Celebrity Travel & StyleInterviewsJet Set PetLuxury VoyagesSuite Dreams - The World's Best SuitesTime TravelerTop 5Luxury Travel TrendsWeekend Away
Destination WeddingsFamily Vacation PackagesSpa & Wellness PackagesRomantic & Honeymoon PackagesGirls GetawaysSpring SpecialsWinter Getaway Packages
ArticlesThe Best Hotels, Resorts & Villas Around the World
Beach & Island Resorts5-Star City HotelsAdventure Lodges & Eco EscapesBoutique City HotelsCountry House HotelsRomantic RetreatsLuxury Guest RanchesLuxury Safari Camps & LodgesGolf Resorts & LodgesSpa Resorts & Wellness RetreatsSki Resorts & LodgesWine Country GetawaysLuxury Family Travel & ResortsNew HotelsHot Hotel Openings
Beach, Coastal & Island VillasCountry VillasGolf VillasSki VillasLuxury Villas & Vacation Rentals Around the WorldHotel Branded Residences
Luxury Cruises & YachtingLuxury Car RentalTravel Tips & AdviceAirline NewsUltimate TripsBusiness TravelFamily TravelLuxury SafarisPrivate Jet TravelRail Journeys: The World's Most Scenic Train Rides
RestaurantsBars & NightclubsAfternoon TeaCoffeeCooking ClassesCulinary TravelWine Travel
Spa & Wellness RetreatsYogaGolf GetawaysTennisSki Vacations
Gift GuideBeach and ResortwearBeauty and FragranceBooksFashionHome StyleLuggage and HandbagsLuxury Autos & Driving ExperiencesMen's StyleTravel EssentialsWatches & JewelryWine and SpiritsWorld's Most Expensive
Back to:  Home > News > Weekend Away

Weekend Away

Meadowood Reigns as the Napa Wine Region's Pinnacle of Luxury Lodging

January 29, 2014 - By Connie Dufner

Stroll the grounds of Napa Valley's Meadowood on a sunny morning, and you'd be hard-pressed to remember what year it is. A pristine green croquet lawn whispers of men and women in crisp whites, and it doesn't take too much imagination to envision the lords and ladies of Downton Abbey gamboling about.

Take another turn and the lush hillside beckons, with plenty of trails to climb and get a view for yourself of the premier property nestled on a private estate, with 85 cottages so comfortable, pretty and private that you'll forget you're a paying guest, and fancy yourself instead as a member of an exclusive house party.

Napa Valley's delights are well known–legendary food, luxurious lodging, beautiful weather–and everywhere, a lifestyle built on the abiding pleasures of the grape. Even when it's crowded, when State Route 29 slows to a crawl on sun-soaked days, there's a giddiness about the region that even the crustiest Valley denizen can't help but appreciate.

Meadowood Napa Valley

And if Napa Valley is an adult Disneyland, then Meadowood is its castle.

The property, which celebrates its 50th birthday this year, is located 2 miles east of St. Helena, and was founded as a private country club in 1964. Some 15 years later, H. William Harlan bought the property with the intention of building both a gathering place for locals and an international luxury destination. Over the years, it has undergone a series of renovations to its preeminence today as a stomping ground for celebrities and locals alike. It is home to one of only two Napa Valley restaurants with a 3-star Michelin rating, and is also the site of the renowned Auction Napa Valley. Today, Harlan owns two cult wineries nearby, Bond and Harlan Estate, plus the private Napa Valley Reserve wine club. It is a member of Relais & Chateau.

As easily as Meadowood lays claim to an upper crust lifestyle, so too does its demeanor suggest inclusiveness. Dress is refined casual. Common spaces invite guests to sit and sip, mingle and munch on afternoon treats. Spa guests sip their tea and await their treatments on a sunny porch, burrowed in robes and blankets on chilly mornings. With seven tennis courts, two heated swimming pools, 4.5 miles of hiking trails, bicycle rentals, a nine-hole walking golf course, two croquet lawns and an 11,000-square-foot fitness center and spa, Meadowood takes its resort identity seriously. After all, guests need their stamina for days of winery tours, shopping and the myriad of culinary delights of the valley.

It is also the kind of place where simply staying in the room is a vacation. Plush beds with Frette linens create a deliriously restful night's sleep. Light up the in-room fireplace in a snap by yourself or with assistance from the bell staff. Choose a bottle of wine from the bar stocked with local labels from some of the finest wineries just a short drive away. Marble-accented, handsome bath suites outfitted with soaking tubs, rain showerheads, heated floors, thirsty towels and Molton Brown amenities elevate relaxation to an art.

