Travel

The Napa Valley Guide

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As total winos, we’re constantly taking notes on the best spots in Napa (cue Escapes for Foodies and Winos). The classics, like The French Laundry, Opus One, and Auberge du Soleil, will always rank high on our list for continuing to set the bar for food, wine, and ultimate luxury. That said, discovering new-to-us wineries, restaurants, and mom-and-pop boutiques is just as exciting. A short drive from San Francisco (45 miles north of the Golden Gate Bridge), and a quick flight from LA, Napa continues to be an easy long-weekend getaway for West Coasters and visitors alike.

Auberge du Soleil

180 Rutherford Hill Rd., Rutherford | 707.963.1211

Set up on a hill above an endless—and undulating—vista of vineyards, Auberge du Soleil has been maintaining the luxury standard in Napa for thirty years. Though it's since spawned two sister hotels (Solage and Calistoga Ranch), Auberge du Soleil is the reigning patriarch in Napa Valley, particularly when it comes to old-school indulgences and creature comforts (the other two spots are a bit more modern and laid-back). Here, the cottage-like rooms are organized into private little villages (they all feature patios and terraces). With two Michelin stars, Auberge's main, global-inflected restaurant draws a crowd that swells well beyond hotel guests—the Japanese breakfast is particularly dreamy. Don’t miss the spa: While hotel treatments often aren’t that great (particularly for their generally inflated price tags), this was one of the best massages we’ve ever had, particularly because it was followed by a soak in the outdoor bathtub. Meanwhile, Quintessa Winery, one of our favorites, is just across the street.

Bardessono Hotel

6526 Yount St., Yountville | 707.204.6000

Just a short walk from downtown Yountville and its bevy of great restaurants, Bardessono definitely boasts one of the best locations in the valley. With sleek, streamlined décor, excellent tech in room, and the almost impossible-to-accomplish LEED platinum rating, the vibe here is decidedly modern without sacrificing luxury. The grounds are incredibly lush, with the addition of a few well-placed water features, giving you the sense of an outdoor experience despite the relatively compact property.

Calistoga Ranch

580 Lommel Rd., Calistoga | 855.952.4220

This hotel has its own cabernet-producing vineyard, so you get the full Napa Valley experience without even leaving the property. There's plenty else to do on site, from walking the stunning grounds and hanging out at the pool, to gathering eggs from their deluxe new coop. Should you book a stay in the early fall, you can join the pruning, harvesting, and crushing of the grapes. Each of the fifty rooms has a fireplace and a private deck, and occupies its own, secluded lodge, which guarantees plenty of privacy. While Calistoga Ranch makes for a great romantic holiday, it’s kid-friendly too, with a new family pool and a lunchbox menu just for little ones. Should you want to go out (it is Napa, after all) you can borrow one of the ranch's cars.

Carneros Resort and Spa

4048 Sonoma Hwy, Napa | 707.299.4900

Formerly the Carneros Inn, the 28-acre resort is now under new ownership but still maintains its farmhouse-style charm, with a few welcome updates. Like many Napa hotels, rooms here are situated in individual cottages, each outfitted with rocking chairs and an outdoor shower and fire pit. An adults-only pool overlooking the neighboring vineyard is probably the most Instagrammed thing on property, but it's totally idyllic all the same.

Hotel Yountville

6462 Washington St., Yountville | 707.967.7900

Although it's eighty rooms strong (and has the spa, restaurants, and pool to accommodate that many guests), Hotel Yountville feels like a small, quaint, boutique hotel. The cozy, updated interiors match the grand stone building that houses them. Definitely ask for a room with a fireplace.

Las Alcobas

1915 Main S., St. Helena | 707.963.7000

This stunning new hotel merges modern, minimalist design within a historical landmark. Six of its sixty-eight rooms are housed in the Acacia House, a 1905 Victorian mansion that also hosts the Chris Cosentino-helmed restaurant (aptly named Acacia House), as well as a lounge that offers some of the most expansive views in the valley. Like its sister hotel in Mexico City, the rooms are elegant and considered, and the architecture is noteworthy. Book the Atrio Experience, a reflexology & aromatherapy experience topped with an Indian head massage, stat upon your arrival.

Meadowood

900 Meadowood Ln., St. Helena | 877.963.3646

If making the pilgrimage to Napa Valley is a must for any foodie or wino, then Meadowood in St. Helena is most certainly Mecca. In the Restaurant, Chris Kostow continues to wow critics, guests, and chef friends alike with his vision, passion, and downright deliciousness (proof: Kostow's cookbook A New Napa Cuisine). Plus, there's no better place to sleep off a three Michelin-starred meal than in one of their cozy rooms by a roaring fire (unless you count the massage table at the seriously idyllic spa).

Meritage Resort and Spa

875 Bordeaux Way, Napa | 844.283.4588

Given its grand amenities–including its own nine-acre vineyard–this hotel and spa is definitely more of a resort, therefore not the best bet if you're looking for a quaint-style inn or hotel. The customer service is excellent, as is the spa. It offers tastings in it's cellars and is only about a ten-minute drive from downtown Napa if you're looking to explore or head out to dinner.

Poetry Inn

6380 Silverado Trail, Napa | 707.944.0650

The Poetry Inn is somewhat isolated up in the Stag's Leap District (it's about a twenty-minute drive from downtown Napa), and although the rooms feel accordingly secluded and private, almost all of them have excellent views of the nearby hills. The décor is understated but elegant (leather sofas, natural woven wicker chairs, and cozy woven throws). If you're interested in an extended trip, look into their three-bedroom farmhouse that's available for monthly rental; it’s complete with a full kitchen and a private pool.

Solage Calistoga Resort & Spa

755 Silverado Trail, Calistoga | 707.226.0809

Due to an abundance of white-washed, barn-like architecture, walking around this elegant newcomer feels like taking a stroll through a posh horse stable, with white, clean lines, and tall ceilings (but certainly no horses). Like most resorts in the area, rooms are organized into studio cottages with private patios, and their pool scene is nice and roomy, with plenty of deck space and lounge chairs. You'll be in good hands, food-wise, with their Michelin-rated restaurant, and a pretty serious spa. Calistoga is known for its mud baths (the geo-thermal heat and mineral-rich mud make for a healing restorative bath), and we've heard that Solage offers one of the best around.

Wydown Hotel

1424 Main St., St. Helena | 707.963.5100

Hotel prices in Napa can get outrageous fast, and Wydown is our favorite pick in the mid-price range. The location in downtown St. Helena is pretty unbeatable, as you can walk to all of the shops and tasting rooms. Book well in advance—there are only twelve rooms, and they go fast.