Luxury Explorer Review

5-Star Hotel Review

Auberge du Soleil

USA

Auberge du Soleil is a 5-star Napa Valley retreat with a Provençal twist

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Auberge du Soleil
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Auberge du Soleil

Location

In the heart of California’s Napa Valley wine country.

Travel Information

From San Francisco airport, it’s a two-hour drive north to the resort in Napa Valley (transfers are included).

Top Tips

Speak to the concierge who will help you create a bespoke wine tasting tour of some of the 450 local vineyards.

5-Star X-Factors

Did I mention the views?

Napa Valley's 5-star wine retreat

I’m driving through Napa Valley’s vineyards, bathed in a golden glow, to reach California wine country’s finest 5-star luxury hotel, Auberge du Soleil. And from the moment I enter reception, and am met with the epic panoramic view of the valley below and the nearby Mayacamas Mountains, I realise I’ve arrived somewhere very special indeed. Set within a sun-drenched, secluded olive grove and flanked by towering redwoods, I am yet to see a better hotel vista in all of wine country. 

With a welcome glass from their fine local selection in hand, I’m soon deciding when to have dinner at their Michelin-starred restaurant and what time to take a convertible AMG from their Mercedes-Benz fleet out for a free four-hour spin tomorrow. There’s an emphasis here on the personal touches - guests are asked a few questions before arrival so that the team can suggest tailored activities to match their needs. With my itinerary finalised, I can quickly see why Auberge du Soleil is also known as the adult-only getaway in Napa. 

As its name suggests, this 5-star hotel exudes the elegance and style of Provence - with a refreshing dose of Californian soul. Heavy emphasis is on wellness with a yoga pavilion and renowned spa dotted throughout Parc du Soleil, Auberge's 33 acres of terraced gardens, gentle streams and atmospheric woods. The surrounding calm is reflected in the style, comfort and soft palate of the interiors, with all rooms renovated recently by world renowned designer Suzanne Tucker. 

ROOM WITH A VIEW

The hotel's 50 rooms, suites and private maisons, all named after towns in the south of France, are dotted along the hillside and throughout the Parc, each offering total seclusion. Private terraces, super-king beds, open fires and lavish bathrooms come as standard, as does the complimentary mini-bar. I’m struck by the attention to detail and effortless elegance throughout, with the stunning view of Napa Valley through floor-to-ceiling windows completing the look perfectly. 

All rooms are outstanding, but for a treat I’d recommend booking one of the two new top tier private maisons, aptly named Cannes and Monaco. With two master bedrooms and two bathrooms each, along with a vast sitting room with dining and bar areas, the maisons are split across two floors and 1,800 square feet. Maison guests also receive a complimentary bottle of Dom Perignon, open bar, $200 spa credit, a private art tour and complimentary transfers for those arriving by private jet. 

GASTRONOMIC DELIGHTS

The Restaurant at Auberge Du Soleil predates the hotel and has been drawing in diners from far and wide ever since it opened it doors in 1981 as one of Napa’s first fine dining establishments. It has been awarded a Michelin star for thirteen straight years and it is easy to see why. Head Chef Robert Curry serves up seasonal, Mediterranean-influenced dishes using local ingredients in an ever changing menu. While there are some tables inside, the place to dine is on the sweeping panoramic terrace, with mesmerising uninterrupted views. As the sun sets behind the nearby hills and the colour of the valley gradually changes from orange to pink to purple, it is unashamedly romantic and makes for a truly memorable setting. 

For dinner, you can choose from either a three-, four- or six-course menu. If that decision is tricky, the award-winning wine list may prove harder. With over 15,000 different bottles to choose from, it’s so extensive that it has to be presented on an iPad. After a while deliberating, we opt for four courses with wine pairings recommended by the sommelier. California king salmon with a Napa Valley chardonnay and lemon-glazed pork belly with a German riesling. Heaven. 

A la carte breakfast is included in all rates and is also served in the restaurant with a creative menu including duck confit hash and Japanese and Chinese breakfast spreads. The adjoining Bistro and Bar, also with terrace views, offers more casual dining options for lunch and dinner, including oysters and local artisan cheese and charcuterie boards. 

DIFFICULT TO LEAVE

After an indulgent evening and decadent breakfast, we take a hike through the nature paths that wind their way around the grounds, taking a break in the sculpture garden that showcases over 100 pieces from mainly Californian artists. The quiet serenity of the walk gets the day off to a great start.

A tour of the wineries is clearly many visitors aim and many of Napa Valley's finest are on Auberge du Soleil's doorstep. Our chairman's favourite, Harlan Estate, is a few minutes away, and Rutherford Hill, Beringer, Tedeschi, Robert Mondavi and more are all in easy reach.

For those looking for more energetic affairs there is a tennis court and 24 hour fitness centre. But this is wine country, so I opt for a cabana by the swimming pool for the afternoon and order a bottle of rose from the poolside bar. Overlooking rolling hills and vineyards and surrounded by historic olive groves, it is picture perfect.

Even deeper relaxation and reflection is on offer at the guest only spa, with its zen design influences best seen in the Japanese yoga pavillion and inner courtyard with stone basin fountains aligned to nearby Mount Veeder. Three infinity pools, each heated to specific temperatures and all with spectacular views are the highlight of my signature purification ritual, which is the final act of my itinerary. It was so restorative that I couldn’t help but buy a few of the spa’s own line of products, made from local ingredients, on my way out.

It is fitting that I end my stay in this tranquil escape in an utter state of relaxation and calm. If you’re planning a trip to Wine Country then look no further than Auberge du Soleil but just make sure you extend your trip so you can take in everything this wonderful hotel has to offer, as you may never want to leave!

Holly Rubenstein
Holly Rubenstein


Luxury Explorer
Luxury Explorer