Napa Valley’s Most Exciting New Hotels, Restaurants, and Tastings

Napa Valley has long been known for great food and drink, but several new offerings elevate this California wine region even higher.

Street in Napa alongside river

Napa Valley has welcomed a number of new establishments in the past year.

Photo by Randy Andy/Shutterstock

Ah, Napa Valley: land of fancy farms and expensive fermented grape juice. What’s affectionately been known as an “adult Disneyland” gets increasingly exciting as time wears on. With several luxe hotels, tasting experiences, and restaurants opening in the past year, Napa Valley says, “Pandemic? What’s that?” The following establishments show what a difference a year or two makes. Pandemic be damned.

New Napa Valley hotels to check into

Four Seasons Resort Napa Valley

Napa’s Four Seasons comprises 85 rooms—and a huge vineyard of course.

Courtesy of Four Seasons

Four Seasons Resort & Residences

Calistoga is the newest recipient of a Four Seasons resort, which opened just over one year ago in the most Napa way possible–quietly. While the accommodating service is what it’s known for, it’s really the rooms that have visitors salivating. In this Calistoga version, 85 guest rooms (I use that term loosely—individual unit is a more accurate term) feature gas fireplaces and terraces overlooking the 4.7-acre vineyard on property. Star winemakers Thomas Rivers Brown and Jonathan Walden meticulously craft cabernet sauvignon, cabernet franc, petite sirah, and sauvignon blanc wines for the Elusa brand at the on-site winery.

For food, head to Truss, the Seasons’ upscale yet casual farm-to-table concept, or Auro, its fine-dining offering, where you can have wild mushroom bucatini or Kagoshima A5 wagyu with garlic confit, walnut puree, and black trumpet mushrooms.

Stanly Ranch

The Auberge Resorts are known the world over for over-the-top accommodations, often Michelin-starred restaurants, and fabulous amenities—like late model Mercedes-Benzes available to rent during your stay in Napa Valley. The area already has two Auberge Resorts, Auberge du Soleil in Rutherford and Solage in Calistoga, but a third joined the elite group in 2022: Stanly Ranch, on the Napa Valley side of the Carneros region.

The hotel sprawls out in a compound of barn-like structures designed by Overland Partners, an architecture firm whose other projects include Fierce Whiskers Distillery in Austin, Texas, and luxury boutique hotel Imanta Resort & Spa in Nayarit, Mexico. It focuses on wellness and extravagant experiences, such as helicopter tours to nearby public art installations. The Michelin-worthy Bear restaurant offers a book full of highly curated wines like Lang & Reed’s cabernet franc and a glorious champagne list. Its upscale Cal-Med fare incorporates the bounty of Stanly Ranch’s on-site garden, including raw and preserved veggies with a cashew-miso dip and tagliatelle with watercress pesto, foraged mushrooms, Bellwether pecorino, and pistachios.

The hotel is situated on 700 acres of working ranch land, and it’s easy to settle into one of the freestanding villa suites or monochromatic guest rooms with soaking tubs for the night, wondering what adventure awaits you tomorrow.

Exciting restaurant openings

Regiis Ova Caviar chips and dip.

Chips and dip, Napa style.

Photo by David Escalante

Mangia Mi

You’d be forgiven if you happened to walk right past Mangia Mi restaurant in Calistoga. It’s tucked away on a side street off the city’s main drag, right at an alley and across from the fire station. The only indicator that you could possibly be in the right place is the fancy, multi-colored wood panels that seem out of place on such an unassuming street. But behind the facade lies a treasure trove of culinary riches. Though the menu is a surprise each time you go, some things never change, like the beef and pork meatballs, lemon-garlic-shrimp fettuccine, and bolognese over pappardelle, all made from scratch. In the capable hands of chef Rebecca White, the open concept kitchen and communal tables invite a spirit of convivialità.

Winston’s Bakery & Cafe

The pandemic made people hungry for a lot of things: companionship, wine, comfort food, and sweets. Winston’s Bakery & Cafe, now occupying the old Alexis Baking Company space just outside of downtown Napa, hits all four. In the revamped space, named after owners Alex and Cassan’s pitbull mix, they serve up decadent, hyperlocal breakfast and brunch faves, like a giant sourdough cream roll with brown sugar citrus filling and cream cheese frosting, and an avocado bagel with arugula pesto and sunflower gremolata.

Regiis Ova Caviar & Champagne Lounge

Who doesn’t love champagne? Famed chef Thomas Keller knows the answer is “no one,” and capitalized on that fact with his sixth Yountville culinary outpost, a pop-up turned permanent fixture, Regiis Ova Caviar & Champagne Lounge. Set in the erstwhile Redd space, things look eerily similar. That is, until you see the menu.

Yes, Regiis Ova only serves caviar, caviar-graced things, or very French desserts (read: macarons and palmiers). Oh, and it has a bonkers wine list, with champagnes from Krug, Vilmart et Cie, Salon, Egly-Ouriet, Ruinart and many others, and a smattering of high-quality whites, reds, and rosés from here and abroad. Although Napa Valley is mostly fancy, this place is really fancy, but somehow feels down to earth at the same time.

Mind-blowing winetasting experiences


The New Frontier Wine Co. will whisk your palate around the globe.

Photo by Nicole Ravicchio Aslan

New Frontier Wine Co.

Napa Valley has enough tasting rooms and venues to taste Napa wine, but what if your tastes lean more global? That’s where New Frontier Wine Company comes in. This homey new tasting room in downtown Napa features 44 global wine brands, hailing from as far away as Australia, Argentina, and Bordeaux and as close as Sonoma’s Russian River Valley, plus Napa itself. The featured winemakers also have global citizenship: Michel Rolland of France; Matt Sands of New Zealand; Alberto Antonini of Argentina; Maayan Koschitzky in Napa. And with old-fashioned, overstuffed leather chairs, a tin ceiling and brick walls, tasting here is a rather literal departure from normal Napa environs. New Frontier is for those who like to shake things up a bit.

Vineyard 29 Tasting Lounge

It’s still possible to taste Vineyard 29’s portfolio of wines (and some chef-prepared dishes to accompany them) at its St. Helena winery, but its new downtown Napa tasting room feels a bit more hip. Here, you can taste both its “Estate” and “Cru” wines. The space eschews the hackneyed wood and glass farm-like setting in favor of plush velvet, marble, and gleaming gold. The result is a thoroughly modern yet inviting space that feels like the home of your dreams. Individual seating areas are more like mini living rooms, rather than the derivative stand-up tasting bar setup.

Of course, these aren’t the only noteworthy openings of the last year. Napa Valley has also dipped its toes into the tiki bar scene with Wilfred’s Lounge; said mazel tov to Christopher Kostow’s new Loveski Deli and its Tribute sandwich; and increased wine from around the world with Compline Wine Shop, an expanded space and tasting lounge by the sommelier-owners of Compline restaurant, Matt Stamp and Ryan Stetins. It also continues to give back with the new OneHope Winery, a winery that donates 10 percent of all sales to a cause of your choice. Many of the existing hotels, including Meadowood Resort, Dr. Wilkinson’s Backyard Resort & Mineral Springs, and McClelland House Bed & Breakfast, have also been revamped because the county likes to one-up itself at every turn.

J’nai Gaither is a Napa-based wine writer and editor who drinks her weight in champagne daily. In addition to AFAR, her work can be found in Wine Enthusiast, Decanter Magazine, Plate Magazine, and other food- and beverage-related publications.
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