The Honor Mansion is an original – a historic property with all of the romance and charm one seeks to find in a bed & breakfast experience with the luxurious amenities of a four-star resort.
The property is located in Healdsburg, California, approximately 1 1/2 hours north of both San Francisco International Airport and Oakland International Airport. Healdsburg is part of Northern California Wine Country, and is chock full of stylish boutiques, tasting rooms, and award winning restaurants, all located near and around a historic Plaza. It’s a great place to “call home,” during a visit to Wine Country. The Honor Mansion is a 15 minute walk or a 5 minute drive from the Plaza.
The Victorian Italianate mansion was built in 1833 by William “Squire” Butcher.
Butcher lived the American dream when he struck gold – literally. He was transporting a wagon full of pot belly stoves when the wagon collapsed under the weight of the stoves and exposed a gold vein.
Eventually, Butcher would build the mansion for his family, while his daughters attended college in Healdsburg.
Butcher’s daughter, Bertha, married a rancher named Henry Honor (hence the “Honor Mansion”). The couple’s son, Herbert, was a medical doctor. He married a fellow doctor, Vera. The couple served as medical missionaries in the Philippines and when World War I started, they were captured as prisoners of war by the Japanese.
Ten months later they were released and moved back to Healdsburg and to the Honor Mansion. They provided medical care on the property and eventually renovated the mansion into a bed and breakfast.
After 108 years of ownership by the Butcher and Honor families, Cathie and Steve Fowler purchased the property in 1994. After six months of renovation, it reopened as its current incarnation.
Upon arrival, we were warmly greeted by Lupita, the property manager, at the front door of the historic mansion building.
While she completed our paperwork, we helped ourselves to a glass of wine – cocktails and hors’dourves are served nightly in the breakfast room in the main house. The Honor Mansion partners with Dutcher Crossing Winery, located nearby in the Dry Creek Valley AVA. Red and white was offered. We opted for a glass of Chardonnay, crisp and dry with little malolactic and a nice citrus flavor.
With wine in hand, we were guided on a tour of the 4-acre property after being escorted to our room. During our visit, we were one of three couples on the property – but we never even saw the other couples – it felt exclusive and romantic.
The property has a total of 13 rooms. Some are located in the historic house, with additional suites located throughout the property, including a room in the old water tower.
We stayed in Vineyard Suite #1, a well-sized and well-appointed room. The room decor is plush and feminine, inspired by Venice, Italy, with purple and gold fabrics and a lush marble bathroom. The bed was exceptionally comfortable, one of the most comfortable I have ever slept in.
A large television played jazz music, a bottle of Dutcher Creek Chardonnay awaited us, and a decanter of brandy resided at the wet bar for a late night warmer before bed. Love that old school touch. A gas-powered timed fireplace added to the ambiance.
The bathroom was amazing. A giant soaking tub, tons of marble, and a shower so large it could be rented as a studio apartment in San Francisco for a ridiculous amount of money. The shower includes two rainfall shower heads and a bench. All of the amenities are here, including cozy plush robes and tea light candles perfect for bath time prior to that brandy nightcap.
The private patio was even more delightful, with a Jacuzzi tub and chaise lounge chairs. Honor Mansion has all that is required for making the most of the outdoor tub: toiletries and towels in a basket in the bathroom to take outside and a rubber ducky.
California has been suffering from a major drought and Lupita assured us: the property is on a well, so don’t feel guilty by using the water-driven amenities. Oh trust me, we didn’t.
A high-end adult playground, the 4-acre property had so many activities to engage with that we were disappointed that it was still too chilly during our overnight stay for us to enjoy all that was offered.
The Honor Mansion has a 40 foot long heated lap pool with poolside massages offered in private cabanas. Massages are also available in the privacy of your room.
For those seeking a little more activity, there is a competition croquet court, a PGA putting green, tennis and half-basketball courts, and two of the most beautiful bocce ball courts in the region.
Additionally, the main house has a social space, where guests can borrow DVDs and books, enjoy a wood-burning fireplace and more brandy if you haven’t had your fix.
Food and drink
Every morning, staff delivers your preference of tea and/or coffee and house-made biscotti to your room. After lazily enjoying the most comfortable bed on earth, breakfast is ready.
The Honor Mansion’s breakfast is decadent. We enjoyed breakfast in the main house’s breakfast room, where a vast menu displays all the goodness available to fill your belly. Breakfast is also served outdoors by the koi pond, during warm weather, or for a small fee they will deliver breakfast in bed.
During our stay, a Santa Fe bake was the special, with sun-dried tomatoes, a nice red-bell pepper sauce, and more fresh fruit and pastries (from the locally owned Costeaux French Bakery) than you can shake a stick.
Even better – mimosas. Eight types of mimosas are offered with a ninth special mimosa. Guests are privy to two mimosas each on the house. We indulged in the special mimosa – pomegranate. It was delicious.
Warm hor’s dourves and local wine is offered in the evening at the main house from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. We left the property for dinner, walking to town to dine at Valette.
A true delight. This was my first “bed and breakfast resort,” experience, and it was a real pleasure. After we said farewell to the staff, we were in shock. The property was great, the service was great, our sleep was great, the room was great, it was all great – not a single thing went wrong, not a single disappointment. Even this journalist couldn’t find a problem.
It’s romantic, it’s modern, it’s an excellent place for a quick getaway, long-weekend, or special occasion, and the experience will ensure that you will easily recover the morning after indulging in Wine Country swiftly, whether in the privacy of your room or poolside.
A rare breed, the Honor Mansion is.
I loved it so much I bought a gift certificate for my parents so they could enjoy the wonderful property.
Children under the age of 16 are not allowed, neither are pets. ADA accessible rooms are available. Gluten free and vegetarian options are available as long as you let the staff know upon booking.
I confess: These accommodations were provided by a third-party as part of a press trip for the Healdsburg Chamber of Commerce & Visitors Bureau.