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Posts tagged Napa Valley
by Jacqueline Swartz
Hotel Yountville, a luxury property in the middle of California’s Napa Valley, reopened late last year after major renovations. The hotel is country elegant, a series of stone buildings nestled in nature. The rooms are enhanced by a variety of textures: wooden floors, filmy white bed canopies, woven rugs, fireplaces. The cathedral ceilings are painted a rustic white. The bathrooms run the length of the room, with windows opening to the bedroom. The outdoor deck looks out on trees and a stream.
Step outside your room and you’re outdoors. The upstairs decks are in the midst of trees and birdsong. Close by is an elegant outdoor pool and Jacuzzi that look like something out of a dreamy symbolist painting.
Just beyond is Spa Acqua. The treatments combine techniques from around the world – the signature massage includes hot stones with Thai stretching – with Napa Valley grape seed body products.
Adjacent to the check-in area is a large lounge, with a fireplace and enough easy chairs, it seems, for every guest in the hotel. Newspapers are provided.
The restaurant, Hopper Creek, serves breakfast and lunch in a light and airy space with wrought iron chandeliers. Just about every ingredient on the menu is attributed to a local farm. The breakfasts are luscious, enough to get you through a day of wine-tasting. One choice features cured king salmon, cherry smoked ham, Mt. Tam goat cheese. and an assortment of homemade breads and croissants. The French toast is a brioche with Asian pear compote, mascarpone cheese and hot cinnamon sauce.
What makes this a destination hotel is the proximity to some of the best wineries in the valley. Hotel Yountville is geared to wine-tasting, and will provide a list of nearby wineries, many of which offer discounts to hotel guests.
The other benefit is the charming low-rise town of Yountville, barely two blocks away. There are stores with serious wine cellars, and an upscale shopping area that sells the local products: olive oil, artichoke tapenade, lilac soaps and potions.
There is a surprisingly good art gallery run by artist Steven Gordon, (www.thegordongallery.com).He paints landscapes of the area that are impressionistic, and surprisingly not kitsch.
But the real draw is this: Yountville has more Michelin-starred restaurants per capita than any other place on the planet (of course the town is tiny). The French Laundry, with three stars, tops the charts, but you have to drive, not to mention booking months ahead. Much less expensive, but definitely satisfying, are the one Michelin-starred eateries in town, a short walk from the hotel. Redd (www.reddnapavalley.com) features minimalist decor and an intensely creative menu. Bouchon Bistro (www.bouchonbistro.com), The French Laundry’s cousin, is a classic, with marble tables, an oyster bar and a menu that features bistro food that well deserves its Michelin star. The Poulet Roti($26.50) is roast chicken with caramelized sunchokes, melted leeks, black trumpet mushrooms and chicken jus. For dessert, don’t miss Bouchon’s take on Ile Flottante, a meringue with vanilla, creme anglais; here chocolate caramel sauce on the side and friend crisp almonds set off the egg whites and cream.
There are also in-town places for wine-tasting, for those who prefer to drink and walk, rather than drive. The Hill Family Estate offers free tastings for guests of Hotel Yountville. To visit nearby Domaine Chandon (www.chandon.com), you can borrow a bike from the hotel, then stroll the Domaine Chandon gardens, taste the many sparkling wines, and have a full course meal at Etoile, the on-site Michelin-starred restaurant.
Or, for a more close-to-home experience, have a drink at the Hotel Yountville bar, or take a bottle to your room, along with crusty local bread and creamy goat cheese. There are a lot of ways to experience your very own Napa Valley