On the Road with Nancy Brown: Wine Country Hotel Upgrades
Travel Writer Nancy D. Brown eats, spas, and sleeps her way through Napa and Sonoma at three revitalized resorts.
With gasoline prices steadily rising, Diablo readers may want to stick closer to home this season. New luxury accommodations plus added spa and dining offerings are a few more reasons to look no further than Wine Country for a spring getaway.
Re-Meet Hotel Yountville
When’s the last time you were offered a seasonal tasting menu for breakfast? (Mind you, we’re not talking pancakes and bacon.) Hotel Yountville’s Hopper Creek Kitchen brings eggs benedict to a whole new level. With crispy Kurobuta pork belly resting on toasted brioche and topped with organic Barrett Farm eggs from nearby Middletown blanketed in a hollandaise sauce, hotel guests will want to linger over breakfast for hours.
When the food comma sets in, sprawl out by the heated outdoor pool or check into the new Spa AcQua and bliss out with a 75-minute signature massage, complete with hot stones and Thai stretches. Or reconnect with that special someone in one of the couples’ suites, where you can get a 90-minute massage, including access to a fireplace and hydrotherapy soaking tub built for two.
The Napa Valley resort has recently completed a major renovation, expanding the property from two to six acres and doubling the number of rooms and suites to 80. With stone fireplaces and canopy beds in the rooms as well as elegant patio furniture outside, guests may split their time between the bedroom, patio, and balcony, channeling their inner Goldilocks to find the space that’s just right.
Insider Tip: Hotel Yountville offers iPads to plan your Napa Valley escape and complimentary bicycles for cruising the town. Diablo readers will receive an automatic $50 credit for any Spa AcQua signature treatment of 75 minutes or more.
The New Napa Valley Marriott
After two years and $7 million in renovations, the Napa Valley Marriott Hotel & Spa takes a bow with the opening of VINeleven. The signature restaurant and bar features Executive Chef Brian Whitmer’s no-rules menu of American cuisine served in indoor and outdoor dining areas. I recommend the Porcini ravioli with truffle oil paired with Madonna Estate Pinot Noir.
The revamped property features 275 guest rooms, including five two- or three-bedroom suites, with pillow-top mattresses and down duvets. For something a little different, try the Rails & Relaxation Package, which includes overnight accommodations in a concierge-level guestroom, a 50-minute massage for two, and a gourmet dinner for two aboard the Napa Valley Wine Train.
Marriott guests will enjoy the indoor/outdoor hotel lobby and cozying up to the outdoor fire pits with a glass of Napa Valley wine.
Insider Tip: Each night from 5-6 p.m., VINeleven restaurant hosts a “welcome reception” featuring different Napa Valley vintners, accompanied by Chef Whitmer’s signature flatbread with pesto dipping sauce from the property’s Heirloom Garden. And if you’re tempted by one of those five multi-bedroom suites, reserve it through the front desk, because you won't find them listed online.
Royal Upgrades at the Ledson Hotel
Like a bear leaving its winter den, the sleepy town of Sonoma has recently emerged from hibernation and is alive with energy. One example: master craftsman and fifth generation Sonoman Steve Ledson has reopened the historic Ledson Hotel with a new addition—Centre du Vin bistro—which offers a casual menu that emphasizes local ingredients and seasonal dishes. Located on Sonoma’s historic downtown plaza, the Ledson, with its six guest rooms individually decorated in Medieval fashion, made Conde Nast Traveler’s hot list when it opened in 2004.
Insider Tip: In addition to a king-sized bed, fireplace, whirlpool tub, and balcony that come with each room, guests can also enjoy complimentary tastings at Ledson Winery in Kenwood and Zina Hyde Cunningham Winery in Boonville.
Oldies but Goodies
If you’re anything like me, you may want to secure some time to visit an old favorite. Here are my top Wine Country spa picks:
Auberge du Soleil: Ask for an in-room massage service for when you want privacy
Roman Spa Hot Springs: Mud or mineral baths—what’s your pleasure?
Solage Calistoga: Try the couples Mudslide and Massage package.
Spa Gaia, Double Tree Hotel: The Ayurvedic Hot Stone Massage is a real treat.
Spa Terra, Meritage Resort: Looking to connect with Mother Earth? The Spa Terra is located entirely underground in the 22,000- square-foot Estate Wine Cave. I could have stayed in the hot tub, complete with a waterfall, the entire day!
Where are your favorite places to stay, eat or spa in Wine Country?
If You Go:
Hotel Yountville, 6462 Washington Street, Yountville, (707) 967-7900, hotelyountville.com.
Napa Valley Marriott, 3425 Solano Avenue, Napa, (707) 253-8600, napavalleymarriott.com.
Ledson Hotel, 480 First Street East, Sonoma, (707) 996-9779, ledsonhotel.com.
A lifelong resident of Contra Costa County, Nancy D. Brown grew up in Moraga. When she’s not traveling, she lives in Lafayette with her husband and teens. Nancy is the Uptake.com Travel Editor, writes the What a Trip blog and is a Contra Costa Times Lamorinda Sun columnist. Horse lovers will find her at writinghorseback.com. Follow Nancy on Twitter at twitter.com/nancydbrown.