The team behind The Spinster Sisters restaurant in Santa Rosa was putting the finishing touches on remodeled motor lodge the Astro Motel—adding landscaping to the parking-lot-turned-garden and training staff—when devastating wildfires broke out across Northern California wine country.
Santa Rosa was particularly hard hit. Three thousand homes were lost to the flames, and thousands of residents were forced to flee. So the Astro leapt into action. Though it wasn’t scheduled to debut until October 27, it got a permit to open early, and within days the motel had become a refuge for evacuees, all 34 of its art-adorned rooms filled by local farmers, elderly neighbors, restaurant regulars and families with infants.
“People were overwhelmed and overwrought, but a sense of community emerged really quickly,” says Spinsters Hospitality President Liza Hinman. “We’ve always known that we had a very special community in Sonoma County, and this really energized and reaffirmed that we live in such a special place.”
Some rooms are still set aside for FEMA-qualified survivors, but the Astro is now officially open to the public, welcoming visitors back to wine country and preparing to celebrate its grand opening on January 18.
Take a peek inside the stylish motel, where mid-century modern furnishings are available for purchase and an in-house bike mechanic can tune your ride.