As my red Mini Cooper climbed the driveway to the villa in the sky, my excitement began to peak. Bella Villa Messina would serve as my home base in Sonoma County wine country for the next three nights. With 360 degree views of the Alexander, Dry Creek and Russian River Valley, this wine lover was in for a treat!
Owners Jerry and Harold hit the motherlode when the couple purchased this private home in 1994. Built in 1986 on top of the old Simi Winery reservoir, the Healdsburg bed and breakfast is part private home, part antique museum. Over the course of their lifetime, Jerry and Harold have picked up an unusual collection of antiques that they have on display throughout the house.
Each of the five bedrooms is unique to the property with the Asti Room on the premium end, renting for $390 per night, while the Italian Room rents for $220 per night. Check the website for current pricing. I will say that Bella Villa Messina is a bargain compared to another fine property in Healdsburg that boasts similar antique European furniture and artwork.
“We’re different here than Napa Valley,” notes Jerry. “We’re more down to earth.” Earth or terra firma being the watchword in this area. Jerry points out that Simi Winery has been here in Healdsburg for a long time, with roots dating as far back as 1876.
“These were all planted in Sunsweet Prunes,” remembers Jerry as his hand swipes broadly in front of his chest to encompass the surrounding valley below the property.
“In 1972 the bulldozers came. Prunes were out and grapes were in. All the old timers surrounded us. Our Alexander Valley is known for every varietal of wines.” Jerry goes on to stay that, “Sonoma County is one of the only counties where the vineyards and our Redwoods and ocean meet.”
Only 60 minutes to the coast and 45 minutes to the Redwoods, there are a wealth of things to see and do in Healdsburg and surrounding Sonoma County. Wine lovers will enjoy Taste of Alexander Valley, as well as events year round.
On Sundays, Lou Preston of Preston Vineyards does a jug wine blend that is equivalent to four bottles of wine – remember to byoj (bring your own jug!)
A wealth of information, Jerry is your one man concierge service when it comes to restaurant and winery recommendations. He’s also a master in the kitchen. I enjoyed Eggs Benedict my first morning and the house specialty of Hawaiian French Toast for my last breakfast. This, in addition to fresh fruit, juice, coffee and thick sliced bacon, is served daily in the dining room.
Jerry and Harold offer nightly cocktail hour from 5:30 – 7:00 p.m. for all guests to gather and enjoy a drink and a bite to eat. The cheese lover in me was very happy to be introduced to some new-to-me tastes!
More details: on site parking and wi-fi are complimentary to all guests of Bella Villa Messina.
The French Room
The French Room, priced at $350 per night, is reflective of a European suite and is conveniently located on the first floor. It features a king size 4-poster bed, gas fireplace, jacuzzi tub, separate shower and bidet. Off the private deck there are views of the Alexander Valley, Geyser Peak and the Sonoma County Geysers.
Check-In Time: 3:00 p.m. or by previous arrangement
If You Go:
Bella Villa Messina (707) 433-6655
316 Burgundy Road
Healdsburg, California 95448
Hotel review, video and photos courtesy of Lodging Editor Nancy D. Brown. I was a guest of Bella Villa Messina while researching stories on Healdsburg wine country.