With winter’s chilly temperatures and dreary rainy days, staying at home is tempting. But if you find yourself restless and itching for a getaway, yet don’t want to stray too far, a staycation is a great way to get away without having to go away. This type of escape offers all the benefits a traditional vacation brings—relaxation, indulgence, and bliss—without the hassle of detailed planning or the stress of flying or driving long distances. And luckily for East Bay residents, there’s an ideal staycation destination right in their own backyard.
Nestled among towering pine trees, the award-winning Lafayette Park Hotel and Spa beckons with its European-inspired architecture and lush environs, serving as a posh yet peaceful retreat from the fast-paced Bay Area. It’s easy to feel like royalty as soon as you arrive at the hotel, with its regal facade, impeccably manicured greenery, colorful gardens, and classic fountains. Stepping into the lobby is like being transported back in time. The gleaming white-tile floors, gold accents, sophisticated artworks, and tasteful furnishings exude the grandeur and elegance of a French château.
After checking into your luxurious, spacious suite or guestroom (and perhaps even ordering a bottle of champagne to your room), wrap yourself in a sumptuous robe and head down to The Spa at The Park. This full-service spa offers an array of signature massages, facials, exfoliation treatments, and body wraps—plus packages for those desiring a whole afternoon of pampering. The Half-Day Spa Retreat ($299), for instance, features a full-body exfoliation using blossom scrub, a 50-minute aromatherapy massage, a delicious lunch, and an 80-minute facial of your choice. Another popular option is the Lafayette Friends Spa Getaway ($440), which includes a facial, massage, and poolside lunch for two. Once your treatments are over, spend some time in the sauna and hot tub. Or, grab a book from the private library or one of the many bookshelves lining the halls, and sink into a comfy couch or plush armchair with a good read.
End the day with a delectable dinner at The Park Bistro and Bar, a contemporary American bistro with French flair, where executive chef and Bay Area native Frank Macias prepares edible works of art starring seasonal, local ingredients. You might begin with an amuse-bouche—such as Bodega Bay smoked salmon, pickled ginger, and silky cream cheese atop a house-made cracker—then enjoy a light yet flavorful salad of shaved fennel, slices of sweet orange, avocado mousse, and succulent Maine lobster. For your entrée, opt for the tender, perfectly cooked duck breast served on a bed of nutty green farro and roasted root vegetables—all finished off with a drizzle of pomegranate-infused duck jus. And to satisfy that sweet tooth, you can’t go wrong with the molten chocolate cake crafted from France’s Valrhona chocolate and served alongside brûléed bananas and creamy dulce de leche gelato.
The exceptional, beautifully presented plates are only enhanced by the impressive wines on offer, ranging from acclaimed Napa and Sonoma wines to unique French, German, and Spanish vinos. But the cocktails here must not be overlooked, either. Bar manager Ryan Wehrenberg uses house-made ingredients to concoct such creative libations as the Chimney Sweeper (Golden State vodka, Lo-Fi gentian amaro, Fernet-Branca, orgeat, lemon, orange bitters, and activated charcoal) and the Daughter of the Devil (Pelotón de la Muerte mezcal, Maurin Quina, Grand Poppy amaro, and agave)—both of which have won awards at the Lamorinda Arts Council’s Art of Mixology craft cocktail competition. Classic drinks abound too, but don’t hesitate to be adventurous. You are on a staycation, after all.