It’s no secret, if you’re looking to indulge and pamper yourself, Northern California Wine Country offers the ultimate blend of ways to do it. With vineyard-lined hillsides, towering redwoods, rugged stretches of coast, Michelin-starred restaurants, and calm-inducing spas, if you’re dreaming of a getaway and wondering where to begin, the answer is simple — a dream-worthy hotel.
In Napa and Sonoma wine country, a hotel room is much more than simply a place to sleep. Though long known for posh properties with superlative amenities and top-notch service, there’s been an explosion of new and renewed hotels and resorts that are by most folks’ definition, destinations in their own right. Want to cozy up in a Victorian charmer? Sleep in the middle of a vineyard, or linger in the shade of the tallest living things on earth? It’s as easy as putting a trip to Wine Country on the calendar.
Featured Photo: Four Seasons Resort Napa Valley
Four Seasons Resort and Residences Napa Valley
Napa Valley’s first and only resort set within a working winery, there’s arguably no better place to be during harvest in Napa Valley. Located in the once-overlooked city of Calistoga, the property’s 85 rooms are set in the midst of Elusa Winery’s nearly 5-acre organic vineyard. (There’s also 20 private residences that sold out before the resort opened.) If you’re craving a close-up view of the wine making world, you can do it here while lounging in the sun on your guestroom balcony. A private tasting at Elusa is a must, along with a treatment at Spa Talisa, and time to simply enjoy the quiet at the adults-only Serenity Pool and hot tub. Campo Poolside’s churros with both chocolate and caramel sauce provide an indulgent afternoon sugar rush.
If you’re pondering a wine country adventure with kids in tow, along with a family pool, the Four Seasons is also the only resort in Napa Valley that offers daily programming for children. 400 Silverado Trail, Calistoga, 707.709.2100, fourseasons.com/napavalley
Stanly Ranch, Auberge Resorts Collection
Set on more 700 acres of rolling vineyards and farmland south of downtown Napa, Stanly Ranch marks the third Napa Valley property for the Auberge Resorts Collection. 135 airy, single-story, cottage-like guestrooms dot the landscape, and soon a collection of Vineyard Homes and Villas will be up for grabs. Surrounded by stretches of fragrant lavender, the main pool and neighboring kid-friendly pool with beach-style entry are stunners, but competition from the adults-only Halehouse spa pool is fierce. A dedicated wellness hub, along with expected treatments like facials and massage, the spa at Stanly Ranch boasts a plethora of high-tech offerings including a hyperbaric oxygen chamber, salt room, cold plunge, and tepidarium.
Bear, the property’s signature restaurant creates, rotating seasonal dishes with ingredients plucked from a thriving chef’s garden. Reserve a spot on the patio and anticipate dishes the likes of flat iron steak with grilled fennel, arugula and chimichurri, and salmon crudo with yogurt, yuzu kosho, green apple, trout roe and dill. 200 Stanly Crossroad, Napa, 866.421.5122, aubergeresorts.com/stanlyranch
When the 258-acre retreat opened to travelers in 2021, it was just the beginning of a long-awaited surge of new luxury properties in Sonoma County focused on helping guests live their best life. Along with 130-bungalow-style guestrooms, the Montage features a spa, pickleball courts, archery, bocce ball, bee apiary, and zero-edge pool overlooking the resort’s vineyards — which are tended to by rock star winemaker Jesse Katz. If schedules align, guests have the exclusive opportunity to join Katz for tastings at his nearby winery, Aperture Cellars.
Single-family Harvest Homes at Montage Healdsburg come with picturesque views and access to resort amenities. 100 Montage Way, Healdsburg, 707.979.9000, montagehotels.com/healdsburg
Shuttered for more than a year, The Madrona’s Victorian character and quintessential California charm is wowing guests like never before. Formerly known as Madrona Manor, the new boutique hotel in Healdsburg was originally built in 1881 as a private residence. Placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1987, renowned interior designer Jay Jeffers gave the 19th century grand dame estate a glam up that no other could imagine, mixing modern art and brightly colored walls with furniture and antiques original to the estate. Some pieces are believed to be nearly 200 years old.
Overlooking Dry Creek Valley, The Madrona features 24 accommodations spread amongst a half-dozen buildings. In addition to vineyards views, there’s a heated pool, an orange orchard that’s hard to resist strolling through, and large swathes of green grass worthy of throwing down a blanket and stretching out in the sunshine. The Madrona’s rural setting makes you feel as though you’re hidden away on country estate, but in reality Healdsburg’s bustling downtown is just a tad more than a mile away.
Chef Jesse Mallgren, who earned the property’s former restaurant a Michelin star every year for 13 consecutive years, is back at it serving a few signature dishes alongside new mouthwatering creations influenced by what’s peaking in the estate’s half-acre garden. 1001 Westside Road, Healdsburg, 707.395.6700, themadronahotel.com
The Stavrand Russian River Valley
Once a sleepy river retreat surrounded by towering redwood trees, the opening of The Stavrand Russian River Valley, inked Guerneville’s place on the map as a wine country hotspot. One of 100 hotel properties to make Travel + Leisure magazine’s 2022 coveted “It List,” new owners spent more than a year transforming the historic 21-room property that’s fondly known by locals as the Applewood Inn and Spa.
Set on nearly six acres, the century-old Belden House boasts a light and airy sunroom that almost feels like a treehouse thanks to the lineup of windows that provide a bird’s-eye view into the canopy of surrounding redwoods. Foggy days instill feelings of delight here, when curled up next to the enormous two-sided stone fireplace, but on warm, summer days you’ll want to grab a complimentary kayak or inner tube and splash around on the nearby Russian River.
Only open to guests, be sure to reserve a spot for dinner at The Stavrand’s restaurant. The ever-changing menu focuses on local, seasonal ingredients, and the bounty found in property’s fruit orchard and culinary garden. Breakfast, included with every stay, is something you’ll dream about long after vacation. 13555 Highway 116, Guerneville, 707.869.9093, thestavrand.com
Stretching 15 acres along the banks of the Russian River, Dawn Ranch has been welcoming guests since 1905. Until its recent redo and reopening, you could only stay here if you were lucky enough to be invited to a wedding or a grand corporate retreat.
The Guerneville resort features 53 snug and cozy cabins scattered amongst towering redwoods, quivering bamboo, and a more than a century old apple orchard. Wander the kitchen garden, a favorite of colorful butterflies, or take the trail to the river. You might meet a deer on the way. 16467 California 116, Guerneville, 707.869.0656, dawnranch.com