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Napa + Sonoma Hotels

$400 or more
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Auberge du Soleil
180 Rutherford Hill Road
Rutherford , California
94573
Tel: 800 348 5406 (toll-free)
Tel: 707 963 1211
info@aubergedusoleil.com
www.aubergedusoleil.com

One of the best-known and best-loved hotels in Napa Valley, Auberge du Soleil has turned its 33-acre hillside property into an outdoor sculpture gallery amid acres of olive groves. If that sounds over-the-top romantic, trust that the design was meant to be exactly that. Every light is on a dimmer; fireplaces burn wood, not gas; and half a dozen strategically placed votive candles let you set the mood come nightfall. The property celebrated its 20th birthday in 2005 with a total renovation, including a restyled pool deck bracketed by high-backed sofas that are ideal for lounging in the California sun. The 52 rooms in both a main house and cottages are inspired by the Côte d'Azur, with terra-cotta and orange accents, tiled floors, limestone countertops, and matelassé bedcovers. Two spacious maisons feature outdoor hot tubs on private patios and steam showers for two. Every room has a full wet bar, complete with top-shelf liquor and homemade mixers; bathrooms are stocked with everything from shaving supplies to Dr. Hauschka bath oils and an "intimacy kit." Regional ingredients—grapes, herbs, flowers, olive oil, and mud—are used in the signature treatments of the guests-only spa (some, such as lemon verbena, come from the hotel's herb garden).

$200-$299
Editor's Pick
Avia
1450 First Street
Napa , California
94559
Tel: 866 644 2842 (toll-free)
Tel: 707 224 3900
www.aviahotels.com/hotels/napa

While the famous up-valley hotels and resorts charge through the nose for their agrarian settings, you can almost always get better rates by staying in downtown Napa. And Avia, which opened in 2009, definitely feels more city than country. Rooms have nine-foot ceilings, wood-grain paneling covering the wall behind the flat-screen TV, a burgundy velvet swivel chair at the desk, and (best of all) bathrooms clad floor-to-ceiling in white marble, complete with dual showerheads and Japanese-style benches. The 141 rooms also have the requisite bells and whistles—king beds, iPod docks, and plush linens. Though the new construction feels slightly sterile, with many hard angles (and chances to stub your toe), an interesting mix of textures and fabrics adds some softness. The downtown location also puts multiple restaurants within walking distance, meaning you can have a third glass of wine without thinking twice.—John A. Vlahides

$400 or more
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Bardessono
6526 Yount Street
Yountville , California
94599
Tel: 707 204 6000
www.bardessono.com

Being green has never felt as good as it does at Bardessono, whose main assets are its stumbling distance from more Michelin stars than any Paris pied-à-terre, paired with the atmosphere of an agrarian retreat. After check-in, done via a staffer's hip-slung electronic tablet, it's a short walk to the hotel's four courtyards, where stone walkways curve alongside meandering streams. Each of the 62 rooms comes with a patio and a two-person tub; a few also have outdoor showers. A rooftop lap pool with cabanas overlooks the hotel's own grapevines. The modernist architecture makes use of salvaged cypress wood, weathered steel, and reclaimed tufa stone, while the lobby ceiling is constructed of redwood wine barrel staves. Sustainability is key in the restaurant, as well, where simple preparations rely on locally sourced meat and fish and produce from the hotel's own gardens. The only sign of opulence having lost out to eco-friendliness is in the stiff recycled-material couches, which rustle like packing peanuts when you sit down.

$400 or more
Editor's Pick
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Calistoga Ranch
580 Lommel Road
Calistoga , California
94515
Tel: 800 942 4220 (toll-free)
Tel: 707 254 2800
concierge@calistogaranch.com
www.calistogaranch.com

