Elite Escapes

7 best places to stay in Napa Valley

Matt VillanoUpdated 15th September 2017
(CNN) — There are three parts to an epic Napa Valley getaway: Life-changing wine-tastings, scrumptious meals and sumptuous accommodations.
Reputation and word of mouth make the first two relatively easy for visitors to arrange. With so many good options, however, locking down the last one can be a little tricky.
While the Valley still boasts classic resorts such as Meadowood Napa Valley, Solage Calistoga and Bardessono, new openings and renovated properties have brought other overnight destinations to the forefront. Here are our seven favorites.

Las Alcobas Napa Valley, St. Helena

The Napa Valley outpost of this Mexico City brand redefined luxury when it opened in spring 2017.
All 68 rooms are sleek and modern, with fancy touches such as automatic toilets, complimentary minibars and blackout shades. A handful have private balconies overlooking a cabernet sauvignon vineyard owned by Beringer next door. Some even have showers that double as steam rooms.
Elsewhere on property, Atrio Spa specializes in aromatherapy, while the fitness center has cruiser bikes for guests to borrow, free of charge.
Perhaps the main attraction is Acacia House, the latest restaurant from celebrity chef Chris Cosentino. The menu largely eschews Cosentino's true love of offal, instead focusing on modern California cuisine with a Mediterranean flare.
A summer menu featured lamb tartare with green harissa, mint and chickpea crackers, as well as Iberico pork schnitzel with herbs, watercress and caviar ranch dressing. The restaurant sits in a meticulously restored 1905 mansion. Dinner on the porch at sunset is divine.
Las Alcobas Napa Valley, 1915 Main St., St. Helena, 94574; +1 (707) 963-7000

Senza Hotel, Napa

Five buildings make up this ultraluxury bed-and-breakfast owned by Kathryn and Craig Hall, the couple behind the famous Hall and Walt wines. The Halls are known for their art collection, and it shows: Senza is dotted with 11 eclectic sculptures across the property, as well as smaller sculptures and paintings inside the main guest areas and guest rooms.
All 41 rooms are modern and clean. Most have private patios or balconies and fireplaces. Accommodations in the renovated and circa-1870 Parker Mansion have built-in USB ports, smart-screen televisions and bathrooms with heated floors. They also have complimentary minibars.
Of course there's an on-site spa, restaurant, fitness center, outdoor pool and fire pit. Guests are welcome at a nightly wine-and-cheese hour, which features wines from the Hall family's portfolio. Perhaps Senza's most remarkable attribute is its layout; the property sits just off Highway 29, looking out on a parcel of vines that is owned and operated by the family. Regardless of the season, this backdrop soothes the soul.
Senza Hotel, 4066 Howard Lane, Napa, 94558; +1 (707) 253-0337

Rancho Caymus Inn, Rutherford

Location, location, location. Above all else, this is what fans love about Rancho Caymus, which reopened in July after a two-year renovation and refresh.
The hotel sits smack in the middle of the valley in Rutherford and is a short walk to Rutherford Grill, arguably the best-known eatery in Napa, and a handful of stellar wineries, including Honig and Round Pond Estate.
All 26 rooms are quirky. Heritage wood ceilings, fireplaces and private patios come standard. All accommodations also boast framed pillow cases and blankets from Ecuador, items originally procured by the hotel's first and long-time owner, Mary Tilden Morton.
Another interesting detail is the mosaic mural that overlooks the pool area, a work of art by artist Guillermo Wagner Granizo. The mural dates back to 1987, just three years after the hotel was built.
Guests enjoy access to the new pool and spa, as well as complimentary continental breakfast every day.
Rancho Caymus Inn, 1140 Rutherford Road, Rutherford, 94573; +1 (707) 200-9300

Auberge du Soleil, Rutherford

The 50-room "Auberge," as it's known to locals, has been one of the most popular luxury hotels in the area for years. New for 2017, however, are eight renovated guest rooms and suites developed by San Francisco interior designer Suzanne Tucker of Tucker & Marks fame.
Simply put, these new rooms make palace quarters seem dull. Amenities include daily fresh fruit, custom-made mattresses and hand-carved headboards. The undisputed highlights of at least two of the new rooms are al fresco wash areas that each have a shower and a tub. (You haven't truly arrived until you bathe under the stars.)
Auberge is known for its views. Because the hotel sits up on Rutherford Hill, on a clear night you can see south all the way to San Francisco and north all the way up to Mount St. Helena and beyond. This view of the valley makes the patio at the on-site restaurant -- The Restaurant at Auberge du Soleil -- one of the most romantic spots around.
Auberge du Soleil, 180 Rutherford Hill Road, Rutherford, 94573; +1 (707) 963-1211

Vintage House, Yountville

Old is new again at Vintage House, a 112-room Yountville hotel that reopened in early August after a yearlong renovation and name change -- it was previously known as the Vintage Inn.
The new rooms are completely modern, with tufted sofas, fireplaces and either patios or balconies. New bathrooms are worth bragging about, too, with dual sink vanities and twin walk-in rain-showers or oversized soaking tubs.
Without question, the best of the bunch is the 1,000-square-foot Loft Suite, with its high-beamed ceilings and French doors that lead out to either the patio or the balcony. Elsewhere on property, a new pool area, spa and lobby provide guests with ample opportunities to indulge or simply relax and read a book.
Including work on these spots, the refresh at Vintage House is the first step in a multifaceted modernization of The Estate Yountville, which eventually will include properties currently known as Villagio Inn & Spa and V Marketplace.
Vintage House, 6359 Washington St., Yountville, 94599; +1 (707) 944-1112

Harvest Inn, St. Helena

Hotelier and celebrity chef Charlie Palmer breathed new life into the moribund Harvest Inn when he purchased it in 2015, and he has been refining the St. Helena resort ever since.
Exhibit A: Harvest Table, a signature restaurant that sources ingredients from local farms and has started its own beer program.
Exhibit B: Vineyard View Collection rooms, which boast comfy leather club chairs and patios looking out on a lush and healthy vineyard of cabernet sauvignon. (The vines belong to neighboring Whitehall Lane Winery.)
Exhibit C: A new art installation that features metal animal sculptures from local artists, the result of a partnership with a local gallery.
Short of a total rebuild, however, there's not much Palmer can do with the outdated brick-and-stucco Tudor-style structures that dot the eight-acre property. Still, taking in the surrounding redwood grove and considering that most rooms come standard with a fireplace, plush bed and complimentary wine, the Harvest Inn proves that what's inside counts most of all.
Harvest Inn, 1 Main St., St. Helena, 94574; +1 (707) 963-9463

Brannan Cottage Inn, Calistoga

Built in 1860 by Calistoga founder Samuel Brannan, the Italianate Victorian at Brannan Cottage Inn was one of the first town buildings to be listed on the National Register of Historic Places. A painstaking renovation in 2014, coupled with Victorian-style furnishings, has enabled this six-room bed-and-breakfast to retain much of that old-school feel.
Today the most spacious of the accommodations are the Deluxe Kings, both of which are located in a separate building. These rooms are perfect for families traveling with small children. They also offer more privacy than the four rooms in the main house, which flank a pair of common rooms.
Design freaks will love the Art Deco-inspired in-room wallpaper, one-of-a-kind and new but created to look old. Also be sure to check out the giant elm tree, planted in 1878, that grows through the eaves of the roof.
Guests can play the antique (circa 1880) piano at their leisure.
Brannan Cottage Inn, 109 Wappo Ave., Calistoga, 94515; +1 (707) 942-4200