If there’s just not enough room on the sleeper sofa or your extra bedroom is out of commission, put visiting guests up in one of Marin’s unique hotels.
Acqua Hotel (Mill Valley)
Show them why you love Mill Valley. The Acqua Hotel blends modern elegance with the surrounding natural environment. Imagine your in-laws entering through the nine-foot glass-and-wood doors and relaxing with a glass of wine, the sounds of the waterfall in the lobby and straight-on views of Mount Tamalpais. All 25 junior suites feature large entry parlors, soaking tubs and private balconies with views of Mill Valley.
What they shouldn’t miss: The third-floor junior suites feature fireplaces. Rates start at $159. 415.380.0400, marinhotels.com
Alta Mira Hotel (Sausalito)
In December 2003, a longtime Sausalito resident bought the property and renovated it to its old glory—but with modern touches. Your friends and family will feel at home in one of the 23 rooms the bed and breakfast offers.
What they shouldn’t miss: The evening local wine and house-made appetizer reception served in the hotel’s cozy living room with balcony. Rates start at $150. 415.332.1350, sausalitoaltamira.com
Casa Madrona (Sausalito)
Help them renew and refresh after holiday stress at the Casa Madrona Hotel and Spa. The hotel exudes the charm of a bed-and-breakfast with the amenities of a luxury hotel. When not indulging in a treatment at the 3,000 square-foot spa, they’ll relax in one of 63 rooms, all featuring wood-burning stoves and claw-foot tubs.
What they shouldn’t miss: A dinner at Poggio—the upscale Italian restaurant is just downstairs. Rates start at $159. 415.332.0502, casamadrona.com
Courtyard Marriott (Novato)
Located on the former Hamilton air force base, this hotel offers a pool for the kids and a barbecue for the parents.
What they shouldn’t miss: A jog or cycle on the nearby trail. Rates start at $149. 415.883.8950, marriott.com
Embassy Suites (San Rafael)
Close to the Marin County Conference Center, Marin Veterans Memorial Auditorium, Northgate Shopping Mall, the famous redwoods of Muir Woods and China Camp State Park—to name a few—this hotel has prime location written all over it.
What they shouldn’t miss: If there’s work to be done, check out the business center complete with photo copying and video conferencing services. Rates start at $129. 415.499.9222, embassysuites.com
The Gables Inn Sausalito
Newly refurbished rooms, spectacular views and located in downtown Sausalito. Built in 1869, Sausalito’s finest historic bed and breakfast boasts 15 distinctively elegant rooms, many with private balconies, fireplaces, Jacuzzi tubs, and views of San Francisco across the bay. Guests enjoy a continental breakfast every morning with fresh cut fruits and pastries, and relax every evening around the fireplace in the comfortable, newly renovated lobby.
What they shouldn’t miss: Guests can also enjoy the benefit of a wine and cheese reception every night.
Rates start at $175. 415.289.1100, gablesinnsausalito.com
Gerstle Park Inn (San Rafael)
Once they’ve settled into one of the eight rooms or four cottages, they’ll be free to explore the 2.5 acres of land owned by the Gerstle Park Inn. Fresh flowers, grazing deer in the garden, gourmet breakfasts (made to order) and a gathering room to enjoy wine will make them never want to leave.
What they shouldn’t miss: The Leonhard Suite features an 18th-century French bedroom set. Rates start at $179. 415.721.7611, gerstleparkinn.com
Larkspur Hotel Mill Valley
Located at the edge of Richardson Bay in scenic Marin County, Larkspur Hotel Mill Valley blends natural beauty with a convenient location, offering access to some of Northern California’s most visited attractions. Each of the 100 newly redesigned guestrooms at this former Holiday Inn Express feature the signature FeatherBorne® Bed, complimentary wireless Internet, iPod docking stations and 42″ LCD flat screen TV’s. Relax by the outdoor heated pool, get some work done in the complimentary business center or step into Frantoio Ristorante and enjoy an authentic contemporary Italian meal right next door to the hotel. 415.332.5700, larkspurhotelmillvalley.com
Manka’s Inverness Lodge (Inverness)
Tucked in the hills of Inverness is a hunter’s paradise complete with flannel-covered couches and deer-head trophies. The early-1900s accommodations include a restaurant and 14 rooms above the wetlands of Tomales Bay.
