, fireplaces, and cozy down bedding. Enjoy spa treatments, an outdoor pool and Jacuzzi, and gourmet dining at the Duck Club or Drakes Fireside Lounge. You will appreciate the gracious hospitality, the property’s ambiance, and the seaside location. The lodge is approximately 90 minutes from San Francisco on the Sonoma Coast.