With new and expanded air service, a growing portfolio of new or completely renovated hotels, and a lengthy list of new restaurants, bars, and other businesses, the timing of the reopening of California’s economy coincides with a welcome resurgence of visitor and tourism-related services in the Sonoma County community of Santa Rosa.
In total, more than two dozen new, renovated, expanded, or planned businesses now call Santa Rosa home, at a time when many similar projects have been postponed, delayed indefinitely, or altogether shuttered nationwide. Santa Rosa’s hoteliers, restaurateurs, shop owners, wineries, breweries, and activity providers are now eager to show off their new or improved products.
“My hat is off not only to the Santa Rosa businesses that endured the pandemic’s challenges, but also to the many entrepreneurial spirits in our community who doubled down on tourism’s future, and who will not let anything get in the way of their pursuit of the American dream,” said Brad Calkins, Executive Director of Visit Santa Rosa. “Our resolve has been tested before, and each time we emerge stronger, more unified, and ready to welcome visitors back to a wonderful place that we are fortunate to call home.
Following is a list of the new, renovated, or expanded businesses and services that have sprung up in Santa Rosa in recent months, or plan to do so in the coming months:
Avelo Airlines – The inaugural Flight from America’s first new mainline airline in nearly 15 years — Avelo Airlines — touched down at Charles M. Schulz Sonoma County Airport on April 28. Avelo offers daily non-stop service between LA’s iconic Hollywood Burbank Airport (BUR) and Santa Rosa (STS), the gateway to wine country.
Alaska Airlines – Alaska Airlines has increased its service and commitment to Santa Rosa/Sonoma County with more nonstop flights. Starting June 1, the airline added daily nonstop service between Santa Rosa/Sonoma County and Burbank. On Sept. 8, Alaska will add additional flights to both Orange County and San Diego. With the additional flight, the airline will have 13 peak day nonstop flights to six destinations from Sonoma County.
AC Hotel by Marriott (Opened August 2020) – Located in the historic Railroad Square, the hotel offers a blend of Spanish roots and European style, paired with the authentic urban vibe of Santa Rosa and its surrounding neighborhoods.
La Quinta Inn & Suites by Wyndham (Opened February 2021) – The new La Quinta Inn & Suites by Wyndham is a contemporary hotel, located in the heart of Santa Rosa and features include super-fast Wi-Fi, micro and fridge, outdoor pool, hot tub, fire pit patio area, oversized fitness center, and a lobby bar.
Flamingo Resort (Remodel completed June 2021) – The Flamingo Resort is a mid-century marvel and was the place to see and be seen in Santa Rosa of the late 1950s. Patterned after the horizontal glass and stone design of Las Vegas’ Flamingo, wings of rooms fanned out from a resort-size pool and manicured gardens, all topped by a big, pink bird revolving atop a landmark 50-foot tower. The buildings, rendered with natural materials and iconic angular silhouettes, are the work of master architect Homer A. Rissman and were declared a Historic Landmark in 1996. Fully remodeled in 2021 the 10-acre campus includes 170 sanctuary rooms, a year-round heated pool, hot tub, ice bucket shower, full-service fitness center, Pilates and cycling studio, tennis courts, lap pool and spa.
Holiday Inn Express Santa Rosa North (Remodel completed June 2021) – Following a seven-month closure for a complete remodel, the property recently reopened under the Holiday Inn Express brand. The top-to-bottom remodel included all guest rooms, public areas, and the outdoor pool where they have added grills and fire pits for the year-round wine country experience.
RESTAURANTS & BARS – NEW IN 2021
Warike Restobar – Warike Restobar was born in the search for the perfect pairing between Peruvian cuisine and the best product obtained in the California waters. Three family partners with Latin roots: Luigi, Kevin, and Gustavo bring the concepts of the true cevicheria and Peruvian restaurants to downtown Santa Rosa. From the same family as Ayawaska in Petaluma and Novato.
La Fondita – Roseland’s iconic La Fondita restaurant is expanding to downtown Santa Rosa. Known for more than 20 years for authentic, affordable Mexican cuisine, the downtown location will be the third for owner Maria Elena Reyes. Elena Maria Reyes started her food business in 1996 with an old food truck she and her husband financed by selling their cars and asking her grandmother for a few thousand dollars in start-up money
Falafel Hut 2 – Owner Mohamed Shawa opened his first restaurant, Falafel Hut, in 2006 with his father in San Rafael. Since then, he’s been serving up authentic Middle Eastern cuisine reminiscent of his Palestinian heritage — shawarma, kebabs, gyros, and, of course, falafel. His recipes, inspired by his mother’s cooking, come straight from Palestine, a place he’s visited for long stretches of time over the years, and where his cousin has been a chef for thirty years. Now, he’s going into business with his cousin, Asem Alshawwa, to open Falafel Hut’s sister restaurant, Falafel Hut 2 in Santa Rosa.
Nothing Bundt Cake – Founders Dena Tripp and Debbie Shwetz started out making cakes for their friends and family and the cakes they made were delicious, unlike anything anyone had tasted and as a result, the side project turned into something more. Local owners Jan and Waverly are a mother and daughter team. Jan’s bakery in Arizona has won best dessert/bakery in the Phoenix East Valley for the past three years and Waverly is currently the chairwoman of the Healdsburg Young Professionals and Entrepreneurs.