Behind The Scenes: Our Astro Motel Staycation

1. This Motel Made Me Cry

When The Astro Motel reached out, I was intrigued.

Located in a part of Santa Rosa that's getting some BUZZ.

An area proudly known as "Sonoma County's next big destination neighborhood!"

An up-and-coming arts district.

I'd heard about the Motel's massive renovation.

From a decade old motor lodge that used to be an eyesore, hub for drugs and prostitution to a midcentury modern MASTERPIECE.

I had to see this for myself.

Reminds me of the stray dogs on FB....

the ones with mange, frail and neglected.

Then a team of incredible humans rescue the dog and bring it back to life.

That's this motel!!! CUE THE WATER WORKS!

Like the mange dog, but in motel form.

Fur is all grown back and in beautiful condition.

Hand me a kleenex please.

I was also a bit incredulous that the team behind my fav little breakfast spot, Spinster Sisters, bought the motel.

The vision:

Take their little corner of Santa Rosa and turn it into a place for makers, doers and dreamers. Yes!

Totally on board with anyone and everyone passionate about Sonoma County.

The clincher. What sealed the deal.

Why I said "YES" to staying at the Astro.

Lisa Robbins (General Manager of The Astro Motel) shared a perspective that I've been wanting to squelch for years. Sometimes Wine Country is seen as a place for the rich, wealthy, and hoity-toity.


The Astro Motel wants to spread the word that Sonoma County can be VERY reasonably priced and does not have to be exclusive or fancy.

2. Strutting My Stuff

Back in my college days, I walked everywhere.

Cal Poly, SLO had all those hills.

Walking to class was the ultimate calf workout.

From the dorms we'd walk to downtown.

Then I studied abroad in Europe. Best shape I've EVER been in.

I think I even had tiny abs. I walked all over London.

Now-a-days, we drive everywhere. Or Uber. Such a shame.

The Astro Motel is within walking distance to loads of great stuff.

Walking on a sunny day brought back such happy college vibes.

Joe and I walked to dinner at Spinster Sisters.

We walked to breakfast at Dierk's Parkside Cafe.

My mom and I walked to the Luther Burbank Gardens.

We could have even walked to Downtown Santa Rosa.

3. My Mom's A Style Influencer

Joe stayed with me at The Astro and enjoyed participating in the nightlife.

My mom came during the day for some girl fun.

The beauty of a staycation is everyone is close by!

Head to my Instagram @sonomawinelife and watch our entire weekend stay by clicking on the Story Hi-Lights.

I got DM's saying my mom is fashion forward.

That she is!

Her leopard scarf and felt Fedora hat.

My mom fit right in with the funky Astro Motel artsy vibes.

I keep telling her she needs to start an instagram account.

Fashion Over 70 or

Over 70 And Fabulous



She also had a brilliant idea!!!

Because the Astro is very retro, and mid-century modern and has this 60's Mad Man TV show vibe.

How cool would it be if a group of friends got together and dressed in Mad Man style attire?

The crew could stay at The Astro and even hire a local photographer to do a photo shoot!!!! So fun!!!

4. We Rarely See Joe's Friends.

Joe and I are typically in a little bubble.

Our 'date night' rotation includes, Windsor, Healdsburg and Geyserville spots.

We rarely leave the bubble.

His group of friends are also EMT's, firefighters, and nurses.

Everyone is on a different schedule.

I think Joe has a hard time coordinating meet-ups.

Staying at the Astro Motel made life EASY!

His friends have a bar nearby, a favorite hangout.

Their version of Cheers, MacLaren's, The Drunken Clam, Paddy's Pub, Moe's Tavern...

you get the idea.

Their bar of choice is located right in Downtown Santa Rosa:

Ausiello's Fifth Street Grill. A short Uber ride from The Astro.

Known for its massive collection of condiments and bobble heads.

Sports on the TV.

We played Liar's Dice.

Great place to relax, drink, and hangout.

5. Free Hotel Soap Is Overrated.

Remember that episode of Friends when Ross goes with Chandler to a nice hotel in Vermont? He takes MASSIVE quantities of hotel supplies because why not?!?!? It's free.

Stocking up on Hotel Soaps is so yesterday.

The Astro Motel is on another LEVEL.

Essentially, The Astro Motel is a one-stop-shopping experience.

The furniture, art and fixtures located in the hotel are all for sale.

See something you like during your stay? Done.

Buy it. I personally LOVE this concept. Shop the motel HERE.

6. Joe Doesn't Always Like Being On Camera.

I literally had someone say to me, "I only watch your stories because Joe is in them, and he is funny." It's the truth. I don't deny it.

I know people tune into my Instagram shenanigans to get a glimpse of Joe winking or to check in on the progress of his mustache.

Joe is a really good sport.

When we go on these weekend trips for Sonoma Wine Life, it's fun but also very Social Media focused. I kinda turn into 'on my phone woman'.

Luckily, Joe loves being on his phone too, so that's not a big issue.

I do try to get him in as many stories as I can. Sometimes he is

When we were at breakfast on Saturday, at Dierk's Parkside Cafe, he was like NOPE.

He wanted to eat his breakfast burrito in peace.

5 hours later he was rocking out to N'Sync, in a white suit, at a Black Light party and totally ok with being in my Insta Stories.

He has boundaries and I respect that.

7. Wear Earplugs

Leave it to us.

Staycation in Santa Rosa AND STILL end up back in Healdsburg!!!!

The bubble is like a VORTEX! Always pulling us in.

My/Our friends are all about Black Light Dance Parties.

Coyote Sonoma hosts these parties once every three-ish months.

The beauty of The Astro Motel is you are centrally located.

Head up to Healdsburg or down to can get everywhere easily.

The Black Light Party was colorful.

We danced and danced and then danced and danced some more.

I have to admit that the ambiance of a Black Light Dance party is a 'must experience'.

Body paint! Bright neon wigs!

Everything photographs super artistic.

The music was LOUD!!!!

The next day my entire left ear was muffled and felt all clogged up.

Not good.

I actually was pretty concerned I might have done permanent damage.

Immediately ordered earplugs off Amazon.

From now on I keep earplugs in my purse.

8. Restored Motel Roadtrip!!!!

I had NO idea that transforming old motor lodges is now a thing.

As I researched our local treasure,The Astro Motel, my eyes were opened.

Here's an article I found FASCINATING.

Got my wheels turning.

An entire trip to wine country could be planned around staying at

TWO FABULOUS renovated Motels.

Experience Sonoma County at:

The Astro and THEN take a 35min drive and experience

Napa County at the Calistoga Motor Lodge and Spa!


Visiting wine country and getting a super unique hotel experience.

9. Our Staycation Hot Spots

The Astro Motel

Spinster Sisters: Dinner

Ausiello's: For Drinks

Dierk's Parkside Cafe: Breakfast

Luther Burbank Gardens: A beautiful stroll and local history

Coyote Sonoma: Black Light Party

Bird and the Bottle: Sunday Brunch


© 2020 Sheila Jane Co.