From the folks who brought you Auberge du Soleil comes the Calistoga Ranch. Set amid tall pines and gnarled oaks in a narrow canyon southeast of downtown Calistoga in Napa Valley, the 46 private guest lodges have open layouts, private patios, indoor/outdoor showers, fireplaces, and large, well-placed windows that overlook dense woodlands. Because it's zoned as a trailer park, though, the property had to fit the existing footprint: Rooms are close together, small, and built on blocks—and though they're adorned with copper trim and cedar shingles, they still look like side-by-side storage boxes from the outside. To compensate and provide extra floor space, designers connected each suite's interior rooms with big outdoor decks under the canopy of oaks. On the grounds are walking trails, bocce courts, and an outdoor pool; the guests-only dining room overlooks Lake Lommel. The Bathhouse Spa gets its water from local hot springs, and all the treatments use indigenous ingredients such as bay laurel and eucalyptus. Some decry this property as garish and showy, and service isn't as tight as it should be at this price, but Calistoga Ranch still makes a great hideaway for a romantic retreat.

$400 or more
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Carneros Inn
4048 Sonoma Highway
Carneros , California
94559
Tel: 888 400 9000 (toll-free)
Tel: 707 299 4900
info@thecarnerosinn.com
www.thecarnerosinn.com

If you prefer Wallpaper over Town & Country, and Minis over Bentleys, you'll love the modernist-meets-farmhouse aesthetic of the Carneros Inn, located in one of Napa Valley's least-developed areas. The inn was designed to reflect its agrarian surroundings, with 86 tin-roofed cottages grouped around flower-filled courtyards and rocking-chair front porches surrounded by orderly rows of grapevines, bucolic fields, and rolling hills. Interiors are idyllic in a very different way, with iconic Eames and Le Corbusier loungers, heated slate floors in the bathrooms, indoor-outdoor showers, and wood-burning fireplaces. Unlike most wine country retreats, kids are welcome here and even have their own pool. The inn's Euro-Cal dining room, Farm, has plush velvet booths, dark-wood floors, and high ceilings that give it the look of a converted dairy barn. Guests gather at the fire pits outside to sip wine at day's end. There's also the more casual Boonfly Cafe, as well as an on-site spa that puts local ingredients to good use—try the mustard-seed massage or the soothing goat butter wrap.

$200-$299
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
El Dorado Hotel
405 First Street West
Sonoma , California
95476
Tel: 800 289 3031 (toll-free)
Tel: 707 996 3220
info@eldoradosonoma.com
www.eldoradosonoma.com/el_dorado_hotel.html

The 27 rooms may be tiny, but what they lack in space they make up for in style, price, and prime location on Sonoma's historic town plaza. Each room has a steel four-poster bed, Miró-esque paintings, and a small wrought-iron balcony. The bathrooms are also small, and nothing special, but they're spotless. The hotel's common spaces are more spacious: a popular restaurant that serves contemporary Californian dishes, a swimming pool flanked by lounge chairs, a lush courtyard with intertwining grapevines and a 150-year-old fig tree, an on-site café bakery, and a lobby with hip decor that would be equally at home in a W hotel. If you require more space for lounging than a bed and a single chair, you'll feel cramped (opt for one of the hotel's four suite-like bungalows). But if you spend your days out and about, you'll appreciate economizing on your room and having the extra money to spend buying wine. Book early: The hotel's bargain prices are no secret.

$300-$399
Editor's Pick
Farmhouse Inn & Restaurant
7871 River Road
Forestville , California
95436
Tel: 800 464 6642 (toll-free)
Tel: 707 887 3300
innkeep@farmhouseinn.com
www.farmhouseinn.com

This is the quieter side of wine country, where the Russian River rambles beneath tall redwoods and pinot noir grapes flourish. Built on a 19th-century farmstead, the Farmhouse Inn's cottages have the cozy feel of a favorite sweater, with wood-burning fireplaces, double-size soaking tubs, and in-room saunas. The rooms to book are in the barn, built in 2009, which are styled with a nod to the region's agrarian roots. These include double-sided fireplaces with mantles made from reclaimed century-old redwood wine vats, furniture upholstered with naturally dyed linen, and beds dressed with throws made from local wool. Upstairs barn rooms also have vaulted ceilings and private sun-dappled decks. The two-and-a-half-acre grounds have flowering gardens, a heated pool, and a fire pit where guests roast s'mores after dinner. Unlike other wine country hotels, the Farmhouse doesn't nickel-and-dime you: Minibar snacks and Italian sodas are free (and wines are reasonably priced). You can also stock up on (free) locally made soaps and bath salts in the lobby. The small spa uses house-made organic products, such as carrot-oil purée skin toner. The on-site restaurant is one of Sonoma's best.—John A. Vlahides

