Once you arrive at the Carneros Inn, throw away your car keys. You won’t be needing them here, and, frankly, you won’t ever want to leave.
A sprawling luxury retreat in the heart of wine country, the inn feels something like a self-sufficient farm village—if farm villages had four acclaimed eateries (one fine-dining, of course) and its cottages were paragons of modernist California luxury. Nearly every spot on the grounds offers views of the rolling vineyards and surrounding horse ranches. You can gaze over the organic garden that supplies ingredients for all of the restaurants, as well as the on-site market and spa. The renowned spa pampers guests with natural treatments and free yoga classes. Then there are two swimming pools, bicycles to borrow, a garden bar with bocce and live music, a cocktail foraging experience where you create signature drinks from the garden with the head bartender, a designer boutique, and vineyard walks. So, yes, hiking trails, winetasting, and hot-air balloon rides are just outside the door, but it’s so tempting to just stay right here on the farm.
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At the southern end of Napa Valley, the Carneros Inn is set amid rolling hills and vineyards. Some of the area’s top wine producers are just next door, including Domaine Carneros, owned by the French Champagne Taittinger house. The surrounding area is especially popular for outdoor pursuits such as hiking, biking, horseback riding, and hot-air ballooning. Should you need a break from the great outdoors, pop into nearby Di Rosa Preserve, a world-class collection of California art. Eat farm-to-table comfort food at hip Fremont Diner. And the town of Napa, with its many renowned restaurants, tasting rooms, and art galleries, is only a short drive away.
Need to Know
Rooms: 86 cottages, 10 suites, 24 homes. From $525. Check-in: 4 p.m.; check-out: noon. Dining options: An ode to Northern California’s agricultural bounty, the fine dining FARM restaurant is a rustically elegant culinary destination with an impressive local wine list; its popular bar and lounge area opens onto the grassy Pavilion, outfitted with bocce courts and fire pits. The casually refined Boon Fly Café is styled after vintage California roadside eateries, serving dressed-up classics with local ingredients all day. Some of the best views around can be found at the Hilltop Dining Room, a guests-only, indoor-outdoor weekend breakfast and lunch café overlooking the pool; poolside snacks and drinks are served until the evening. Otto’s Pool has its own Snack Shack, which serves sandwiches, salads, and other light bites in the summer months. Stock up on local treats and picnic fixings at the Market, the hotel’s very own gourmet grocery. Spa and gym details: Like the restaurants, the Spa at the Carneros Inn utilizes many of the hotel farm’s ingredients in its extensive menu of natural beauty and wellness treatments. The large, modern fitness center is open 24 hours daily and offers free fitness classes on weekends; personal training and a wide range of private and small-group wellness classes can also be booked. There are two pools—one for adults only, one dedicated to fitness and families.
Who it’s best for: Romancing couples, families, outdoor enthusiasts, and tech moguls who want to play at farm living. Our favorite rooms: Like private little bungalows, the Harvest Cottages have French doors that open onto a spacious private garden with a fire pit, two-person soaking tub, dining area, and outdoor shower. Talk about romantic. Shopping alert: Want something new to wear to dinner? Don’t worry, the hotel is practically its own village, complete with the PlumpJackSport boutique, which stocks designer brands including Ted Baker and Diane von Furstenberg.