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Tablet Plus in the California Wine Country

Ever since the California wine boom began in earnest, the wine country has been the place to go for travelers from the Bay Area (and beyond) in search of a bit of what the luxury hospitality industry regrettably calls “pampering.” Life in the hotels and resorts of the Napa, Sonoma, and Russian River Valleys is good — the Mediterranean climate, combined with an extraordinary food and wine scene, provides the setting for a number of truly extraordinary hotels.

There’s only one way to improve on the wine-country experience. Tablet Plus, our membership program, guarantees privileges that go above and beyond the already high-end experience offered by the region’s hotels. Every one of the hotels below is a partner in our program — for details, click on through to the hotel’s page and you’ll see the Tablet Plus privileges they offer.

Hotel Healdsburg
Healdsburg
Hotel Healdsburg

If you’re more town mouse than country mouse — and more modernist mouse than Renaissance mouse, for that matter — then Hotel Healdsburg is your jam. Healdsburg itself is no metropolis, but it’s charming and walkable, and the hotel itself is bright, contemporary, and unsparing in its luxury. Bonus: the hotel’s own Dry Creek Kitchen is legendary, and for good reason.

Calistoga Ranch
Calistoga
Calistoga Ranch

It’s hard to improve on the idea of a freestanding modern cottage in a natural setting that looks like something from a Thomas Kinkade painting, on an estate that incorporates just about every luxury known to man. The fact that it’s something of a sequel to the extraordinary Auberge du Soleil (of which more below) makes Calistoga Ranch the kind of proposition that’s impossible to turn down.

Andaz Napa
Napa
Andaz Napa

The city of Napa itself was among the last wine-country locales to step up its hospitality game, and it’s no longer just a stop on the way to your real destination. Andaz Napa is for anyone who wants a slight urban edge to their Napa Valley experience, and provides the perfect jumping-off point for exploring what’s become a great town for foodies and oenophiles alike.

The Kenwood Inn and Spa
Kenwood
The Kenwood Inn and Spa

Meanwhile, on the Sonoma Highway, surrounded by wineries, the classic European-villa style of the Kenwood Inn and Spa sets a faintly aristocratic tone. It’s ideally located for an exhaustive tour of the Sonoma Valley wineries, but it’s also eminently suited to locking yourself away in splendid seclusion, emerging only when it’s time to re-enter the real world.

Farmhouse Inn
Forestville
Farmhouse Inn

Forestville is a bit of an outlier, on the way to the Russian River, but Farmhouse Inn is well worth the drive. It doesn’t get much more charmingly mod-rustic than this six-acre estate, whose contemporary additions perfectly complement the original 19th-century farmhouse, and whose Michelin-starred restaurant keeps the regulars coming back for more.

Milliken Creek Inn & Spa
Napa
Milliken Creek Inn & Spa

Though it’s in Napa proper, just up the river from downtown, Milliken Creek feels like a country escape — and it also feels more like an upscale bed and breakfast than a typical hotel. That’s a good thing — the daily Magic Hour wine and cheese reception, hosted by local winemakers, is a personal introduction to some of the characters responsible for today’s Napa Valley.

The Carneros Inn
Napa
The Carneros Inn

Closest to the Bay Area, Carneros Inn is a popular brunch spot, but it’s also the perfect destination for a more contemporary spin on the wine-country resort experience. The cottages, with their corrugated metal roofs, recall the lodgings of the early vineyard workers, but they’re outfitted with all the luxe necessities — and you might remember Farm, the restaurant, from our farm-to-table hotel roundup from late last year.

Auberge du Soleil
Rutherford
Auberge Du Soleil

Last but in no way least is Auberge du Soleil, the original Provence-via-Napa luxury resort, whose iconic valley-spanning views and legendary Mediterranean-inspired cuisine — as well as its history — make it the grand dame of Napa County hotels. It’s fresh off a renovation, but longtime devotees are still just as devoted — it was a refresh, not a rethink, and the Auberge is looking better than ever.

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