Found north of San Francisco, this Californian idyll is best known for its world-class winemaking. As such, many visit for the wonderful vineyards, temperate climate, beautiful landscapes and superb food. With five major towns and four distinct regions, there’s a fair amount of choice when it comes to where you can stay. Many like to tour the area, while others prefer to base themselves close to either Calistoga, St. Helena, Yountville, Napa, or the American Canyon. In addition to its liquid delights, the valley provides plenty of culture, shopping opportunities, spas, hikes, golf courses and activities for kids.
Four Seasons Resort and Residences Napa Valley
Surrounded by hundreds of acres of vineyards and a backdrop of forests and mountains, the Four Seasons Resort and Residences offers a supreme location. It’s set on a highly esteemed vineyard in Calistoga and is brand new for November 2021. The resort has 85 bedrooms and suites and a stone spa sanctuary with the option of alfresco treatments using local mud. The dining offer includes Truss, with its signature farm-to-table dishes, a Californian-Mexican open-air eatery and a wine tasting room. There are two outdoor pools one of which is adults only and a programme of activities for younger guests, making it ideal for families wishing to relax together.
Auberge du Soleil
First imagined by the French restauranteur Claude Claude Rouas in the 1980s, this was the valley’s original fine-dining destination. Here hotel guests get a taste of Provence, surrounded by US wine country. There are 50 bedrooms at the property ranging from private Maisons to classic rooms. But of course, it’s the culinary offer that is the highlight at Auberge du Soleil. Three and four-course set menus are offered alongside five and six-course tasting menus – these are sensory experiences that excite the pallet. Meals are accompanied by French-inspired cocktails, bubbles from the tableside champagne cart and of course the extensive wine list. There’s also a bistro and bar for a more relaxed approach to mealtime, with stunning sunset views at the end of the day. Auberge du Soleil has been in receipt of a Michelin star for 14 consecutive years.
Bardessono Hotel and Spa
Opened in 2009, this 62 room boutique hotel and spa are set on a five-acre site in Yountville. The brand is committed to sustainability with reusable materials, including salvaged wood, found throughout the property. Bardessono Hotel may be eco-friendly, but it’s nevertheless extremely luxurious. The rooms teem with natural light thanks to large picture windows, fountains bubble outside and art adorns the walls. It has a heated rooftop pool with a hot tub and gym, yoga classes and complimentary bike hire for those who wish to get active. Guests seeking the VIP treatment can book a steam spa suite with champagne soaking tubs and massage tables. Many rooms offer 100% Egyptian cotton linens, gas fireplaces, REN toiletries and iPads for use during the stay.
Alila Napa Valley
Located in St Helena, a stroll away from shops and restaurants, this Hyatt hotel is linked via a wooden footbridge to the prestige Beringer Vineyards. Book a room on one of the upper floors to take advantage of the best views over the winery and a suite, if you want a space the size of an entire apartment (with an expansive terrace). The gym has Peleton bikes, or you can use one of the hotel’s Trek bikes to get outdoors and there’s a small outdoor pool, set into a sleek terrace. Acacia House is Alila’s restaurant and it’s open to the public. Order small plates like burrata and tuna tartare, with mains including diver scallops with smoked pork belly, local McFarland’s spring trout and California burger.
Carneros Resort and Spa
Housed in a range of what were originally farm structures, Carneros rocks a kind of sustainably-minded agricultural chic. The spa carries this theme, with earthy natural ingredients, as does its lounge-style restaurant, The Farm. An infinity pool provides a wonderful spot to soak in the countryside (it’s adults-only, so you can enjoy some peace and quiet – there’s another pool for families). Choose to stay in one of 86 cottages on-site, all with their own gardens, patios and decks with gas heaters and outdoor showers.
Solage, Auberge Resorts Collection
Palm trees stand sentinel at the end of the pool, with neatly arranged plush sunloungers and angular parasols in front of a mountainous backdrop creating an aesthetic that wouldn’t be out of place in – not so far away – Los Angeles. There’s another six pools at Solage – one for kids and five geothermal pools in the spa. Rooms here have a calming, minimal feel and botanical toiletries, while some have outdoor patios with sofas, fire pits and hot tubs. Farm-fresh fine cuisine is served in the restaurant, with snacks and drinks available on the terrace during the day.