My search for a family-friendly hotel in Sonoma County, California was exhaustive. Since so many of the inns that I adored catered more to couples then families, finding a room or suite with two beds wasn’t easy.  Did we want to splurge on a stay at a vineyard? Glamp it up in a luxury tent with a view of giraffes at Safari West? Or stick to a budget at a chain hotel off the highway? Hmm…decisions, decisions.

But then the Flamingo Resort Hotel invited us to find out why they were chosen as the Best Resort for Families in Wine Country by the San Francisco Chronicle/Examiner. Central Sonoma County location? Check. Family-size suites? Check. Outdoor swimming pool? Check. On-site restaurant? Check. Sign us up.

Flamingo Resort Hotel Review

Driving up to the Flamingo Resort in Santa Rosa, the first thing I saw was the column out front, its neon blazing brightly with a pink flamingo on top, and I had a flashback to stays at the Flamingo Hilton in Vegas. And it wasn’t just the flamingo. The vibe of the resort made me feel like I went through a time warp and I was pulling up to a Vegas hotel in the 1950s when Vegas was just a small town in the desert. I fully expected to see members of the Brat Pack pulling up in a big, old Cadillac. When I went into the lobby and heard music playing in the lounge I wasn’t sure I was really in Wine Country until I saw the wine case next to the front desk.

Family friendly hotels in Sonoma

Flamingo Resort Lobby. Photo image credit: Flamingo Resort Hotel

But while the resort boasts a 1950s facade (it was built in ’57), the inside just underwent a $3 million renovation. This investment is evident in the stylish rooms and the modern furnishings in the lobby.

After driving around to our wing and carrying our bags up to the second floor, we were so happy to walk into our room to find a very large, family-friendly suite. The sitting room offered a pull out sofa bed, perfect for our daughter, while the separate bedroom made us comfortable with a king-size bed. I can’t tell you how grateful I am to one bedroom suites with an actual door between the sitting room and the bedroom that allows that separation of space that allows us all to relax a little more because we aren’t on top of each other. Everyone sleeps better and, as parents, we don’t need to sit in the dark, huddled over our glowing screens and worrying about every exhale while the kid in the sleep mask is trying desperately to fall asleep.

Family friendly hotels in Sonoma

One bedroom suite. Photo credit: Flamingo Resort Hotel

Where to stay in Sonoma County

The bedroom of our suite.

While the bathroom was fairly small, it was accessible from both the bedroom and the sitting room, so it really made it convenient for anyone that needed to get up in the night to not disturb the rest of the family finding the bathroom. And while the room was so large and comfortable, you probably aren’t spending a lot of time there with everything else the hotel and area has to offer.

Family friendly hotels in Santa Rosa CA

Bathroom of the one-bedroom suite

The heart of the resort is its Olympic-sized pool and gardens, circled by glass-enclosed, Frank Lloyd Wright-esque corridors that connect its 170 rooms and suites to the rest of the hotel.

Where to stay in sonoma county california

Glass-enclosed corridors around the pool

The pool itself looked fabulous, and while we didn’t have a chance to give it a try, we could easily picture sitting in one of the many lounge chairs to enjoy the sun, or hanging out on the heated patio outside of the lounge.

Family friendly hotels in Santa Rosa CA

Flamingo Resort Hotel Pool

In fact, the Flamingo pool has been a hang out place for quite a while, harkening back to ’50s and ’60s when celebrities and movie producers were attracted to the Flamingo when in Northern California. It wasn’t too surprising to see photos of Jane Mansfield by the pool lining the halls.

Family friendly hotels in Santa Rosa CA

A more recent addition is the 20,000 square foot Montecito Heights Health and Racquet Club and Spa at Montecito that is accessible to guests for a $15 daily use fee. The health club features a yoga studio, a cycling studio, tennis courts, a 25 meter lap pool, workout classes, cardio, strength training machines, child care and full facility locker room.

If you are hungry, the Terrace Grille offers breakfast, lunch and dinner in a casually elegant setting. The hotel’s Flamingo Lounge provides entertainment with live music and dancing. On Sundays, you will also find Sunday brunch or continental breakfast being offered in the lounge. We took advantage of the continental breakfast, which was a fairly basic hotel offering for such an unusual setting. But we knew the pastries, cereal, fruit and hard boiled eggs would tide us over as we headed off for a day of wine tasting.

So did we find a family-friendly hotel? You bet. The Flamingo’s location in Santa Rosa, just minutes from Highway 101 and Highway 12, is a great central location for exploring Sonoma County. The family size rooms and suites will make everyone comfortable, while the health club, spa, and pool keeps everyone busy. Is it retro? Yes, but retro doesn’t have to mean dated. In fact, sometimes retro can be fun. After all, isn’t Snoopy making a comeback?

Family friendly hotel in Sonoma

One of the many giant Snoopys found throughout the hotel

Learn more about what to do in Sonoma with kids and suggestions for visiting family-friendly wineries in Sonoma.

Family friendly hotels in Sonoma

Photo credit: Flamingo Resort Hotel

 Do you have a family-friendly hotel recommendation for Sonoma County?

Note: The Flamingo Resort Hotel is centrally located at 2777 Fourth Street, Santa Rosa, CA. Our stay and breakfast was hosted by the Flamingo Resort Hotel. Feature photo courtesy of the Flamingo Resort Hotel. All opinions are my own.

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