Napa and Sonoma are part of Northern California's most prolific wine-growing region, and while they've developed over the years, they've managed to grow in a way that doesn't spoil what brings you here in the first place -- the green, rolling landscape, the quiet, the misty vineyards, the food and wine. Hotels here are elaborate, in sync with that sense of indulgence that makes this region so irresistible.
AVIA Napa is the hot new place in downtown Napa. This elegant 141-room boutique hotel is sophisticated, fresh and modern but still respectful of the Old European wine-making traditions. Wrought-iron doors open to a living room filled with blackened oak and tufted modern sofas. Behind them, a retractable back wall opens to the outdoors. AVIA's Riddling Rack, a coffee bar by day and wine lounge at night, is often the visitor's first stop for limited-edition and sparkling wines, craft-brewed beer and the wine country's version of comfort food, such as Portobello fries with black truffle aioli or Ahi tuna tartare with seaweed salad and wonton threads. The bedrooms are large and handsomely understated, the ceilings high. Some rooms have soaking tubs for two.
Just an hour's drive from San Francisco, the Carneros Inn sits nestled among 27 acres of vineyard, apple orchards and Napa farmland. The Carneros Inn uses the charming elements of the countryside--silos, barns and ranchers' cottages, while also keeping in mind the needs of modern guests. So interiors of the 86 individual cottages are modern and elegant without being overly fussy, and all provide outdoor space, including outdoor showers and private patios. Dining options on the property abound. The Farm makes the best of its agricultural location, trying to source most of its artisanal ingredients no more than 150 miles away. The Hilltop Dining Room offers panoramic views of the neighboring vineyards. Carneros Inn is midway between Napa and Sonoma, and includes an all-purpose spa.
Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn
The Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn is one of the crowned jewel accommodations of the region. This luxurious hotel has its own therapeutic mineral-water pools, as well as golf, hiking, biking, a full gym, the Sonoma Spa, and several restaurants, including the Michelin award-winning Santé. Guests using the spa are invited to start with the hotel's 60-minute Bathing Ritual, featuring an exfoliating shower, two mineral-water soaking pools, herbal steam, a dry sauna, and cool-down showers.
Kenwood Inn and Spa
The Kenwood Inn and Spa, also in Sonoma, is a Mediterranean-villa style luxury hotel that emphasizes privacy. The 29 guest rooms all have their own private entrance. Children are not allowed, and there are no televisions in guest rooms so as not to disturb the quiet. Even courtyards and gardens are strategically placed to safeguard guests' privacy. The restaurant has won a Wine Spectator Award for Excellence for 2010. Chef Andrea Di Loreto's Mediterranean-inspired menu uses the bounty of area farmers, ranchers, cheese makers and fishermen, as well as fruits and herbs grown on the property.
- wine grapes image by enens from Fotolia.com