Helios Room. The Ink House
Great things come in small packages. No truer is this saying than when it refers to Napa Valley, California’s boutique inns. These gem-like properties welcome guests with unmatched graciousness and special touches that make each unique.
To enjoy the hospitality of these special inns is to experience the casual sophistication of the wine country lifestyle in all of its authentic glory—unhurried, indulgent and refined.
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Poetry Inn Robert Frost Suite. Photo by Michael Hospelt
Few Napa Valley, California hotels match the gracious hospitality offered at Poetry Inn, where an intuitive staff anticipate your every desire. Proprietor Cliff Lede’s love of verse is displayed in the inn’s five sumptuous and spacious suites, each themed for ICONIC poets, and each recently reimagined by St. Helena-based Erin Martin Design.
The texturally and visually spectacular results include casually draped luxe cashmere throws, artworks from Lede’s personal collection and hand painted walls by artist Michael Duté; the Robert Frost suite, for instance, features a mural of the woods from The Road not Taken. Every thoughtful surprise in this boutique inn proves a feast for the senses, such as fresh cut flowers and the wafting scent of the inn’s bespoke candle, set aflame prior to your arrival. But it’s the breathtaking views to which your eye is drawn.
Every room features a furnished patio with a westward vista overlooking the valley floor 500 feet below; in the distance are Lede’s vineyards, from which he crafts his award-winning Cliff Lede wines, several varieties of which are offered by the glass throughout your stay.
Additional amenities include complimentary snacks and aperitifs, and an indulgent three course breakfast that commences with pastry from nearby Bouchon Bakery. Executive Chef Lynn Vita changes her delectable selections daily, making a multi-night stay a must in order to sample each and every scrumptious offering.
The Cedar Room. Milliken Creek
MILLIKEN CREEK INN
Tucked along the banks of the Napa River, Milliken Creek Inn is a hidden gem. Part of the Four Sisters Inns collection of 17 California properties, this magical spot at the base of the Silverado Trail features 11 posh rooms set amongst winding garden paths and expansive, manicured grounds ideal for afternoon croquet and other lawn games. Many of the rooms feature tree branch-framed river views, private decks or patios, fireplaces and oversized soaking tubs.
Enjoy complimentary evening wine, cheese and cookie hour, as well as s’mores packs, and a decadent, made-to-order breakfast. Evening turn down service is a Milliken must. Do not—I repeat—do not deny yourself this indulgent amenity. Flickering candles, low lighting and soft music set a dreamy atmosphere, well enjoyed whether you’re traveling solo, with girlfriends, or with a partner.
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The Francis House
THE FRANCIS HOUSE
Owners Rich and Dina Dwyer utilized their collective years of design and real estate development expertise to create their luxurious boutique inn. A wealth of local knowledge, the Dwyers take great pleasure in helping plan itineraries and outings for their guests. Their historic Francis House—named for original owner James H. Francis—artfully marries its building’s past with modern comforts in five thoughtfully appointed rooms. Casper beds feature premium linens. Bathrooms feature Carrara marble.
A spacious backyard garden with gravel paths, limestone fountains, flowering jasmine and citrus trees frames the heated swimming pool, next to which are outdoor showers, an infrared sauna, a salt room and a tennis court. Varied objects d’art punctuate the stylish living room. If you tire of the sumptuous surroundings, simply walk two blocks for boutique shopping, cafes and restaurants, and, of course, the ICONIC mud baths for which Calistoga is most well-known.
Front Room, The Ink House
THE INK HOUSE
On the National Register of Historic Places, The Ink House was built in 1885 by Napa Valley, California pioneer Theron Ink as a single-family home. The fully restored property now serves as a modern, sophisticated, boutique inn owned and operated by the charismatic Jean-Charles Boisset and his wife Gina Gallo-Boisset. The duo has added personal touches that highlight first-class amenities and experiences.
An estate manager is available, and able, to make Napa Valley, California travel dreams come true by arranging bespoke wine tastings, exquisite meals prepared by a private chef, and luxurious excursions. Enjoy private yoga sessions and guided croquet and bocce ball instruction. Fly across the valley in a hot air balloon, or cycle across country roads.
Those interested in learning a new craft can make their own charcuterie board with an award-winning cheesemaker, try their hand at chocolate truffle making with an innovative chocolatier, or unleash their inner artist with a painting class. Four sumptuously appointed suites provide the perfect retreat after a day of activity.
Brannan Cottage Inn
BRANNAN COTTAGE INN
More than an irresistible place to stay within Napa Valley, California, Brannan Cottage Inn is living history. In 1862, Calistoga’s visionary founder Sam Brannan opened this hot springs destination as a getaway spot for well-to-do San Franciscans. Through the years, it’s been a private home, a rooming house, and a National Register of Historic Places landmark. Today, its charming six rooms are surrounded by an embarrassment of Calistoga riches, all within walking distance.
Known and loved for its modern comforts, the boutique Inn boasts award-winning hospitality and an appealing mix of architectural treasure and modern swag. A bucolic patio garden welcomes those seeking a bit of morning sunshine, and in the afternoon, fills with those willing to share their wine tasting haul with other guests. A fleet of complimentary cruiser bikes stands at the ready, and on-site Sam’s General Store supplies tasty offerings to keep wine country explorers nourished and satiated.
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