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.
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.
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.
Timber Cove, built in the Sixties out of native redwood and stone, was originally intended as a meditation lodge. After thorough renovations in 2016, culminating in its reopening as a hotel, it’s more rustic-chic than strictly rustic — but compared to the European-inspired wine resorts of Napa and Sonoma, it’s a back-to-basics affair, the perfect place to disconnect for a weekend or more.
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.
Meadowood Napa Valley was a country club first, a winemaking estate second, and only recently has it emerged as an absolutely first-rate luxury resort. Its location in St. Helena, home of the West Coast branch of the Culinary Institute of America, also doesn’t hurt — the Meadowood restaurant is the proud owner of not one or two but three Michelin stars.
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.
Healdsburg isn’t exactly a major metropolis, but make no mistake, this is urban living, and San Francisco architect David Baker is in full urban-rustic mode. Gone are the Tuscan villas and Provencal farmhouses of the early days of the California wine boom — this is a luxe little village, as contemporary as can be.
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.