When presented with the task of luring my boyfriend out to Santa Cruz, California to meet the family, I knew I had to be cunning. I knew I had to think fast. I knew I needed bait. Fortunately for me, Santa Cruz is just about a two-and-a-half hour drive from the gorgeous Napa Valley. Rolling vineyards, full glasses of Syrah and an impeccable inn seemed like just the right amount of intoxicating incentive. And was it ever.
After a full day of travel (two planes and a drive from San Jose International Airport), we arrived in quaint Yountville, just a few towns north of Napa proper. We checked into the Vintage Inn at about 2:30 in the morning, exhausted and crabby. It didn’t seem like anything could keep us from flopping face down into a fluffy king size bed in our Suite #209. That is, until we saw the bottle of champagne on ice and plate of artfully crafted chocolate covered strawberries. 2:30 a.m. suddenly felt like noon.
Vintage Inn is part of the 23-acre Vintage Estate, on which is sister property Villagio Inn & Spa, V Marketplace, V Wine Cellar, and Chef Michael Chiarello’s Bottega restaurant. The plot was once a former winery that dates back 130 years.
Vintage Inn is bucolic inn at its best (think Provence in the spring). The property features 80 guest rooms, eight mini suites and four villas. Each room reflects accents of a French country inn, all while maintaining a high level of luxury. We love the landscaped gardens and walkways that wind past brooks and gorgeous gardens popping with color.
The property has an outdoor heated pool, tennis courts, full service bar and complimentary champagne breakfast. We also loved the complimentary bottle of wine we received on arrival.
While there is no spa part of Vintage Inn, all guests have complete access to the 13,000-square-foot Spa Villagio, which is equipped with 16 treatment rooms and is a short walk from Vintage Inn.
But besides the fabulous spa and plush accommodation, there is really one reason why visitors come to Napa, and that’s to sample in the local viticulture. Yountville sits smack dab in the heart of it all, right off of Route 29 which runs like a main artery through the region’s most renowned vineyards. Vintage Inn has an extremely knowledgeable concierge on hand who will be happy to craft an itinerary of top vineyards and wineries.
Both Napa virgins, we opted to visit the Robert Mondavi Winery followed by Francis Ford Coppola’s Rubicon, which is currently going through the process of reverting back to it’s original name, Inglenook. Tip: While visiting Rubicon, we suggest dabbling in the Daniel Tasting, which offers a flight of five different wines, most of which are not distributed outside of the winery.
Where to dine in Yountville is a daunting decision, especially since some of the country’s top restaurants are just a stone’s throw from Vintage Inn (think Thomas Keller’s The French Laundry, Bouchon and Bottega). It is common for these restaurants to be booked months in advance. We suggest Bottega for lunch, when the food is just as flawless and you are sure to be seated right away. Tip: Try the Bruschetta Trio – rustic country bread heaped with roasted pepperonata California asparagus, salsa rossa and pecorino carrot and eggplant caponata with goat cheese. We also flipped for the Calabrian sausage and lemon ricotta tortellini and ravioloni of veal, ricotta and swiss chard.
Other nearby restaurants include Hurley’s Restaurant & Bar and Pacific Blues Café. Each restaurant is within walking distance of the hotel, which allows diners to dip a little deeper into the notable wine lists.
Rates begin at $280 per night for a perimeter courtyard, $305 per night for an interior courtyard, $390 for a villa and $390 for a mini suite. This is a perfect getaway for couples dying for a much-needed tryst, or girlfriends who want some serious bonding time.
For more information visit www.vintageinn.com.