The first commercial winery in the Napa Valley was created in 1861 by Charles Krug. By the time 1889 rolled around, there were 140 different vintners growing more than 400 different types of grapes. Having survived Prohibition, which ended in 1933, this fertile valley finally came into its own in the mid 1940s. Today visitors come to taste the wines and the locally inspired cuisine and to enjoy posh resorts in towns such as Napa, Sonoma and St. Helena.
Napa - Vino Bello Resort
Exuding luxury from its Tuscan influenced facade to its upscale suites and condos, the Vino Bello Resort is one of the newest properties in the Napa Valley. All 116 guest units offer kitchens or kitchenettes sporting granite countertops and custom wood furniture. Condo units also offer in-room jetted tubs and a larger furnished patio or balcony. A bottle of California wine welcomes you to your room. Spend some time on the sundeck surrounding two pools or take advantage of the two fitness rooms. A water spray playground is available for the kids. Play a round of golf at the neighboring Chardonnay Golf Club, where golf hazards include rows of Merlot and Chardonnay grapes. On Thursdays and Fridays, head next door to the Meritage Resort for a complimentary wine tasting party. Vino Bello Resort is four miles south of the restaurants and shops of downtown Napa.
Napa - Silverado Resort and Spa
The 1200 acres of the Silverado Resort and Spa are impressive. The original mansion, with its curves and columns influenced by French and Italian architecture, was built in the 1870s. The sprawling white building and adjacent grounds may seem familiar. They were used for the TV show “Falcon Crest.” Today the grand building serves as the posh Silverado Mansion Conference Center. Scattered around the grounds are buildings with deluxe guest rooms, suites with fireplaces and one- and two-bedroom condo-style units with views of the golf course and full kitchens. Book a treatment at the Roman-inspired Spa at Silverado or take to the links on one of two 18-hole courses designed by golfer Robert Trent Jones, Jr. Sample an assortment of California wines along with regional cuisine at the Grill at Silverado or the Royal Oak seafood restaurant. Ten swimming pools, 17 tennis courts and a fitness center are also on site.
Sonoma - Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn & Spa
Elegant four-poster beds, fireplaces surrounded by marble, limestone and even more marble in bathrooms featuring jetted tubs for two and a furnished balcony or patio. That describes the Wine Country Junior Suites, only one type of accommodation featured at the Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn & Spa. Mission Suites and Signature One Bedroom Suites offer more living space and are even more lavish. Even the less expensive options such as the Fairmont Heritage Room or the Fairmont Wine Country Room offer a French-style decor and marble baths. Soak in a mineral water bath in the on-site adult spa or join a yoga or aqua class at the fitness center. Enjoy access to the private Sonoma Golf Club featuring 18 holes of championship caliber golf on a course that has been welcoming players since 1928. Sample some of California’s finest at the Big 3 Wine Bar and then enjoy a meal, and perhaps more wine, at the Big 3 Restaurant or the more formal Sante Restaurant, all at the resort.
St. Helena - Auberge du Soleil
Sitting on the border of Rutherford and St. Helena on the northern end of the Napa Valley, the Auberge du Soleil, meaning “house of the sun” invites guests to stay in an assortment of deluxe hotel rooms, suites and free-standing 1,800-square-foot cottages. Modeled after vacations retreats in Provence, France, the property is terraced down gently sloping hills and offers valley views from many of the guest rooms. Amenities include handmade tile floors, boldly colored furnishings, abstract paintings and French doors that open onto private patios. The cottages offer sunken hot tubs on terraces offering panoramic Napa Valley views. The Auberge started out as an upscale restaurant, and that eatery is still serving meals and fine wines on site. The 7,000-square-foot Auberge Spa offers treatments, soaks in natural springs and the private Melissa Suite suitable for romantically inclined couples or four very good friends. The suite includes private treatment rooms and its own swimming pool, tanning deck and fireplace.
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