Napa Valley — one of the world’s most established and prestigious wine regions — has survived it all. Phylloxera (a root louse) and Prohibition in the roaring 1920s; wildfires, and The Glass Fire specifically in 2020. Those in the know say it took a village of winemakers working tirelessly for nearly two centuries to establish — and catapult — the region to its iconic status. No small feat given that Napa Valley has some of the strictest growing regulations in the world.
Although the first Napa grapes were planted in the 1830s, it wasn’t until the 1970s that the region danced onto the world wine stage. During the now famous Paris Wine Tasting of 1976 competition, two Napa wines (Chateau Montelena Chardonnay and Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon) took first place in a blind tasting against the best French wines.
Today, Napa Valley — just an hour’s drive north of San Francisco — is home to over 500 wineries (95 percent are family owned and operated), tasting rooms, Michelin-star restaurants, and truly fabulous hotels (three by Auberge). Among our favorite hotels in Napa Valley:
Auberge du Soleil, Rutherford
The darling of Napa Valley, the French-inspired, romantic Auberge du Soleil is the dream of French restaurateur Claude Rouas who first opened a fine-dining restaurant (Napa’s first). The success of the Provence-influenced restaurant prompted the addition of “The Inn of the Sun” five years later. Set on 33 acres of olive and oak trees, the hotel overlooks the Mayacamas Mountains. The 50 guest rooms and suites are all housed in Maisons named after quaint villages in Southern France so naturally, there are chic french doors, fireplaces, oversized private terraces, and freestanding sculpted bathtubs. Standouts include the Spa du Soleil with temperate soaking pools overlooking the vineyards, and The Restaurant at Auberge du Soleil, recipient of 15 consecutive Michelin-star awards and home to a 15,000 bottle wine cellar.
Salut With: A welcome bottle of wine and afternoon wine tastings with local vintners.
Meadowood Napa Valley, St. Helena
New York Yankees baseball hall of famer Derek Jeter quietly married Hannah Davis here in 2017. Located on 250 acres, Meadowood Napa Valley, a Relais & Chateaux property, is known most for its stunning gardens, eloquent wine country vibe, and three Michelin-star restaurant by Chef Christopher Kostow (the restaurant is temporarily closed after being gutted by the 2020 Glass Fire). Take in panoramic views of St. Helena from the estate’s hiking trails and watch hot air balloons glide over glistening vineyards. Return to the pool, spa (heavy on vinotherapy), and chic rooms (there are only 36) showcasing the region’s distinctive blend of rustic and refined.
Salut With: Since opening in 1979, Meadowood has served as a gathering place for local vintners and winegrowers. Visit The Wine Center, exclusive to hotel guests to learn everything about wine (and then some) and partake in curated wine tastings.
Another spectacular Auberge property, Solage, located in Napa’s hot springs capital of Calistoga, sits in the heart of wine and wellness. Spanning 22 acres on the outskirts of town and surrounded by mountains and vineyards, the hotel features rooms with a soothing, neutral color palette, clean lines, Italian linens, vaulted ceilings, and outdoor patios. Newly built suites (one and two bedrooms) come with soaking tubs or hot tubs, outdoor showers, patio, and firepit. Borrow one of the cruiser bikes and ride five minutes into downtown Calistoga. The spa — with its bathhouse, geothermal pools, hydrotherapy circuit, and mud treatments, is a standout, as is the Michelin-starred Solbar restaurant.
Salut With: Welcome glass of wine, complimentary bicycles, Tesla charging stations, and if traveling with a fur baby, a pet bed, bowls, and treats.
Stanly Ranch, Napa
Auberge’s newest hotel, Stanly Ranch (opened in 2022) is set on a historic 712-acre working cattle ranch and features 135 one- and two-bedroom cottages with private terraces and fire pits. There is, of course, a signature Auberge spa — Halehouse — offering cutting-edge treatments like cryotherapy and a multi-level sauna, along with a garden where the herbs and veggies used in the hotel’s restaurant, Bear, are grown. But it is the redefined wine experience that truly sets the ranch apart with activities like riding in a vintage motorcycle sidecar to Donum Estate, Hudson Ranch and Scribe Winery. Other adventures include tracking mountain lions with a wildlife conservationist, and falconry.
Salut With: Wander the onsite vineyards with the hotel’s viticulturist. The experience concludes with a complimentary glass of wine atop Infinity Hill.
Carneros Resort and Spa, Napa
Escape to Italy, but in Napa, at this chic Tuscan-style resort, featuring vineyard views and individual cottages with deep soaking tubs, fireplace, heated floors, and private fenced yard. Couples love the stylish, adults-only pool with hot tub and Le Corbusier chaises, just steps from the vines, while those traveling with children welcome the family pool option. Hop on one of the orange bikes for a cruise around the vineyards, and don’t miss luxuriating in the guest-only spa. End the day with seasonally inspired fare at Farm, before enlisting your very one “Fireside Butler” to attend to your firepit and outdoor soaking tub needs.
Salut With: Post, the hotel’s dedicated wine tasting room (and once an actual post office) offers a diverse range of Napa Valley and Sonoma Valley wines. Explore a rotating list of signature wine flights, personalize your own, or savor wines by the glass.
California’s first LEED Platinum–certified resort, the 62-suite Bardessono Hotel and Spa, is set on five acres of olive trees, outdoor sculpture, and water works. Eco developers built the hotel using salvaged wood, glass windows and walls (for natural light) and solar panel roofing. The result is heer luxury. Suites feature outdoor living space and double as private spa suites for treatments to be enjoyed in room (there is also a small spa on site). Dining is also sustainable, with the hotel’s restaurant, Lucy, serving up a ‘field-to-fork’ menu, using ingredients fresh-picked from the chef’s edible garden, alongside artful cocktails and wine of course. Guests can also easily walk to Thomas Keller’s Bouchon.
Salut With: A glass of red or white, and a Bone Appetite Menu for furry friends, as Bardessono is dog friendly.
Four Seasons Resort and Residences Napa Valley
Opened in late 2021, Four Seasons Resort and Residences Napa Valley is home to the esteemed Elusa winery, best known for its cabernet sauvignon and developed in partnership with famed local winemaker Thomas Rivers Brown. The 85-room property — within walking distance of several other wineries — features spacious rooms with views of the Vaca and Mayacama Mountains, two pools, and three restaurants: Truss Restaurant + Bar, specializing in California seasonal cuisine; and Campo, serving creative Cal Mexican fare, and the Michelin-starred Auro, led by the acclaimed Executive Chef Rogelio Garcia, showcasing innovative and seasonal dishes. Spa Talisa offers eight treatment rooms and an outdoor soaking pool built around an ancient rock.
Salut With: Exclusive tasting experiences at Elusa, offered only to hotel guests.
The Westin Verasa Napa
Ride the train — the Napa Valley Wine Train Station is directly across the street — to The Westin Verasa Napa, just steps from downtown. Located on the Napa River, this 180-room hotel features spacious rooms and suites, a heated saltwater pool, Heavenly beds, and the true star of the show — Michelin-starred La Toque, a fusion of French and Californian cuisines. Here Chef Ken Frank showcases locally-sourced fresh produce and organic meats paired with an extensive wine list (more than 2,200 bottles) and many by-the-glass selections. Book well in advance to secure a reservation.
Salut With: Walk to more than 30 wine tasting rooms.