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Meadowood Napa Valley, St. Helena 

900 Meadowood Lane
St. Helena , California
Tel: 800 458 8080 (toll-free)
Tel: 707 963 3646
view web site ›'s insider take:

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.

Appeared in the Condé Nast Traveler Gold List, a directory of the world's best hotels and resorts, in 2008, 2006, 2005

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