North Block Hotel
Charming, $$$ (From $400)
Situated in the heart of wine country’s most celebrated epicurean locale, North Block Hotel unites great food, wine, and nature in a relaxed setting. Intimate in size, twenty Mediterranean-inspired guest rooms face a lush courtyard, with cozy fireplaces and private balconies overlooking the rolling vineyards of California's most celebrated (and expensive) fruit. Cult-favorite vineyards and Thomas Keller's famed restaurant trio — The French Laundry, Bouchon Bistro, and Ad Hoc — are within a short walk or bike ride from the hotel, as are local boutiques to shop between tastings. Once you've reached your indulgence limit, the hotel's spa offers relaxing and detoxifying massages with organic and locally-sourced ingredients from the valley. A new hotel restaurant is slated to open later this year. Given its well-appointed neighbors, it will certainly uncork something special.
At a Glance
The Vibe: Romantic California charm.
Standout Detail: The hotel's relaxed atmosphere makes it easy to lose track of time.
This Place Is Perfect For: Well-heeled wine enthusiasts, foodies, and couples who want a luxurious getaway and a small-town vibe.
Rooms: Twenty guest rooms are situated among a beautiful two-level Tuscan courtyard with a large fountain, rose gardens, and outdoor seating. If you find the beds, which are dressed with Egyptian cotton linens, are too comfortable to leave behind, you'll be glad to hear they're available for purchase. Bathrooms are spacious, with heated floors, large soaking tubs, and separate rain showers. Premium and Superior rooms have fireplaces and large French doors that open onto a private patio or upstairs terraces with views of the nearby mountains. Come night fall, a fireplace and heat lamps keep the courtyard toasty, making it a perfect spot to finish the bottle of cabernet you didn't finish at dinner. (Or a nightcap.) Probably because wine hangovers are inevitable in wine country, coffee and pastries are available for delivery each morning from nearby Bouchon Bakery.
On Site: The hotel's small number of guest rooms means there's always a seat at the pool, which is surrounded by lounge chairs and a nearby hot tub. Treatments at the tranquil Francis & Alexander wine-inspired spa make the most of local products from the valley. The Un-Corked, for example, includes exfoliation with grape seeds and reflexology foot massage with wine corks. The spa is open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. to allow for guests to squeeze in appointments between a busy schedule of wine tasting. The hotel has a small fitness center, and complimentary electric bicycles are available to explore Yountville.
Food + Drink: After nine years, Redd Wood, the hotel restaurant helmed by local chef Richard Reddington, closed its doors. It's a loss for the Napa Valley community who enjoyed the restaurant's casual bistro-style menu of wood-fired pizzas, roasted meats, and locally-sourced veggie dishes. The hotel plans to introduce a new dining concept for guests later this year with more updates to come. Since Yountville is a small walkable town, you won't have trouble finding a great spot for meals, and the hotel staff is available to assist with reservations.
What to Do Nearby
If you're on a quest for Michelin stars, Yountville shines bright — but you'll need to reserve well in advance if The French Laundry is on your bucket list. For the spontaneous types (and late planners), no reservations are required to wander the restaurant's culinary gardens across the street. Other great eateries in town include Bouchon Bistro, Perry Lang's for steak, chef Michael Chiarello's Coqueta for Spanish tapas, and Bottega for Italian. La Calenda is the spot for Mexican. Mini Model is the outpost of Napa's Model Bakery that has their famous English muffins. Do yourself a favor and pick up a few dozen to transport home and freeze.
When in Napa Valley, it's best to hire a driver for the day to hit the nearby tasting rooms: Round Pond, Priest Ranch Winery, Jessup Cellars, Domaine Chandon, Hope & Grace Wines, to name a few. Otherwise, you can take to the skies in a hot-air balloon ride, slowly drifting above Napa's most famous wineries with views of the snow-capped Sierra Nevada mountains on a clear day.