MacArthur Place Redux
The landmark hotel in downtown Sonoma has been reinvented with state-of-the-art comforts and a superb new restaurant.
Living History: The MacArthur Place property celebrates its 150th anniversary this year.
A few blocks south of Sonoma’s picturesque main square is a quasi-hidden oasis called MacArthur Place Hotel and Spa, one of the most historic properties in all of Wine Country. Built in 1869 as a private estate, MacArthur Place has been welcoming guests to its complex of Victorian structures, set on six gorgeous acres, ever since it was converted into a hotel in 1997. But over the decades, design aesthetics as well as clients’ expectations have evolved, and the time had come for a radical reinvention.
Now, returning visitors to MacArthur Place are in for a delightful surprise. This summer, the boutique hotel completed an extensive $25 million renovation, with a remodeled reception area, guest rooms, and restaurant and bar. SFA Design and Sonoma-based RDC Architecture spearheaded the project, with the goal of preserving the property’s integrity while updating it with luxe, modern, and invitingly cozy elements. The net effect is a seamless integration of 21st century comforts and a farmhouse-chic sensibility.
All the guest rooms have high-touch finishes, custom furnishings, and upscale bathrooms; some even boast wood-burning fireplaces and outdoor showers. The lushly landscaped grounds exude a storybook quality. Connected by winding paths, they encompass fragrant plantings, secluded niches, seating areas with firepits, and interestingly weathered sculptures. The hotel also features a yet-to-be-renovated but still appealing pool and spa, which are scheduled for refurbishment beginning later this year.
One of the biggest updates to MacArthur Place is its new Mediterranean-inspired restaurant, Layla. Under executive chef Cole Dickinson’s guidance, Layla offers an appetizing mix of shareable plates, elevated comfort food, and farm-to-table gourmet fare, all served in an airy and convivial indoor-outdoor dining space. (Previously, MacArthur Place’s restaurant was a beloved Western-themed steak house. To honor its history, chef Dickinson added a selection of premium beef cuts grilled over an open flame to Layla’s menu.) The property’s upgraded food and beverage program also includes The Porch, a relaxed coffee bar; and The Bar at MacArthur, an atmospheric lounge serving craft beer and specialty cocktails.
Of course, it would be easy to come to MacArthur Place and never leave the estate. But because Sonoma has much to offer—from elite wineries, to one-of-a-kind shops, to a historic mission and parks—guests would be well advised to see the surroundings. The concierge at MacArthur Place can coordinate excursions, such as bespoke wine-tasting experiences via Bohemian Highway Travel Company. After exploring the area’s don’t-miss attractions, visitors return to the serene comforts of MacArthur Place for a restorative night’s sleep in an enchanted setting. And then return. Again. And again.