Where to Stay Now in California Wine Country
We can’t think of a better way to while away time between bottle tastings than at the newest (or newly remodeled) sleeps in town. These 7 charming hotels have us itching for a Cali wine country vacation.
Harvest Inn by Charlie Palmer
Star chef and restaurateur Charlie Palmer has caught the hotel bug. First, he co-partnered with Sonoma’s Hotel Healdsburg in 2001, debuting signature restaurant Dry Creek Kitchen to much acclaim. Then came Mystic Hotel in San Francisco, where he revamped the restaurant into a speakeasy-style tavern. Next up: Harvest Inn, housed in a series of old manor houses a mile outside St. Helena. Here, you’ll find 78 rooms including four new loft-style suites, five gardens tended by an on-site horticulturist, and, of course, a standout destination restaurant, where foodies can enjoy fresh-picked ingredients (artichoke, herbs, citrus) on a patio overlooking the property’s eight green acres.
Napa Valley, the heart and soul of American winemaking, certainly doesn’t lack for bucolic vineyard stays—but under-the-radar Carneros Inn is making one of the bigger statements this year. Just off a $6.5 million renovation, its 86 individual cottages on 27 rolling acres are decidedly more minimalist than the Tuscan-style digs of surrounding competitors—and a welcome breath of fresh air. Our favorite perks: the lengthy outdoor adults-only pool just 10 feet from the vines and a fireside butler for all your fire pit and outdoor soaking tub needs. S’mores, anyone?
This cottage-style retreat is a destination unto itself. Eight standalone cedar-shingled buildings—connected by trellised walkways and terraces—incorporate materials like stone and hewn wood and feature floor-to-ceiling windows that put the forest setting on full display. The romance here is palpable: there’s a beautiful (if tiny) cabernet vineyard, a candlelit wine cave, a lakeside restaurant, and winding hiking trails that crisscross through 127 acres of private, secluded woodland. This year, the resort debuted an all-new adult pool enhanced by a stone fireplace and lush olive trees—as if one needed another reason to reconnect with nature.
Meadowood Napa Valley
This iconic Napa mainstay is everything you’d expect from a five-star Relais & Chateaux property: there’s a three-Michelin-starred restaurant, 250 sprawling acres, and beautiful interior details like Tibetan silk rugs, global antiques, and ceramics by local artist Emil Yanos. Meadowood recently emerged from a $60 million re-do, which involved a refresh of the guest rooms and golf course as well as the opening of a standalone spa by Napa architect (and landscape guru) Howard Backen. The exterior wraps around an aging oak tree; inside, guests can choose from a treatment menu heavy on vinotherapy (think grape seed and black walnut scrubs) and detox-inducing bites like beets with Santa Rosa plum, purple carrots, and arugula.
Single Thread Farms Restaurant & Inn
California’s most anticipated opening of the year — equal parts — is a game-changer for Sonoma, singlehandedly throwing the county back in the fine-dining spotlight. What's the hype about? Ticketed dinners for those willing to shell out, during which chef Kyle Connaughton and wife/farmer Katina prepare an ambitious 11-course, kaiseki-style meal using ingredients grown right in their rooftop garden, greenhouse, and local farm. Wine pairings and greenhouse tours are also on offer for those looking to dig a little deeper, while five luxe suites (with custom-designed furnishings by AvroKO) are the icing on the proverbial cake.
Christopher’s Inn, a charming but dated boutique in downtown Calistoga, reopened last October as The Bergson, and we’re loving the results. Named for 19th-century French philosopher Henri-Louis Bergson, who championed experience and intuition over science and rationalism, the hotel has all the makings for a residential retreat: each of the 21 rooms, spread across several buildings, have their own fireplaces, feather beds, and balconies, while daily breakfast ensures that every day of culinary indulgence starts off right.
Lovers of Beringer Vineyards and Estate, Napa’s oldest winery, will soon have a luxurious place to stay close to the action. When it opens this fall, Las Alcobas, a Luxury Collection Hotel, will be one of the more exciting additions the region. Design heavyweight Yabu Pushelberg was tapped for the super-spacious interiors: expect understated elegance in the 68 rooms including spa-like bathrooms, organic materials, outdoor terraces fitted with fireplaces (some have soaking tubs), and details that pay homage to its sister property in Mexico City—including a spa specializing in ancient healing practices and its own aromatherapy bar. Head to the restaurant, set in a rustic 1907 building, for seasonal specialties prepared by celebrated San Francisco chef Chris Cosentino.
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