There is certainly no lack of luxury resorts within the Napa area. You will find them all the way from Napa to Calistoga. If you have the Amex card, fine hotels and resorts is a great place to see many of the options available. If not, google was my second resource. I booked through Amex at Carneros due to their “book two nights and receive the third night free” offer. My strong second contender was Alila in Napa. The prices were comparable, and they both offered the third night free. Some other possible benefits with Amex are the chance for a room upgrade, early check in, late check out, $100 food and beverage credit, and daily breakfast. Fortunately, Carneros was able to offer us all of these benefits on this particular stay.
Carneros is located to the south and west of Napa town. This places you in close proximity to certain wineries, but it also leaves you far away from many famous vineyards. For this reason, we stayed here for three nights and then moved to a hotel in Napa town for the remainder of the trip. The hotel in town was more affordable, and I knew certain days we would be spending much less time at the hotel. I concentrated the first part of the trip at Carneros enjoying the resort and visiting only 1-2 wineries per day. The remainder of the time we relaxed and explored the resort.
The hotel lobby is well decorated, but it was rather small for the size of the resort. It has a cozy feel and contains a couple of seating areas where you can play one of their many board games or chess. There is a large desk where guests can sit for the check in process. On check in, we were immediately offered the option to sip on a Chardonnay or Pinor Noir. This was a nice way to start the stay! The property is very large with small individual cottages for each of the guests. We were provided with a map and rundown of the location of breakfast options and the pools. Something they did not mention readily but I noted online was their offering of activities. If this interests you, make sure you ask for an activity sheet.
We followed one of the bellhops to our cottage. Each set of cottages has it’s own parking area. We stayed in Juniper cottage 6. All the groups looked very similar, but the row that lines the back of the property puts you in close proximity to the largest pool and spa area. The property was especially beautiful during the fall with the color change on the leaves. Walking up to the cottage, there were a couple of chairs on the small porch to enjoy. Inside, the room had its own electric fireplace with a small couch. The bed was very comfy and looked out onto the massive patio. The windows were floor to ceiling and opened completely making this a huge indoor/outdoor space. The patio had to be larger than the room itself. It contained a firepit, lounger chairs, table, umbrella, and a huge bathtub! Back inside, there were a few unique touches. The first was a wine machine. Yes, a machine with wine at your disposal! It contained a pinor noir and chardonnay. The novelty of using this machine did come at a price though. The second unique touch was heated floors in the bathroom. I never realized how much I might want heated flooring until staying here. The bathroom products were high quality with a lavender scent and a large container of bath salts alongside the tub. The shower continued outside to a second outdoor enclosed shower. There was tea/coffee available in the room as well as an unlimited supply of water in these cute milk like cartons.
As far as amenities, there are two pools with adjacent hot tubs on property. The smaller pool is located closer to the lobby. The gym looks out onto this pool. Their gym was spacious at 3000 square feet and well equipped. It was never terribly busy, and I always had access to the equipment I wanted to use. Also near this pool was the building they hold classes. I did a barre class the first day, but they also offered yoga and meditation. If you walk to the total opposite corner of the property, you will find the second pool. It has a well landscaped walk up with tall trees lining the entry gate. The Carneros colors are an orange and white. The orange umbrellas set up a pretty backdrop with a great pop of color against the rollings hills in the distance. On a clear morning, the sunrise here can be beautiful. The spa is located in this area and a small library. Their spa is exclusive to guests only. Leaving this area, if you take the “main path” back to the lobby, you will find yourself with great views both in front of and behind you.
Close to the lobby, you will find a couple of restaurants and shops. FARM is the most formal of the restaurants. I will discuss my experience here in my post on Restaurants in Napa Valley. The outdoor seating area is adjacent to a grassy pavilion with one end having a beautiful garden of fresh ingredients and a chicken coup. You can also play bocce ball here or relax with a glass of wine or beer on the pavilion. This square contains a clothing store and their version of a general store. The general store was my favorite. They had Carneros Resort adorned gifts in addition to fine grocieries and snacks. Also, they had a rather extensive collection of wine. Consider buying here versus using the in room wine machine for the cost difference. Their main counter serves sandwiches and breakfast items in addition to being a coffee bar.
We tried a different option for breakfast each morning. The last day we ordered to go from the general store. I highly recommend their sandwich on the English Muffin. The English Muffin is from Model Bakery, which is a favorite in the area. Other breakfast options are the Hilltop Kitchen and Boon Fly Café. Hilltop Café has a fantastic view adjacent to the large pool. Their menu is a little more limited. They offer a buffet and 4-5 off menu options. Honestly, I don’t like buffets. But, this buffet did have some perks, particularly the extensive charcuterie board. If you are a sucker for meats and cheese, the buffet might be for you. I ordered a vegetarian omelet, which was a massive plate of food served with fingerling potatoes. Hilltop Cafe had less variety but great views. If you want variety and don’t care about a view, try the Boon Fly Cafe. They serve these mini donuts that were really tasty. I tried more of a lunch option here getting the Boon Fly Chopped salad. Anytime I see buttermilk dressing and fried chicken on a salad, I am usually interested. If you are staying more than one day, I liked the variety of trying different places.
You will not regret staying at Carneros during your time in Napa Valley. Some of my favorite things were the spacious outdoor patio, heated bathroom floors, unlimited access to bottled water, wine machine in room, electric fireplace, and of course the beautiful property. They also have lovely restaurants on property, which is a wonderful convenience. Finally, don’t discount a stay in the early winter time. You may not be able to take advantage of the pools, but the vibrant colors from fall are gorgeous!