What they shouldn’t miss: The dining room’s menu is devoted to sustainable foods and organic farming. Rates start at $215. 415.669.1034, mankas.com
Mill Valley Inn (Mill Valley)
Easy access to downtown Mill Valley. This intimate hotel is tucked away in a redwood grove at the foot of Mount Tamalpais but is still steps away from galleries, fine restaurants, boutiques and theaters.
What they shouldn’t miss: Room service from Piazza D’Angelo Restaurant. Rates start at $189. 415.389.6608, marinhotels.com
Mountain Home Inn (Mill Valley)
If your guests are looking for a rustic (and romantic) retreat, introduce them to the Mountain Home Inn. Towering redwood forests set the scene for legendary hikes.
What they shouldn’t miss: The game room, where Scrabble beckons and a fireplace provides late-night ambience. Rates start at $175. 415.381.9000, mtnhomeinn.com
Olema Druids Hall (Olema)
If it’s a true experience they’re after, put them up in an inn built in 1885 as a meeting hall for the Druids Association. An extensive renovation has added urban comforts, like an apartment-size suite, while maintaining the integrity of the original historic structure, including the grounds’ moss-covered walls and brick pathways.
What they shouldn’t miss: The inn’s store, Vita Collage, offers many of the antique objects from the Olema Druids Hall. Rates start at $175. 415.663.8727, olemadruidshall.com
Point Reyes Seashore Lodge (Olema)
After a day of exploring Marin, they can take refuge in the lodge for a quiet evening in the countryside. Ultimate relaxation is the goal, with in-room fireplaces, whirlpool tubs and local wine and cheese served right in the backyard. When dinner time arrives, it’s only a short walk next door to the Farm House Restaurant.
What they shouldn’t miss: A trip to the game room, where guests can test their skills with a game of pool. Rates start at $135. 415.663.9000, pointreyesseashore.com
San Anselmo Inn (San Anselmo)
When your guests want the charm of a bed-and-breakfast but the easy
access to a downtown location, check them in to the San Anselmo Inn. The inn’s French wine bar and Sunday afternoon tea session are sure to impress.
What they shouldn’t miss: The homemade scones at breakfast in the banquet room. Rates start at $89. 800.598.9771, sananselmoinn.com
The Inn Above Tide (Sausalito)
Play host to the family on the water—literally. The Inn Above Tide not only offers million-dollar views of San Francisco, but it’s also in the heart of Sausalito. If you can pull them away from their room—most have private decks, fireplaces and oversized tubs—they’ll find galleries, shops, restaurants amd the ferry to San Francisco only a short walk away.
What they shouldn’t miss: The vista suite and penthouse offer entertainment centers and wet bars; cocktails, anyone? Rates start at $270. 415.332.9535, innabovetide.com
The Lodge at Tiburon (Tiburon)
If your guests seek a full-service luxury retreat but still want shopping at their fingertips, look toward the renovated Lodge at Tiburon. Set amid three acres of landscaped gardens, the hotel is surrounded by more than 40 shops, art galleries and restaurants.
What they shouldn’t miss: The hotel’s spa suites feature Jacuzzi tubs, while the residential suites boast a kitchenette. Rates start at $189. 415.435.3133, thelodgeattiburon.com
The Olema Inn (Olema)
The antique furniture, Ralph Lauren linens and down comforters will set the scene for ultimate relaxation. When hunger calls, your guests can indulge in the inn’s restaurant, a San Francisco Chronicle top 100 choice.
What they shouldn’t miss: Chef Ed Vigil’s oysters topped with caviar or bacon. Rates start at $145. 415.663.9559, theolemainn.com
The Pelican Inn (Muir Beach)
If the Yorkshire pudding and cottage pie can’t satisfy them, what can? Put them up in one of seven snug bedrooms; then they can hit the English pub.
What they shouldn’t miss: A game of darts in the pub. Rates start at $190. 415.383.6000, pelicaninn.com
Waters Edge (Tiburon)
Introduce the family to historical Tiburon with the Waters Edge hotel, located on a dock along picturesque Main Street and flanked by a bustling restaurant scene–The Caprice, Guaymas, Sam’s Anchor Café, Rooney’s and Servino. When not enjoying one of the 23 guest rooms, many of which feature private decks and vaulted ceilings, your guests can work off the holiday sweets at the state-of-the-art fitness center.
What they shouldn’t miss: The two grand suites offer a living room, as well as views of the San Francisco skyline, Angel Island and the Tiburon waterfront. Rates start at $189. 415.789.5999, marinhotels.co
BY SOMER FLAHERTY