$400 or more
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Gaige House
13540 Arnold Drive
Glen Ellen , California
95442
Tel: 800 935 0237 (toll-free)
Tel: 707 935 0237
gaigeconcierge@jdvhospitality.com
www.gaige.com

There's plenty to love about the Gaige House: the bucolic Sonoma Valley setting near Jack London State Park; the chef-prepared three-course breakfasts, gratis (think artichoke and pistachio blini with house-smoked salmon, asparagus, and saffron cream—yes, that's one course); and the 15 original rooms, with a Victorian-Asian mix of antique armoires, feather-light bedding, clean lines, nature-inspired artwork, and cozy fireplaces. And now there are eight significantly larger spa suites in two freestanding buildings fronting a creek—sumptuous riffs on traditional Japanese ryokan inns. The cedar-shingled, U-shaped quarters are built around private courtyard gardens, with Zen interiors (shoji screens, orchids, Buddha statues), huge soaking tubs carved from a single chunk of black granite, and showers built for two. Spa treatments, such as chocolate mint body scrub and Lomi Lomi Hawaiian massage, are offered outdoors in a pavilion beside the Calabaza Creek (in summer) or in the privacy of your room.

$300-$399
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Hotel Healdsburg
25 Matheson Street
Healdsburg , California
95448
Tel: 800 889 7188 (toll-free)
Tel: 707 431 2800
frontoffice@hotelhealdsburg.com
www.hotelhealdsburg.com

The 55-room Hotel Healdsburg has stark, unfussy interiors done in warm woods and greens with bright-white bedding and Tibetan rugs covering hardwood floors. (The best rooms have balconies overlooking the buzzing Healdsburg plaza.) Bathrooms are likewise minimalist in design, with poured-concrete vanities and giant soaking tubs for two. The look is sleek and contemporary, but with so many hard surfaces, rooms can be echoey. The lobby is a happening gathering spot and a great place to warm up with a glass of zin on a chilly afternoon, especially beside the fire sculpture in the hearth. Come morning, the lobby becomes the breakfast room; the extensive buffet is included in the rate (the smoked salmon is delicious, but the accompanying bagels will disappoint New Yorkers). There's also an outdoor lap pool, fitness room, and spa with regionally inspired treatments, such as a wine-and-honey wrap and seasonal fruit scrub. Even if this weren't northern Sonoma's smartest address, the well-dressed crowd would probably still flock here for co-owner and chef Charlie Palmer's Dry Creek Kitchen, where most ingredients and all the wines come from Sonoma County, some from as close as the garden out back.

$200-$299
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Hotel Yountville
6462 Washington Street
Yountville , California
94599
Tel: 707 967 7900
info@hotelyountville.com
www.hotelyountville.com

A down-to-the-studs overhaul turned the modest Yountville Inn into a place worthy of its Napa's many Michelin-starred restaurants. The design doesn't stray far from wine country's beloved French farmhouse look. The hotel has expanded by 40 rooms, a spa, and a restaurant, and the new buildings mimic the originals' cobblestone-like exteriors. The details—hammered-silver lamps, ostrich-leather footstools, and the like—are well curated, and the sizable guest rooms are gratifyingly light-filled and low-tech. No remote-controlled light switches here, no instruction manual required for the dual-headed shower. Gas fireplaces done in Napa fieldstone keep the place warm when it's cool, and a swimming pool provides cool when it's hot. The standout Hopper Creek Kitchen serves only breakfast, but the menu is as much of an eye-opener as the coffee, with dishes like risotto and maple pork consommé. The hotel has loaner bikes and iPads and is only a short walk from some of the most sought-after dinner spots in Napa Valley.

