While Yountville is known worldwide as home to Thomas Keller’s French Laundry, there is so much more to explore in the charming city located at the heart of Napa.
The region, which is almost completely walkable, effortlessly blends small-town ambiance with a sophisticated wine country lifestyle, making it perfect retreat for anyone — especially foodies.
As one might imagine, all the accommodations in the region drip luxury, but Hotel Yountville and Bardessono Hotel and Spa stand out. Just steps from more than a dozen tasting rooms, boutiques and restaurants, Hotel Yountville — built using river rocks from the nearby Napa River — has elegance to spare.
There are just 80 rooms and suites on property, ensuring intimacy yet offering resort-level service and amenities. Of note is its Yountville Suite, a palatial 1,100-square-foot room with freestanding rainfall steam shower, formal living room, dining room with seating for eight, and private courtyard with ample garden.
Even if not staying in the Yountville Suite, blissing out is a snap thanks to the fountains and gardens that envelop the property as well as the pool pavilion — complete with a glowing outdoor bar — and its connected spa, offering both traditional services as well as specialty hydrotherapy and seasonal wine-inspired treatments.
Bardessono is approximately two blocks from Hotel Yountville. The sprawling LEED Platinum Certified property, situated within its own vineyard, is committed to providing a lavish experience for guests within a sustainable environment.
Each of the 65 guestrooms and suites at Bardessono serves as a personal sanctuary and offers the rarity of an in-room personal spa, presenting discreet massage tables, steam showers, soaking tubs and top-of-the-line, organic bath amenities as well as spa butlers.
A private haven of refined luxury, the Maple Grove Villas at Bardessono — available individually or as a three-bedroom retreat — are a grand respite for guests seeking more space with elite experiences. The natural, earth-infused décor is embellished with refined accents, and there are daily enhanced amenities as well as docent service to ensure a customized stay and an effortless, immersive visit. Bonus: Guests who reserve all three villas receive access to a Bardessono Lexus throughout their stay.
Beyond the accommodations and grounds, the hotel’s acclaimed Spa at Bardessono offers personalized oil blending, nourishing tinctures and local honeys to spa guests before or after treatment. There is also a rooftop pool and a signature farm-to-fork eatery, Lucy Restaurant & Bar, that is equal parts classy and craveable.
In addition to Lucy, any trip to Yountville should include plans to dine at RH Yountville, North Block, Bouchon Bistro and of course French Laundry (note that reservations at French Laundry are limited and must be made at least one month in advance). The flashy, splashy RH Yountville is hard to miss, as it takes up nearly a full block. The Restoration Hardware-owned property is a wine, food and shopping mecca comprised of five separate experiences: an indoor/outdoor restaurant with a glass roof surrounded by trees and adorned with dramatic chandeliers; a two-story wine-tasting space; a limited production wine center; an espresso bar; and a boutique design gallery grander in scale than even the sister property at Scottsdale Quarter.
North Block is smaller in size but just as big when it comes to flavor. Taking advantage of the proximity to the Pacific Ocean, it dishes up both raw and cooked delicacies from the sea, including oysters, halibut and black cod.
Like French Laundry, which for those unfamiliar boasts a three-hour Michelin- and James Beard-honored culinary adventure with a dozen or more courses, Bouchon is helmed by celebrity chef Thomas Keller but is far less formal. The French bistro offers a seasonally changing menu and epic raw bar as well as wine selections made exclusively for the restaurant from top vineyards across Napa and France.
And the wine at Bouchon is just the beginning. In Yountville, wine tasting is a multi-sensory experience. For example, the Silver Trident Winery tasting home is exclusively furnished by Ralph Lauren Home.
As guests experience a traditional wine tasting or Silver Trident’s popular “potato chip extravaganza” pairing with small-batch potato chips, they are also able to peruse fine area rugs, decorative accessories and serving ware, all available for purchase.
Similarly, at Handwritten Wines across the street, guests may indulge in a specialty tasting including a rare cabernet sauvignon made from Carneros AVA grapes that is paired with artisanal butters from around the world before shopping at the elegant hat boutique on-site. At the over-the-top JBC Tasting Salon, curated by wine pioneer Jean-Charles Boisset, tastings are accompanied by the opportunity to sample perfumes as well as shop custom-designed jewelry, candles and luxury home accessories.
Also downtown, Hestan Vineyards Tasting Salon, founded by cookware pioneers Stanley and Helen Cheng, whose products are still used in Keller’s kitchens, offers exclusive sips of their reserve wines unavailable to the general public. Other can’t-miss stops include Paraduxx, Cliff Lede Vineyards, Jessup Cellars and Chandon, which has tasting cabanas as well as five-course food and wine pairing most days of the week.
Finally, take a hot air balloon ride. Napa Valley Aloft has sunrise, sunset and custom rides daily. Flights are about four hours, each with 360-degree views of Napa like you’ve never it seen it before and many with champagne for the ride.