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Forget wine country or the long drive to Carmel. Sonoma County’s Bodega Bay Lodge & Spa offers the chance to rejuvenate by the ocean—on a quiet cove with lush marshes, abundant shorebirds and even whales if your timing’s right. There’s plenty of quiet, and all your needs will be well tended to. The best part is it’s within an hour’s drive from the Golden Gate!
Bodega Bay Lodge & Spa offers comfortable luxury overlooking Bodega Bay, along the wild Sonoma coast. All 84 rooms have ocean views and private decks to soak up the sea air, and the pool and hot tub provide more opportunities to take it all in. An intimate ocean-view dining room specializes in California coastal cuisine, featuring an array of seafood and at least one vegetarian option, culled mainly from local sources and organic produce.
Outside the rustic-style lodge, a short walk brings you to a seemingly endless (and dog-friendly) beach, Doran Beach State Park. Next door you can test your skills on the “Scottish style” golf course, The Links at Bodega Harbour. A nearby outfitter can set you up with horses to ride on the beach, or try surfing! And if you can pry yourself away from the coast, there are numerous wineries in the area eager for you to sample their finest vintages.
Up and down the Sonoma coast are quiet hikes, gorgeous beaches and countless scenic spots for contemplation. One map shows more than a dozen beaches from Bodega Bay, going north toward Jenner, where the Russian River empties into the Pacific. Favorite jaunts include Bodega Head (the peninsula that borders Bodega Bay) and the Pomo Trail, which takes you inland to Willow Creek Canyon, the lower reaches of the Russian River, and ultimately to a grove of dwarf redwoods. Goat Rock Beach offers spectacular views and tide pools for the curious, and plenty of wildlife for the animal-lovers.
In this dramatic natural setting, Bodega Bay Lodge & Spa shines as a treasure itself. The high-ceilinged rooms echo the openness of the landscape while providing a sense of being nestling into a grounded resting place. Whether you’re absorbing the sea serenade on the deck, curling up in front of the fire or lazing into a deep oceanic sleep, you might be tempted to stay inside all day. (Rain dance, anyone?)
But be sure not to miss the spa experience. The facilities include a small heated pool and hot tub overlooking the Bay and the Pacific, a sauna, a small but well-outfitted exercise room and two massage treatment rooms. Among the spa services, you’ll find a wide range of massages, healing body wraps and facials. With the helpful guidance of the spa staff, I chose the Signature Hot Stone massage and the Remineralizing Gel Body Mask, which turned out to be a delicious pairing.
Perfect for this rocky shoreline site, the hot stone massage utilized hot river rocks to slide deeply along the contours of my body and ease the tension vortexes away. With smooth rocks grounding my key energy centers, I settled deeper and deeper, carried to the bottom of the ocean—quiet and safe. Faintly aware of the sea air and distant waves, I let go and rested among the stones.
With a brief respite in a chaise lounge chair, listening to the waves and the shorebirds, I was escorted inside for the body mask. This wrap is designed to replenish important minerals in the body, as compared with the Kelp Body Mask, which is designed to draw toxins out of the body. With more time, I might have indulged first in the detoxifying kelp mask and then in the other, but my choice to soak in nutrients turned out to be very wise.
The practitioner slathered me with the high-powered gel and then wrapped me cocoon-like in a heated blanket. While the magic took effect, my head and face received a gloriously kind massage, then my feet received an expert unwinding of knots and tender spots. Had I any brain capacity available, I might have spun some imaginative visions of what sort of angelic being would emerge from this warm, healing cocoon. Instead, I simply received and rested deeply, no mind at all.
When the blankets were peeled back and the gel washed away, a renewed being emerged and returned to the deck chaise while I continued absorbing the bliss. Finally, a long walk on the beach unfolded, as open as the sea and sky. When sunset reds crept in and dyed the sky, the splendor of deep joy soaked into my every cell.