$400 or more
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Kenwood Inn and Spa
10400 Sonoma Highway (Hwy. 12)
Kenwood , California
95452
Tel: 800 353 6966 (toll-free)
Tel: 707 833 1293
www.kenwoodinn.com

Styled after a Tuscan villa, with stucco walls, meandering gardens, and fountains and waterfalls at every turn, Kenwood Inn is by far Sonoma Valley's most beautiful and romantic property. Even when the inn is full, there's a marvelous sense of seclusion. You'll rarely see other guests—or hear them—thanks to all that gurgling water. Each of the 27 rooms and suites is different, but most have oversize antique wooden armoires, wood-burning fireplaces, sumptuous fabrics, and heavy wooden privacy shutters on the big French doors. Televisions are conspicuously absent, keeping your attention squarely on your companion. The facility itself is gorgeous, but a recent change in ownership—to nonhoteliers—stripped the rooms of many of their extra amenities, such as wine and fresh-cut flowers. Service has taken a hit as well, but the sheer beauty of the space still makes it worth a look. Hopefully the new management will pay more attention to detail and restore the property to its former level of near-perfection.

$400 or more
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Les Mars Hôtel
27 North Street
Healdsburg , California
95448
Tel: 877 431 1700
info@lemarshotel.com
www.lesmarshotel.com

With its limestone facade, wrought-iron detailing, and solid zinc dormers, Les Mars (a Relais & Châteaux property) feels like an 18th-century French country house plunked down on a quiet street just off Healdsburg's main drag. But the building is actually brand-new (opened in March 2005) and firmly grounded in the present. You'll find flat-screen televisions and wireless Internet in the rooms, and antique books in the walnut-paneled library. And that flickering light? It's coming from computer-controlled sconces, not candles. Owners David and Sarah Mars conceived of their Sonoma County inn during trips to Europe, and their experience as travelers shows in the thoughtful details. The 16 plush, oversize rooms are decorated with silk-draped four-poster beds, fine Italian linens (the same ones the Pope sleeps on), and 17th- and 18th-century antiques; you'll find toile lining in every drawer, fresh-cut flowers in each bedroom, and Bulgari amenities in the bath. Les Mars is not for everyone. It's very formal—some say too formal for an ag town—and there are no gardens or grounds to roam. If you're looking to get under the earthy skin of wine country, choose somewhere else.

$300-$399
Editor's Pick
MacArthur Place
29 E. MacArthur Street
Sonoma , California
95476
Tel: 800 722 1866 (toll-free)
Tel: 707 938 2929
info@macarthurplace.com
www.macarthurplace.com

MacArthur Place is set on the grounds of a 19th-century estate surrounded by the original white picket fencing. Sixteen whitewashed wood-shingled satellite buildings house the 64 rooms, which range in style from country inn to contemporary spa to Victorian with chintz, gingham, and wicker. But it's the Garden Spa suites that really get our attention, with their cathedral ceilings, fireplaces, and oversize whirlpool tub separated from the bedroom by plantation shutters. Each has its own private Japanese garden, with a teakwood soaking tub in an open-sided, teahouse-inspired cabana—an ideal retreat during the rainy off-season (late October through April, when you can also score the best rates). On the six-and-a-half-acre grounds are sculpture gardens, a heated pool big enough to swim laps, and a Western-style steak house and bar with stools fashioned from recycled equestrian saddles. The inn is within easy walking distance of historic Sonoma Plaza, and you can borrow free bicycles for winery hopping. Plus, there's a nightly fireside wine and cheese reception in the library.—John A. Vlahides

$400 or more
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Meadowood Napa Valley
900 Meadowood Lane
St. Helena , California
94574
Tel: 800 458 8080 (toll-free)
Tel: 707 963 3646
info@meadowood.com
www.meadowood.com

