by Kasey Caminiti | August 20, 2019 3:30 pm
It’s hard to pinpoint exactly what makes Napa Valley so magical, because it’s the combination of its many charms that makes it what it is. Whatever is so enchanting about the area, no series of fires or devastation has been able to ruin it—and the valley has proved it by bouncing back after thousands of acres were scorched. If anything, Napa is better than ever, boasting a slew of luxury hotels, Michelin-starred restaurants, and exclusive wine tasting experiences that will have you coming back for more. Just a short drive from San Francisco or a quick flight from L.A., but equally well worth the journey from the East Coast, too, Napa continues to be a top contender in the world of luxury travel. Here we spotlight our picks for a perfect Napa Valley getaway.
Where to Stay:
Napa Valley’s rolling hills are home to more than just grapes; they’re the nesting grounds for some of the most luxurious vineyard-centric hotels you can find. Whether you’re looking for a completely remote locale with barely any cell service for a true escape or you want to be front and center in one of Napa’s adorable towns, there’s an extravagant property for you.
Las Alcobas Napa Valley made its debut less than two years ago, pegging itself as the first luxury hotel in the region since 2010. And it certainly lives up to its billing. The property’s well-appointed guest rooms are literally steps from the vineyard, with sweeping views of the hills behind. Grab a glass of wine and stroll outside to your private patio to take in the view and flip a switch to ignite the flames of your very own fire pit. Just don’t feel guilty if you can’t be bothered to leave the room—it’s bound to happen. With a day of tastings under your belt, belly up to the Atrio spa, a relaxation haven featuring Naturopathica products and a roomy coed steam room. Detox, here we come.
Solage, Auberge Resorts Collection
Nestled way up in the charming region of Calistoga, the Solage, Auberge Resorts Collection (one of three Auberge properties in Napa), is the place to come if you want pure luxury plus escape. Each guest room is its own private cottage with a garden, but you’ll find it a challenge to stay indoors when you’ve got a massive pool (rumored to be the longest in Napa) just steps from you and a world-class spa to play around in all day long. The Mudslide treatment—a 60- or 90-minute service that starts with a self-application of essential oil–infused mud and finishes in a vibrating sound chair—will send you into a state of pure bliss.
There’s been quite a lot of buzz around the anticipated opening of the Four Seasons in Calistoga, and the property is finally ready to launch in late fall of this year. In addition to its wellness spa, farmhouse-style accommodations, and what we can only imagine will be delectable farm-to-table fare at the on-site restaurant, the property will also feature an exclusive vineyard and winery run by Calistoga resident and renowned winemaker Thomas Rivers Brown.
Where to Taste:
One of the many great things about Napa is that you can bop around all day without a plan if you want to, thanks to wineries offering same-day tastings without reservations required. But if you’re looking to take your tasting experience up a notch, many of Napa’s finest wineries are offering their guests exclusive tasting experiences that are a step above the rest.
Round Pond Estate
Surrounded by the natural beauty of the vineyards and the Mayacamas Mountains lies the Rutherford estate, an exquisite property that houses the tasting for Round Pond wines. You can do a bar tasting, but we recommend the Estate Tasting, an experience including three limited-production estate wines paired with an amuse-bouche arrangement hand-prepared by the property’s executive chef. The lovely second-floor tasting lounge with panoramic views is the perfect spot to take a load off as you wine and dine the afternoon away. For those who want an even more decadent experience, book the Il Pranzo, which includes a tour of the winery garden and olive grove, followed by a curated multi-course lunch on the winery terrace.
Just a few miles north of St. Helena, up a winding mountain road well away from the hustle and bustle of the main drag, is the historic estate of Stony Hill Vineyard. Tastings are private here, held at the midcentury home of the founders atop Spring Mountain, giving it a very exclusive feel. Sip the brand’s handmade, small-production wines that are lean, bright, and elegant in their flavor profile.
Where to Eat:
Thomas Keller’s legendary French Laundry is any gourmand’s first stop in Napa, but it’s far from the only spot worthy of a return trip. Give these restaurants a try, and let us know if they end up on your repeat-visit Napa roster.
For something a little more down home but not lacking in mouthwatering cuisine, head to Farmstead, a former nursery barn with a farmhouse vibe, cathedral ceilings, and a smoker right outside the doors. Everything—from the meat to the produce to even the wine—is sourced from the property’s ranch, farm, and vineyards. When you dine here, don’t hold back: The grass-fed cheeseburger, made with Vella cheddar and topped with a farm egg, melts in your mouth. Do yourself and your dining guests a solid and order up a side of cheddar biscuits with honey butter; they’re warm, savory, and sweet, and filled with pillowy goodness.
Brix Restaurant and Gardens
Yountville’s Brix Restaurant has reopened after an expansive makeover, and it’s chicer than ever. The 16-acre culinary oasis includes indoor and outdoor dining with stunning views of the estate gardens, the Kelleher Family Vineyard, and the sprawling hills behind it. (It looks more like a storybook setting than reality.) Once you take a seat in the agricultural-chic dining room, however, don’t be surprised if you are distracted from the view, because the farm-to-table California fare is nothing short of spectacular. Don’t dare pass up the tempura green beans with spicy mustard sauce, and the same goes for any of the pizzas decked out with local ingredients from the garden and crisped to perfection in the wood-fired grill.
Like many of the top Napa restaurants, Press prides itself on its local farm-grown dishes, but the menu rock stars here are the steaks. Hand-selected, dry-aged, and roasted over an almond and cherry wood fire, they’re a beef connoisseur’s dream. Ditto for the Bacon Tasting; it’s not featured on the regular menu, but you can order it from the bar menu, and the waiter will gladly deliver it to your dining table. Slabs of curated bacon—double cut Nueske’s from Wisconsin and dry-rubbed Fatted Calf from the Golden State are two of them—will arrive hanging from something that resembles a clothesline, and the waiter will cut off pieces for all to try with his special bacon scissors.
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