Kenwood Inn and Spa

Kenwood Inn and Spa

Valentine’s Day is just a week away. Lots of vibrant pink and red colors are everywhere, flowers and chocolate are in abundance, and so is the bubbly. But for me, celebrating Valentine’s Day is more fun when it’s not on Valentine’s Day.

Valentine's Day Pink Champagne

One year, when my firefighter husband and I were newly married, he had to work a 24-hour shift on February 14th. I was disappointed but he had a better idea.

On the evening of the 13th, he hired a car with a driver to pick us up and we went out for a cocktail, then to an elegant Italian place for dinner. The restaurant was empty except for us. We were given the best seat in the house, excellent service and we focused solely on each other. No distractions. It was a very romantic, memorable and stress-free evening.

Last year we went out for dinner on the 14th to a popular restaurant. The place was overflowing with people, the staff was tense and inattentive, the food was not as great as it normally is, and the noise levels in the restaurant made conversation challenging.

That is not a romantic evening in our book. Though we used to enjoy going out to celebrate on Valentine’s Day, neither of us love a crowd or noisy, frenetic places anymore. We opted this year not to go out for Valentine’s Day on the 14th.

Instead we decided to go away for the weekend, but stay local and stay in January, the slowest and most reasonable month of the year for most hotels in the wine country.

We have lived in Kenwood for 14 years and have never stayed at Kenwood Inn and Spa, a world-renown hotel that is stunningly beautiful, a unique luxury retreat. It’s something I have always wanted to do. Quite pricey during the high season, we were glad to take advantage of their terrific winter rates. It was just where we wanted to go for our Valentine’s Day getaway, and only 2 miles from home.


Entering the Kenwood Inn and Spa is like stepping into a Tuscan estate.


Small, charming buildings dot the property. These two buildings are near the pool area but far enough away to be private and quiet.


A koi pond and watermill were right next to our room. A soothing place to stop and reflect.


The luxurious pool area is located off the spa. Plenty of chaise lounges are available for guests along with fluffy towels and fresh water.


These tables looked like a great place to have lunch or a glass of wine. Or maybe do some outdoor blogging.


Once we got the lay of the land, we checked out our plush room. We were upgraded to a Junior Suite. Occupancy is usually very high in the spring, summer and fall but winter months are low. Lucky us!


A charming and welcoming living area greeted us when we first walked in. A fireplace, big cushy chairs, and stunning views out the windows made us hesitate to venture outside again.


The spacious bathroom boasted a big, deep whirlpool tub and a large shower.

kenwood-inn-and-spa-bedroom-junior suite

The bedroom was grand and cozy with its king-sized bed, soft linens, and antique furnishings.


Just off the bathroom door was a small semi-private patio with two chaise lounges, a lovely place to sit and listen to the nearby watermill, maybe read a book.


Once we unpacked our things, we cracked open a bottle of champagne to celebrate our decision to finally experience the Kenwood Inn.


After spending most of the day either relaxing in front of the fire or in the hot tub on the other side of the inn, we got ready for dinner.

On our way to the bar, adjacent to the small on-site restaurant, we glimpsed a view of the vineyards across the street, so familiar to us having passed them countless times. But the view somehow looked like a faraway land in that moment and context. We felt as though we were thousands of miles away in Europe.


Another wonderful thing about off-season and not doing our Valentine’s getaway on Valentine’s Day weekend is that we had the best table in the house for dinner, both nights! Sitting fireside, enjoying and incredible farm-to-table dinner prepared by a chef professionally taught by Gordon Ramsey himself, with the one you love more than anyone…well, you just can’t get too much better than that.


Until you start your day like this: soaking in a magnificent 104 degree pool with the sun on your face, birds chirping away, and your husband nearby. It was a spectacular Valentine’s Day that wasn’t on Valentine’s Day!


Just because we have already celebrated doesn’t mean we won’t do anything when the 14th arrives. We’ll just do something low-key, low cost and avoid the crowds.


Maybe we will go out for an afternoon picnic – outdoors if the weather cooperates, or on the living room floor in front of the fireplace if it doesn’t.


Or I might make heart-shaped toast and egg for breakfast and serve it to my husband while wearing one of his button-down shirts as a nighty.


And I may sneak a bar of chocolate with a little note into his briefcase for him to see when he gets to work.

Valentine’s Day is a reason for my husband and I to reconnect, do things a little more romantically than usual, and treat ourselves to something special that we both enjoy. It doesn’t have to be on the 14th. It can be any old time we want it to be!

What are your Valentine’s Day plans?

Do you celebrate early? Stay home? Go out on the town? Skip it all together?

Make it a rich day!






  1. February 7, 2014 / 5:51 am

    We don’t usually go out on Valentine’s Day either, and with it being a weekday this year, probably will wait until the weekend to celebrate. I’m thinking maybe we’ll wait until Sunday night when the hubbub has died down a bit, we’ll go to a local French-style brasserie. You’re so smart to have an off-season “stay-cation.”

  2. February 7, 2014 / 6:03 am

    Sounds wonderful! I agree on “celebrating” valentine’s day ahead of the crazy rush. We will probably stay in with the kiddos and enjoy a nice dinner and fancy dessert! I absolutely love the champagne holder…they had a similar one but in yellow for Christmas. I’ll have to look for it. Bubbles always makes any holiday better. Glad you enjoyed your getaway…looks like a fabulous getaway.

  3. Kathy
    February 7, 2014 / 7:14 am

    We had the great pleasure of staying at The Kenwood Inn and Spa for one night, and it was a truly magical place – can’t wait to go there again, and we are planning a trip there this Spring. We had such a beautiful, large room with a very romantic fireplace, which they had lit and waiting for us when we came back after dinner. I love staying in hotels where you don’t want to or have to leave the premises, so relaxing.
    Looks like you had a really incredible early Valentine’s weekend.

