Expert Tips


The Most Luxurious Hotels in One of the Best Places to Indulge: Napa Valley

With the country's best wine and the most delicious locally-sourced, Michelin-starred food, and breathtaking scenery, indulgence is essentially Napa's guiding philosophy--one that extends to hotels as well. With a number of gasp-worthy options, there's no better place to check into a highly decadent inn. In the valley, they run the spectrum from bigger and village-style, like the Carneros Inn (which has over-the-top villas) and the Solage Calistoga, to smaller and more intimate spots like the North Block Hotel (formerly the Hotel Luca). They all have expanses of white linens on king-sized beds, high end (and sometimes local) suds in the bathrooms and friendly, attentive staff who want your stay to be as relaxing and stress-free as possible. Many of the hotels have full-service spas with treatments inspired by wine country, glamourous pools (the Solage's is the best) with shady cabanas spread around them. Many have excellent restaurants with well-known chefs and gardens that produce the food on your fork. The best part of all? They all exude such luxury in a calm serene way. They're way too cool to be flashy or overtly over the top; they just get all of the small, important details exactly right. The hardest part may be choosing which one to check in to. 


Set in downtown Yountville, the Villagio Inn and Spa evokes the feel of a Tuscan villa, with gorgeous grounds, manicured lawns, picturesque walkways and murmuring fountains. The staff is especially gracious, making sure that every welcome is warm and every stay is perfect. Large rooms include decadent jacuzzis, fireplaces and complimentary bottles of wine. Guests love the breakfast buffet, and weary wine-tasters will love the afternoon tea that's set out daily. It's also possible to spend an entire day at the spa, luxuriating in Mediterranean-influenced massages, scrubs and mud wraps, taking advantage of the steam rooms and hydrotherapy pools in between.

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The Hotel Yountville (formerly the Yountville Inn) has just emerged from a multi-year overhaul bright, shiny and luxuriously new. Its rooms are airy and spacious, the service is friendly and while its a relatively small hotel, the layout makes it feel larger (in a good way). It's perfectly located in downtown Yountville, just a short walk from Michelin-starred excellence and the town's art walk and bocce courts. The Hopper Creek Kitchen also turns out one of the best breakfasts around, and the helpful staff will help you plan your stay, whether you're looking for a leisurely bike ride through the vineyards, a full understanding of the difference between a cabernet and a syrah or a great nap.

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Hotel Luca

This downtown Yountville hotel, formerly called Hotel Luca, got a fresh new name and new look in in early 2012. Now the North Block Hotel, this boutique establishment is modern and comfortable, with kind of an industrial-chic vibe. The rooms are oriented around a central courtyard with an outdoor fireplace, an inviting spot to lounge with friends or spend some time gazing up at the stars. Their spa treatments have cheeky names like the Stiletto Blues and Hats Off, and their Pedal, Pamper and Plunge Package is not to be missed. And neither is Redd Wood, chef Richard Reddington's "superbly stylish" Italian restaurant.

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Calistoga Ranch
Photo courtesy of Calistoga Ranch

Nature is pure and evident in nearly every detail at the Calistoga Ranch, however a stay there is far from roughing it. Views are incorporated as seamlessly as the natural textiles used in each room and the carefully selected artwork. One- and two-bedroom lodges are luxuriously appointed, and each one has its own patio with a hot tub and fireplace. A full service resort, there is ample space to practice sun salutations on the yoga deck, a restaurant, fitness center and a private vineyard and oak groves. Set into 157 acres on the northern side of Napa, it's far from the hustle and bustle farther south in the valley.

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With only twelve rooms, Milliken Creek Inn and Spa is a cozy, luxurious retreat perched next to the Napa River just east of downtown. The staff manages to hit exactly the right note between gracious and relaxed, providing suggestions for guests as they plan out their days, setting out the gourmet complimentary breakfast in the peaceful garden or in a guest's room, and making sure that each stay is as perfect as possible. The hotel's "magic hour," or daily free tasting (complete with cheese and olives) says as much about the hotel's philosophy as the Frette linens and L'Occitane toiletries.

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Meadowood is likely more well-known for its restaurant (it has three Michelin Stars, just like the French Laundry) than its beautifully appointed rooms, however they shouldn't be overlooked. Attention to detail is paramount and pervasive at this luxury resort in St. Helena. The rooms have high, beamed ceilings, even the smallest rooms have comfortable sitting areas, suites range up to four bedrooms for larger gatherings and all rooms have their own private patios, perfect for hanging out with a good book and a cup of coffee or a glass of cabernet. The views are customizable, too, with vistas out to the woods (extra private) or to the vineyards and hills.

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Bardessono is one of only three LEED Platinum certified hotels in the United States, and their commitment to sustainability (built from salvaged wood and non-toxic materials, organic linen, cleaning and spa products) is implicit, and organically incorporated into their spot on design. The rooms are spacious and well-appointed, however it is their location in downtown Yountville that is the real attraction of this hotel. Bardessono is within walking distance of half a dozen vineyards open for wine tasting, as well as some of the area's most acclaimed restaurants, namely the French Laundry, Ad Hoc and Redd-Wood. Their own restaurant, Lucy, describes itself as being "field to fork," with a garden on the premises, and bring your pooch, the property is pet-friendly as well.

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Nearly everything about this boutique hotel is transportive. With "Pleasure is Healing" as their philosophy, they take the quality of your stay very seriously. Set into more than thirty acres of olive groves, Auberge du Soleil feels very much like being in Provence. Each beautifully appointed room has French doors that lead to private patios and wood-burning fireplaces, and some have soaking tubs for two. The critically acclaimed spa was modeled after a centuries-old monastery, and the pool area, La Plage, has comfortable lounge areas perfect for whiling away sunny afternoons. As one of Napa Valley's first fine dining spots, the restaurant there has earned its Michelin Stars over and over again.

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Carneros Resort and Spa
Photo courtesy of Carneros Resort and Spa

The Carneros Inn is nestled within twenty-seven acres of its own vineyards and apple orchards. Accommodations come in the form of eighty-six cottages, each with its own private patio and outdoor space. This 'village style' set-up allows guests to have privacy while still enjoying all that the larger resort has to offer, including two pools (one is adults only and the other is more family-oriented with cabanas and a snack shack), the spa, a gym, trainers and exercise classes, as well as a 'town square' with bocce ball courts, a market and a sport shop. For guests who want to make like they live in wine country for a weekend, The Homes at Carneros Inn are a collection of private villas, perfect for larger groups. No matter which you choose, don't miss the Boon Fly Cafe's unbeatable brunch before hitting the vineyards.

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Solage Calistoga

At the Solage Calistoga, so many things are simply perfect. They have 83 rooms and six suites, all luxurious and newly updated in warm woods with pebble floor showers and locally-made toiletries. The spa, which CondeNast Traveler named #1 in the Americas (and #10 in the world), offers a unique "Mud Bar" for customized mud mask treatments. The cabana-fringed pool is the best in the valley, and the restaurant, Solbar, has earned itself a Michelin Star. There are cruisers for peddling around or taking the short distance into town and bocce ball courts for those who would rather stand up while sipping a cool cocktail.

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Meet Brooke Lewy

Brooke moved to California for the food. After spending the last two years getting her masters in international affairs, she realized that there’s nothing she loves better than bringing people...  More About Brooke