San Francisco

Napa: A Relaxing Weekend At The Carneros Inn

by editor on February 21, 2011

Carneros Inn, Napa

Warm golden sunshine on my face, the fragrant citrusy perfume of blood orange soap, water running over driftwood smooth decking underfoot, and a cheeky little finch perched atop the corrugated iron walls singing along. When I think of Napa Valley I should be longing for wine, artisan picnics and Michelin stars. But I secretly dream about the outdoor showers in the cottages at The Carneros Inn.

Indoor-outdoor shower at the Carneros Inn

If you’re in need of regeneration, a breather, a break from the stress and hectic nature of modern life – this barn-chic resort set amid impossibly pretty gardens and overlooking rolling hills and vineyards is where you will find it. Refreshingly free of the chintzy faux-Tuscan styling that dominates this valley, the Carneros Inn will become your “happy place” where your mind wanders long after you’ve re-entered real life.

Looking out over green fields at The Carneros Inn in Napa

Wake up in your airy private cottage and step into that glorious indoor/outdoor shower, before taking a stroll through the lavender lined pathways for a dip in one of two serene pools. After an open-air massage at the hilltop spa, do breakfast at the “Little Red Barn” aka The Boonfly Cafe (don’t miss the homemade donuts and the “Green Eggs and Ham”), then spend the afternoon tasting local wines during a spirited game of bocce ball on their front lawn.

Homemade donuts at the Boonfly Cafe

With three restaurants, two pools, a boutique, and a gourmet treat-laden General Store for impromptu picnics, you barely need to leave the Carneros Inn all weekend. If you do decide to venture out, avoid the crowds and visit the intriguing Jarvis Winery just off the Silverado Trail. Housed in a remarkable 45,000 sq ft man-made cave complete with a dramatic ballroom, the winery is known for its estate cabernets, cabernet francs and Lake William bordeaux blend although we rather like their black and fruity petit verdot which is more commonly a blending varietal.

Jarvis Winery Napa

Stop in at Ad Hoc in Yountville for dinner. The fixed menu, which changes nightly, offers comfort food Napa-style and relieves you of any strenuous decision making over tasting menus, pairing menus and wine lists. Just sit back, relax, and enjoy a dinner prepared with freshly dug produce from The French Laundry kitchen garden – and some legendary sous-vide fried chicken if you hit on the right night!

Thomas Keller's AdHoc Restaurant in Yountville

Head back to the Inn and enjoy a post dinner drink on your heated private patio, or lounge by the dramatic fireplace coffee table in the outdoor bar at FARM restaurant. Repeat this day as necessary, until all your stress has melted away!

FARM at the Carneros Inn at Night

The Carneros Inn is located an hour North of San Francisco just off Highway 12/121 (Carneros Highway) in Napa, CA.

Image Credits: Plumpjack Group, Thomas Keller Restaurants, Edible Society