  4. February 7, 2014 / 7:39 am

    It looks like you had a spectacular time. We haven’t stayed there before, but will certainly check it out next time we stay for the weekend! We too, hate the busyness and crowds on the 14th, so usually keep our plans low key that day. Our anniversary is when we really like to celebrate. Such a wonderful review!!

  5. February 7, 2014 / 8:43 am

    Great post and I’ll be checking out that chocolate bar as dark choc and almonds are my favorite. Absolutely lovely pics; so warm and relaxing as we come up to a cold weekend here on the East Coast. Thanks for sharing!

  6. February 7, 2014 / 8:45 am

    Gosh that Inn looks like a Tuscan Villa. So beautiful and very romantic with the private patio.
    I agree with you about Valentine’s Day being far too busy and noisy in most restaurants, we have had a few evenings that were a great disappointment. I think I will plan a cozy dinner for two here at home this year as I have oodles of great cookbooks to peruse and coming up with a few new dishes will be fun. We have a bottle of Tattinger in the cupboard just waiting for a special occasion…now when it comes to chocolate these days I like salt crystals in mine and served with fresh raspberries….

    February 7, 2014 / 9:52 am

    I love that you two celebrate Valentine’s Day at other time”s when there aren’t the masses of people out and about. For the last few years, owe have celebrated with our two kids usually at home.(since most days fall on a week day).
    We will send them Valentines, get a heart shaped pizza, bake heart shaped cakes, or cupcakes and even indulge in a special little treat for one another at See’s candies. I am a low key person as well, and would rather celebrate with the family. Now that my kids are in their teen years, I know that we won’t have a lot of these days together. So for now, I prefer to share this day with the whole family.

  8. February 7, 2014 / 11:47 am

    What a fantastic idea, Adrienne, I loved your Instagram photos and now get to read the full story. Gorgeous place indeed and you were right to use the quieter time for your getaway!
    Valentine’s day isn’t something we really celebrate here in Germany – the industry however tries to make us aware of it…
    Since our anniversary is just a month later we will use it for a weekend escape to a lovely wine region in Italy. Looking forward to it!

    Annette | Lady of Style

  9. February 7, 2014 / 12:29 pm

    Such a pretty inn. With two kids under 8, it’s hard for us to plan things on Valentine’s Day in general so I celebrate all year. 🙂

  10. February 7, 2014 / 2:16 pm

    My husband’s birthday is February 14th, so we celebrate his birthday when everyone else is doing V -Day. I still do silly heart things, but more to say, “I love you, and thank you for being born!” This year we are going for an early breakfast of chorizo and eggs, then a little coffee at an Italian place not far from the house. After lunch out at his favorite burger restaurant, we’ll come home and open his present (for the geek in all of us): a dry erase board I’ll have installed. It is his favorite office gadget, but I’ll draw hearts all over it. Then a homemade dinner, movies and a pumpkin-maple custard with a single candle.

  11. February 7, 2014 / 2:20 pm

    Happy Friday Adrienne!
    What a romantic spot to celebrate…Valentine’s Day or anything for that matter! The Kenwood Inn is indeed a luxury property reminiscent of a European escape right in Sonoma Valley. I’m so pleased to see it hasn’t changed in ambiance since I viewed it years ago. It looks like you and Bill had a wonderful time. I so agree that going out on Valentine’s Day can be crazy making and stressful. I find it much more romantic to create a special evening at home or travel somewhere. This year we will be toasting Valentine’s Day in San Jose del Cabo Mexico on the beach at sunset. Needless to say I can hardly wait for the holiday this year. Loved all your special touches.
    Happy weekend girlfriend and enjoy the downpours.
    xx, Heath

  12. February 7, 2014 / 3:52 pm

    What a beautiful, romantic setting! We, too, do something smaller on the 14th, having pizza and wine together, followed by a movie on Netflix. xox

  13. February 7, 2014 / 8:48 pm

    We quit going out on Valentine’s Day years ago, now we enjoy a nice dinner at home or go out on another night. Years ago my sister and I used to treat my Mom to a Mother’s Day brunch every year and would plan it for either the weekend before or after. So much nicer!

    Looks like a wonderful and relaxing stay!


  14. February 8, 2014 / 12:08 am

    We’ll leave Aix for Italy next week, and will be in Florence on Friday, Valentines Day, and have been reminding ourselves every day that we need a reservation. But the other day we went to our favorite restaurant in Aix (Le Formal, in case you’re interested) and as we finished a fabulous meal with the best chocolate dessert ever, I exclaimed “I’ll take this as my Valentines meal!” And the night before neighbors whom we’d invited over brought flowers and a box of delicious Belgian chocolates- what more could I want?!

  15. February 8, 2014 / 8:38 am

    That place looks absolutely gorgeous! It does look like Europe, and how wonderful to have it almost to yourselves.

    We pretty much skip Valentine’s Day altogether because our anniversary is the 24th – that’s our own personal Valentine’s Day!

  16. February 8, 2014 / 11:35 pm

    We don’t like to go out on Valentines day either – it’s too crowded, food is usually prefixed and it just doesn’t feel as special. This inn looks so intimate and cozy…looks like a great romantic getaway.


  17. February 12, 2014 / 10:49 pm

    Always wanted to go here. So glad you went and showed us what a pretty property it is. Looks like the perfect place for a couples getaway. I love that you are so romantic and plan all these cute things for Bill. I still remember that list you made about all the reasons you love him. Very inspiring. Hope you have a great Valentines together! xx Kim

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