One of the most charming towns in the Napa Valley, Yountville is named for George Calvert Yount who was the first to plant grapes in the valley. There’s just one main street, and it’s only about six blocks long. But there are several wonderful Yountville hotels. And some of the finest restaurants in America are located here. In fact, there are four Michelin-starred restaurants in this town of 3,000 people.
Uber-chef Thomas Keller’s flagship, The French Laundry, is here. As are his Bouchon and Ad Hoc. You’ll need to reserve months in advance to eat at the former, but depending on when you visit, you may be able to nab a table without a reservation and Bouchon or Ad Hoc. If you’re in town on Monday, don’t miss the fried chicken at Ad Hoc.
Keller’s not the only celebrity chef in town. Michael Chiarello of Napa Style fame opened Bottega last year. It features dishes from all over Italy. Bistro Jeanty and Redd are also great choices.
The best Yountville wineries.
Located right off the St. Helena Highway, Domaine Chandon was the first joint venture between a French and California winery. If you’ve never seen how sparkling wine is made, it’s worth taking the tour. The grounds here are lovely, so be sure to leave time for a stroll through the gardens. And there are beautiful views from the restaurant and patio.
Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars gained notoriety in 1976 when their wine bested the French in the 1976 blind taste test reenacted in the movie Bottle Shock. Some of the tastiest Chardonnays in California come from Stag’s Leap.
The best hotels in Yountville.
Opened in 2009, Bardessono is the newest Yountville hotel — and the greenest. If you’re looking for a romantic, cozy spot with chintz and antiques, this isn’t the place. The minimalist, modern aesthetic isn‘t for everyone. But state-of-the-art amenities like 40” LCD TVs, media hubs, and free high-speed Internet keep travelers cool and connected. In-room spa services are a real plus. And Bardessono’s environmental commitment is impressive. Rooms and water are heated and cooled with an underground, geothermal system. Solar panels supply much of the hotel’s energy needs. And the woodwork in the rooms and common areas was milled from salvaged trees. Bardessono has received several awards including Environmental Design’s Platinum Certification.
Right on Washington Street, the Vintage Inn is a great choice for a romantic weekend in the Napa Valley. It‘s one of the most refined hotels in Yountville and it’s mere steps from the best restaurants in town. The two-story buildings are thoughtfully arranged on two acres of beautiful gardens and plantings. Some of the rooms have balconies overlooking the vineyards. Others have small, private patios. Bathrooms are big and luxurious, and each room has a fireplace. The pool is one of the most attractive in Yountville. And there’s a full-service spa. A bottle of local wine and a breakfast buffet are included.
Villagio Inn and Spa is a sister property to the Vintage Inn. Both are AAA Four-Diamond award winners. The 112 rooms are also in two-story buildings spread out on nicely landscaped grounds. Rooms have patios or balconies, fireplaces, and flat-screen TVs. The big draw here is the 13,000-square-foot luxury spa that opened in 2008. Surrounded by fountains and reflecting pools, the spa has 16 treatment rooms and 5 spa suites with soaking tubs, fireplaces, day beds, and private terraces. Also on the property is V Marketplace where there are shops, including Napa Style, and restaurants.
A charming little bed and breakfast, Maison Fleurie offers delightful accommodations and great value for money in Yountville. A member of the Four Sisters lodging group, Maison Fleurie has 13 rooms decorated in the French country style. Rooms in the Bakery Building have fireplaces and a deck. Rooms in the Carriage House have similar amenities, but are slightly less expensive. Rooms in the main house are more modest, but very reasonably priced. There’s a nice pool and sun deck to enjoy when the weather’s fine. And the location is a five-minute stroll from any of Yountville’s fabulous restaurants. The included gourmet breakfast, afternoon wine and cheese, and after-dinner sherry really stretch your travel dollars.