After a jam-packed day of wine-tasting, romantic dinners, incredible sunsets and more wine-tasting, each and every visitor to California’s Napa Valley needs a place to spend the night. Thankfully, though the region is no more than 40 miles from end to end, there are hundreds (yes, you read that right … hundreds) of accommodations from which to choose.
Admittedly, some of these properties are swankier than others; Meadowood, Carneros Inn and Calistoga Ranch rank among the very best luxury resorts in the entire world. The region is home to some worthwhile boutique properties, too — namely the Wydown Hotel in St. Helena and the Brannan Cottage Inn in Calistoga. If you’re planning to spend most of your next Napa vacation tasting wine, we encourage you to consider all 10 of these wonderful resorts, and then think again.
Visiting Meadowood is like visiting a luxurious treehouse. The property is nestled in a forested valley east of St. Helena; when you’re there, it feels as if it’s the only place in the world. A total of 85 rooms are spread across a main lodge and outlying buildings that fit effortlessly into the landscape. There’s also a tennis court, croquet lawns and a world-renowned restaurant. The resort is also expanding and modernizing its spa; when work is finished in late summer 2015, the facility will boast 8 treatment suites.
Luxurious indulgence and wellness achieve perfect balance at this old-school resort in the hills around Rutherford. Its spa was modeled after an old monastery and continues to offer one of the most highly regarded spa experiences in the country. The Michelin-starred dining room pairs Mediterranean cuisine with spectacular views of the valley below. Perhaps the best way to indulge: Spend time in the resort’s 50 rooms. Accommodations feature bright colors, lots of natural light and private terraces to bring the outside in. Rooms also include custom-made bath amenities, as well as fireplaces. Be sure to relax by La Plage, the swanky resort pool.
This 12-room boutique hotel, which opened in 2011, sits across the street from Archetype restaurant in the heart of downtown St. Helena. Rooms are spacious and modern, each characterized by whimsical design features such as mirrored armoires, tufted leather chairs and sitting nooks. With windows and skylights galore, the place is awash in natural light (some rooms even look out on a tiny enclosed atrium). All stays also come standard with free Wi-Fi, passes to Health Spa Napa Valley and free on-site parking (in St. Helena, that’s a big deal). There's even a tasting room for Materra wines adjacent to the lobby on the ground floor.
Environmentalists, take note: So long as you’ve got a wad of greenbacks in your wallet, this eco-chic hotel is the place to stay true to your political beliefs. The 62-room resort is one of 3 hotels in the country to achieve LEED Platinum certification, a designation that means it’s really, really sustainable. Examples of this philosophy: doors made of recycled wood and sensors that shut off lights when nobody is around. Rooms themselves are spacious but ascetic; concrete floors are eco-friendly, but they also can feel hard and cold after a luxurious massage. A second-floor pool becomes quite the scene on weekends, and brunch at Lucy, the on-site restaurant, is known for farm-fresh options.
All of the 89 rooms are cottages at this Calistoga resort, meaning privacy is paramount. When guests aren’t luxuriating on their private or semi-private patios or riding their complimentary bicycles around town, they usually can be found near the pool, an iconic swimming hole flanked by royal palms, or in the yoga studio, which hosts a number of classes daily. The spa at Solage is notable, too, especially for its men’s facials, as well as a signature “mudslide” treatment that features a mud bath, a tub soak and a resting session on chairs that vibrate in time to music. Solbar, the on-site restaurant, serves Southern-inspired California cuisine; for a brunch treat, try the shrimp and grits.
Old-growth oak trees, a burbling stream and a private lake characterize the grounds at this resort, situated on 157 acres in a wooded valley in the hills east of Calistoga. Accommodations consist of 50 freestanding guest lodges with cedar decks, floor-to-ceiling windows, original artwork and wood-burning fireplaces. On-site activities, designed to get guests to explore the property, include hiking, plein-air painting, wildlife-watching and more. Considering that Calistoga has been a wellness destination for decades, the main attraction is the spa, where treatment rooms feature private soaking tubs in which guests can bathe in local mineral water. There’s also an on-site restaurant, which overlooks Lake Lommel and is open only to hotel guests.
This 6-room inn sits inside a circa-1862 cottage from the days when Samuel Brannan launched Calistoga as the “Hot Springs Resort” town. The structure is the only one of its kind to remain in its original location, and it is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. In 2013-14, the inn was restored and reimagined with a modern twist on old-world elegance. The result is spectacular — posh rooms that come standard with Frette robes, high-end bath products and mini refrigerators. “Historic” rooms in the main building are accessed by a wraparound porch and have a Victorian vibe. Other accommodations are located in Brannan House, an adjacent (and more modern) building with private patios.
From its perch about halfway up the Rutherford Bench, this über-luxurious, 5-room inn is known as much for its vistas as for its elegance. Every day around dusk, hawks take to the thermals that blow up the valley, and guests find themselves looking down on the birds. The inn prides itself on service; all guests have 24-hour access to a butler who will make tasting reservations, rent vehicles or dash down the hill to pick up takeout pizzas from Yountville. Rooms are sumptuous and spacious; most include indoor and outdoor showers, as well as huge soaking tubs. A gourmet, 3-course breakfast is included with each night’s stay.
This sprawling, country-modern getaway is located at the confluence of Napa and Sonoma counties, giving guests mind-numbing panoramic perspectives up the valley. Rooms — 86 of them in all — take the form of stand-alone cottages that are organized around courtyards connected by walking paths. The feeling is intimate and neighborhoody, yet still private (each cottage has a porch and outdoor area with an outdoor shower). The Boon Fly Café, one of 3 on-site restaurants, is famous for its chicken and waffles. The adults-only Hilltop Pool, on a rise toward the back of the resort, offers some of the best views in all of wine country. Massages and treatments always are available at the inn’s spa.
Without question the hippest hotel in downtown Napa, the 141-room Andaz emphasizes efficiency. Rooms are modern and compact, with giant sliding doors doubling as full-length mirrors and beds that are firm but comfortable. All guests have access to the second-floor rooftop courtyard, Mercantile Terrace, which boasts fire pits and swinging love seats. A modest fitness center is situated just off the lobby, which also boasts a restaurant that specializes in farm-to-table cuisine. Guests are treated to free wine tastings and Wi-Fi during their stays. The hotel sustained some serious damage in the August 2014 earthquake that rocked the region but is expected to reopen before the end of the year.