Built as a country club in the early '60s, Meadowood still retains a gracious sense of propriety. There's an afternoon wine-tasting hour by the grand piano in the reception lodge, seven tennis courts, a wooded nine-hole golf course, and a pair of croquet lawns where players are still required to wear white. The grounds are huge, with giant trees and four and a half miles of walking trails in the high hills ringing the property. But the vibe is more summer camp than finishing school. Khaki-and-white cottages house 85 down-to-earth rooms and suites with exposed timber ceilings, sumptuous beds dressed with white matelassé bedspreads, and roman blinds in a green-and-white ticking stripe. Many have wood-burning fireplaces. Some of the rooms need upgrading, and they're slowly getting a facelift; for the maximum experience, book one of the gorgeous new Estate rooms. If you can't swing the hefty price tag for that category, take time on the phone with the reservationist to discuss your likes and dislikes. If you want privacy, book one of the cottages high in the hills; if you have kids, consider the rooms near the pool or croquet lawns. Remember, this is a gigantic property. Families are welcomed and kept busy with kid-friendly pools and regularly scheduled children's programs in summer (call ahead for dates and details). There are two dining rooms: a casual one for everyday meals and a formal one that bests the celebrated Auberge du Soleil.

$400 or more
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Milliken Creek Inn and Spa
1815 Silverado Trail
Napa , California
94558
Tel: 800 822 8418 (toll-free)
Tel: 707 255 1197
info@millikencreekinn.com
www.millikencreekinn.com

For a romantic getaway, it's hard to beat Milliken Creek. Set along the meandering Napa River, this former stagecoach stop attracts doe-eyed couples with its peacefulness (guaranteed by a no-kids policy), seclusion (on the outskirts of Napa Valley), and exclusivity (high season books up months in advance). It's the little things that make the hotel so special. Expect to find candles glowing on the mantle and sweets by the venerable Woodhouse Chocolates on the bedside table. In the morning, breakfast is delivered to your room and includes pastries from Bouchon Bakery. The 12 rooms—over half of which have balconies or terraces overlooking the river—are done in a sophisticated palette of browns and creams, with fireplaces, palm-frond ceiling fans, L'Occitane bath products, and large whirlpool tubs complete with rubber duckies. Sun umbrellas and chaise longues dot the grassy lawn on the river. In lieu of a bar, local winemakers pour their favorite selections in the lobby each evening.

$400 or more
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Poetry Inn
6380 Silverado Trail
Stags Leap , California
94558
Tel: 707 944 0646
visitus@poetryinn.com
www.poetryinn.com

Owned by Cliff Lede (his namesake winery, tasting room, and art gallery are a stone's throw away), this three-room inn sits high on a vineyard hillside overlooking Napa Valley's Stags Leap District. The vistas are the very best in Napa. Spacious Craftsman-inspired rooms (named after famous American poets: Robert Frost, e.e. cummings, Robert Louis Stevenson) are done in a soothing palette of whites and tans, with dark wooden beds, feather duvets and fine Italian linens, wood-burning fireplaces, buffed Douglas-fir floorboards, and nubby sisal rugs. Gargantuan marble bathrooms have heated limestone floors, deep soaking tubs, and not one but two showers (a sexy, glass-enclosed one inside and an open-air shower on the deck). Breakfast is an elaborate, three-course affair, served on the veranda off the lounge (or in bed, by request). Though the service is gracious and the rooms sumptuous, the staggering view of the valley from your private balcony is ultimately why you're here.

$400 or more
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Solage Calistoga
755 Silverado Trail
Calistoga , California
94515
Tel: 866 942 7442
www.solagecalistoga.com/

After populating Napa Valley with a series of romantic retreats, Auberge Resorts lets loose with an eco-luxe escape for the stylish, hybrid-driving, biodynamic wine-swilling set. This 89-room resort underwhelms at first glance simply because the stand-alone studios are surrounded by scrubby young plantings instead of more mature vegetation. But that is the one weak point of this otherwise polished property. After settling in for a few hours, you feel as though you are ensconced in a sweet utopia, where guests bicycle to morning yoga, nibble on fruit and granola at the open-air Solbar restaurant, and lounge by the long pool lined with sago palms. The homey, light-filled guesthouses are done in cooling taupe and sage tones and have huge slate-floor bathrooms, spare dark-wood furniture, complimentary bicycles, and shaded patios (which will be infinitely more appealing once the trees grow in to afford more privacy). The service is helpful and practiced, and there are fun details such as welcoming cupcakes and full-sized coffeepots and bathroom amenities.

Information may have changed since the date of publication. Please confirm details with individual establishments before planning your trip.