Travel to NapaNapa - The Wine Gods
The Temple of Bacchus exists today, and it’s in the wine country of Napa. Napa has it all going on with gorgeous views, five-star food and a wine orgy like no other. Unlike the wine terroirs around the world, Napa is easy to navigate, wineries are open to the public and the warm hospitality is pure California. One of the best destinations in the U.S., Napa is the go-to weekend getaway for every type of traveler.
If there was a Hall of Fame of hotels, Auberge du Soleil would be near the top of that list. Napa accommodations are generally expensive — in the $400-$500 range in season for even average hotels. Auberge is above this range but comparatively speaking, it’s a significantly better value than paying for a mediocre hotel. And when you arrive at Auberge, you will quickly see that there is nothing mediocre about this place. In its beautifully appointed rooms with gorgeous views of the valley, they’ve thought of everything including the — ahem — intimacy kit. Whether you need it or not, this is one of the most romantic places in the U.S. and virtually no one regrets the splurge.
While Although Auberge was once the only game in town, it now has a formidable opponent in the Bardessono resort, a new eco eco-friendly lux hotel. The interior of the Bardessano is completely different than the décor at Auberge with a its modern, clean, spa spa-like décor. The Bardessano is romantic in its own way, and is younger and hipper in feel. The major bonus with the Bardessano is its location in Yountville, which is stumbling distance to all the restaurants. Quite convenient, and arguably. This convenience is sure to prove an unbeatable plus after a full day of wine tasting, where no one will have to worry about driving home. Gentler on the pocket and the best of the mid-range hotels is the Villagio, also with a prime location in town.
Either route you go, a serious session at the spa, an afternoon frolic in the pool and some major chill-out time should be on the agenda. On your way in from San Fran, stop at the Napa Premium Outlets, where Barneys has high-end gems for serious discounts leftover from the celebs in L.A. Your days in Napa will be spent wandering from winery to winery including the Grand Dames like Far Niente, Quintessa and Coppola, as well as discovering the hidden gems like Viader and Burgess. Your schedule will be dictated by the schedule of tastings available at each winery. For those who want a leisurely trip, plan for 3-4 wineries, though we’ve done up to 7 or 8 in a day, which is absolutely insane. The key to conquering Napa is to make reservations for tastings only—the tours are for the rookies. To get priority, join the wine clubs you know you like before arriving, which will also eliminate any tasting fees, that can stretch up to $50. Wine clubs also provide for generous discounts, some up to 20% off purchases throughout the year.
The quintessential lunch spots are Mustards, Taylor’s Refresher and the Oakville Grocery, where you can pick up gourmet foods for a picnic. It’s the perfect spot to stop before heading over to Joseph Phelps, where you can taste Insignia at an outdoor table overlooking the valley while enjoying your treats.
For dinners, classics like Bouchon, a sunset meal at Auberge and if you’ve never done it before, French Laundry, are gastronomic experiences. The restaurant REDD is a standout, rivaling any fine dining option in the world. If your timing is right, wineries have events like Nickel & Nickel’s Starlight Dinner or Viader’s Casino Night, where you will dance and drink as you never could in any other wine terroir. Everyone has their favorites, and at Galavante, we’ve compiled the best of the best.