2 Romantic & Serenity Getaways in the Heart of California's Gold Country

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A recent long weekend getaway took us east bound towards the El Dorado Hills in Eastern California. While there are certain high end chains I have had outstanding experiences (Ritz Carlton, Four Seasons and a handful of others), I tend to lean towards the boutique luxury property, whether that be for a family stay or a romantic getaway. In this case, it was more of a rest & relaxation meditative retreat, a much needed break from urban living.

While San Francisco might not have the chaotic energy of New York City, I still hear sirens countless times of day from our second floor adobe-like house (is it me, or have ambulance calls quadrupled in the last year?) and we get the odd planes flying over and fighting cats in the back more often than I’d like for my haven of a retreat I call home. Home should give you a sense of solitude and peace and while we have tried to create as much of it as possible from a city back patio, it’s not the same as rural escapes where you can barely hear a pin drop in between the birds chirping in the early mornings.

Rather than head to a hotel, as luxury as it could be, we landed at a Villa, which is a quasi B&B style inn off a narrow quiet road in Coloma CA. The European-style Villa Florentina is surrounded by olive trees and houses a beautiful fountain bursting with refreshing cool water, a welcome retreat on a hot June weekend.

It was one of those hot scorching days when we arrived and we quickly learned that many places don’t have swimming pools because the river runs through the area and is a hop, skip and a jump to get to regardless of where you stay in the county. Exceeding 100 degrees when we first pulled up, splashing cold water from the Villa’s fountain was a nice way to greet this unique lodging getaway. We also learned that it is a known place for weddings in the area and it’s not surprising to see why when you see the exquisite grounds.

The Villa by night….

There are only a few rooms on the upper level, but all of them boast views and a couple have outside sitting areas where you can gaze at the valley around you. The ftont patio area you see at the top has a lovely view of the property – this repeats itself in the back, which is a great place to have a massage and so….I did. The nice thing about the property is that you can have a massage brought to you!

Wellness isn’t necessarily their theme despite the fact that you can have a massage on call and give them food preferences before you arrived. Since I’m staying away from dairy, the hosts made delicious scones and muffins with Almond Milk instead and the same goes for a delicious almond/soy yoghurt concoction that greeted us one morning at breakfast. With the number of weddings they have there and the peaceful and tranquil surroundings, romance is def on the list.

The amenities are all inclusive, from high end soaps and shampoos to candles, breakfast and reliable wifi, and there’s ample parking in the long driveway where you enter from the main road, none of which is “main.” It’s about as rural as it gets, making it a great place to unwind if life has wound you up too tightly in your day-to-day grind.

Our room had a luscious soaking tub, which I loaded up with Epsom Bath Salts the first night I arrived — ahhh, what a way to melt muscle aches away!

Nice touch to the furnishings inside (below) — and outside the rooms in the common sitting areas.

Two thumbs up for this charming property, which I’d consider an ideal getaway for a romantic weekend or when you simply need a whole lotta solitude, which despite how lovely a 5 star hotel or resort can be, it won’t give you the kind of silence a boutique property like this one can offer.


Villa Florentina

6673 Carvers Road

Coloma, CA 95613
(916) 662-2144


Speaking of quiet luxury getaways, we discovered a gem of a private luxury rental also in the heart of Gold Country, some 20 or so minutes drive from Coloma. Meet Casa Bella Verde, where there’s much more than meets the eye in this secluded 1,500 square foot luxury home with breathtaking panoramic views of the majestic Sierra Nevada Mountains. If that’s not enough to woo you, add to it gentle rolling hills, picturesque vineyards that dot the landscape, and beautiful Folsom Lake all around you.  Below is the inside of the main living and kitchen area, however it doesn’t even come close to showing you the kind of seclusion you’ll experience at this beautiful rental home.

Truth be told, we didn’t officially review the property but an experience of true unfolding and exploration was in full force. Our contact at the Tourism Board had a friend who knew the couple behind Casa Bella Verde and suggested we go for a swim at their swimming pool which would surely be a nice and welcome retreat from the sweltering heat of the Valley on that very hot and dry June weekend. Hmmm! How could we resist?

Little did we know we were about to embark on a journey of discovery about green technology, sustainable building and stunning design all wrapped neatly in a bundle on top of a hill with some of the most exquisite views you could ever hope for. There’s a much bigger story to this ever so green sustainable house that owners Briana Noelle and Nick Nikiforuk built over the course of three long years. It is built using ICF technology to create the most energy efficient structure known to the building industry, a technology which enables designers and builders to create, without limitations, a home with the very maximum energy efficiency.

I will dive into their personal story, including how it was built and why, what went into it and a more in-depth review of the property at a future time.  Not only were we awe-stricken by the stunning view, but our time spent with Briana and Nick was magical — they are authentic, warm, hospitable, funny and let’s just say the “real deal.” More on them and their property later, so stay tuned.  For now, here’s a shot of their semi-circular infinity pool to entice you to learn more.


Casa Bella Verde

More info at http://experiencecbv.com. 

Be sure to read my write-up on foodie and restaurant picks in El Dorado County and my piece on Gold Country for Wine, Romance & River Run.

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