California lifted its regional stay-at-home order in the Bay Area at the end of January—meaning Napa Valley's hotels and outdoor dining and wine tastings are officially open for business. As Cabernet Season comes to a close, April means bud break (the official start to grape-growing season), ushering in springtime in Napa Valley.
What’s New in Hotels
This year will bring a hotel boom across Napa Valley. Four Seasons Resort and Residences Napa Valley will open this spring with 85 rooms and an on-site vineyard and tasting room. As a nod to Calistoga’s wellness roots, the property will offer an eight-room spa, along outdoor steam pods for the Native Steam Treatment — an authentic Calistoga ritual.
Stanly Ranch, an Auberge Collection Resort is slated to open in the Carneros region along the banks of the Napa River later this year. The 135 open-air cottages will be set on the historic Stanly Ranch Winery estate, which has been producing critically acclaimed wines since the 19th century. Bann at Oak Knoll Napa, which opened its doors at the end of 2020, brings a taste of Thailand to this resort-style bed and breakfast. Owner Lalita Souksamlane, known for her Osha Thai restaurants across San Francisco, was inspired by design elements from regions across Thailand. Each room, named after the provinces of the Kingdoms of Siam, has curated art and handcrafted items that showcase the blending of cultures across the country.
Napa's classic resorts are taking stock, too. Dr. Wilkinson’s Backyard Resort & Mineral Springs, originally built in 1952 and considered one of the first resorts in Calistoga, will unveil a large-scale renovation in March. The property’s new look will include a Southwestern-inspired restaurant, House of Better; and the spa, known for its mud bath treatments, will offer new outdoor cabana treatment rooms. In the city of Napa, R Inn Napa just unveiled three new Loft Suites. The apartment-style accommodations have 20-foot-high ceilings with custom walnut wood and steel floating staircases that lead up to the master bedroom.
What’s New in Experiences
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In celebration of Women's History Month in March, West Wine Tours in partnership with Visit Napa Valley launched the "Women in Wine Country" tasting tour, available for private reservations up to six guests. Guests are transported in a restored vintage Volkswagen bus between three wineries that are helmed by powerhouse ladies. The first stop is Fantesca Estate & Winery by Heidi Barrett, known as “The First Lady of Wine,” before heading to St. Clair Brown Winery & Brewery by Elaine St. Clair, the only woman in the U.S. to hold the commercial title of both winemaker and brewer, and ending at Crocker & Starr; here, 40-year winemaking vet, Pam Starr, crafts her Sauvignon Blanc using sustainable farming practices.
Anyone traveling to Napa Valley should build in time to stretch their legs with Active Wine Adventures. The new “Hike & Wine Tours” gets travelers' blood pumping with refreshing walks through the redwood and pine forests, wrapping with a private picnic lunch and tasting at Bremer Family Winery, where the original stone cellar from 1891 remains.
Looking for something different than wine? The area’s first standalone tasting room dedicated solely to luxury California brandies, California Brandy House, opened in November 2020. Visitors are guided through tasting flights, with selections including single-barrel samples that are only available at the tasting space.
Art-lovers missing weekend museum strolls can add di Rosa Center for Contemporary Art to their itinerary. The outdoor sculpture park is now open on weekends allowing guests to explore the scenic two-mile loop or simply relax and birdwatch by the property’s 35-acre lake.
Good to know: New flight routes are adding to the region’s accessibility for domestic travelers. United will begin service from New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport to San Francisco at the end of February and West Coasters can board Surf Air with a private flight from Los Angeles directly to the vines (frequent visitors can now purchase a destination membership for a bundle of 10 flights).