Meadowood Napa Valley

In-room dining is a 24/7 option, but do take advantage of Meadowood's two restaurants: The Grill and The Restaurant. The Grill is Meadowood's three-squares-a-day spot, and occupies the distinctively shaped hexagon visible from an aerial view, with a patio made for enjoying views of the croquet lawn and beyond. Dining is relaxed, served on sturdy English ceramic dishes. The food takes full advantage of famously fresh and flavorful California produce and the skill of chef Victoria Acosta. A holiday visit found us enjoying a four-course dinner paired with wines, including Maine lobster risotto and roasted rib eye–not too shabby for the hotel's more casual restaurant!

Once you book a stay, don't lose any time securing a spot at The Restaurant at Meadowood, the resort's fixed-price culinary adventure. The experience begins upon making a reservation, where you'll have a chance to discuss food preferences and dietary guidelines. Then a special menu will be created for your table. With a touch more akin to a wand than a human hand (this is Disneyland after all), Executive Chef Christopher Kostow, winner of the James Beard Foundation's Best Chef: West moniker, not only cooks delicious food, but also tells stories with it. Witness perfectly constructed morsels served on pillows or in the pages of a 1971 cookbook by Craig Claiborne. From inventive tastes such as grit chips with buttermilk powder, pretzel rounds filled with cheddar cheese and the “evolution of a grape” served on, what else, a grapevine, you won't forget a single bite. And for nights when you can't get a reservation, the next best thing is a seat in front of the fireplace in the bar, with a parade of petite snacks providing a sneak preview of the night's menu. Indeed, a cocktail hour of bites and drinks proved so fun and satisfying that we canceled our dinner reservations down Valley.

Meadowood Napa Valley

Nearly 15 years have passed between our first visit and this one, and the years have been more than good here. In addition to property improvements that over the years have yielded additional guestrooms, a second pool and a kitchen overhaul for the restaurant and catering facilities, the next frontier is the spa. The hotel has broken ground on a foundation for a new spa, and plans are under way. Until then, the current spa, which shares space with the fitness center overlooking the tennis courts, stays its course with invigorating massages, softening scrubs and glow-enhancing facials.

Whether your visit is a getaway weekend or several days more, there is plenty to do, even if that involves doing nothing at all. It's the kind of place where the magic lies simply in taking it all in. In a region of the country where it's not enough to be merely special, Meadowood delights even the most demanding of dreamers. Disney would be so proud.

Meadowood Napa Valley

Meadowood Napa Valley, 900 Meadowood Lane, St. Helena, CA 94574, 877.963.3646, meadowood.com

Located 65 miles from San Francisco, Meadowood is within two hours driving distance to five airports.


Featured Luxury Hotels





Kinglike Concierge & Luxury Villa Rentals - Mykonos, Greece
Kinglike is a luxury villa rentals and personal concierge services company based in Mykonos, Greece offering 150 villa rentals, concierge, event planning, luxury transfers, yacht charters, and more.



The Abaco Club on Winding Bay
A private, international sporting club and residential community situated on 453 acres in the Bahamas. The Abaco Club offers a world of relaxation with pristine white sand beaches, world-class Scottish styled links golf and a spectacular offering of other water, leisure and sporting activities.



Carneros Resort and Spa - Napa Valley, California
The resort features 86 charming private guest cottages and suites and nightly private luxury home rentals, each furnished with casual elegance and nestled in a lush garden courtyard with private deck.




Hotel del Coronado - San Diego
This majestic oceanfront beach resort engages the senses and its storied personality captivates the imagination of global guests and San Diego locals alike. Situated on America's most beloved beach, The Del is an iconic destination on every savvy traveler's must-see list.




The luxury lifestyle - how to spend it on autos, jets, yachts, real estate, travel, shopping, wellness and all the best in life.




Grand Hotel Portovenere, Italy
The charming village of Portovenere, which sits on the point connecting the renowned Cinque Terre and the inspiring Gulf of the Poets, is the perfect place to experience the serenity of Eastern Liguria.




Eden Roc at Cap Cana - Punta Cana
Offering exclusive luxury in the Dominican Republic, Eden Roc at Cap Cana, the only Relais & Chateaux hotel on the island, features 34 freestanding suites with private pools and stunning views.




Explore the world outdoors - discover the best travel adventures, glamping, activities, gear, apparel, vehicles, and more.




Primland - Meadows of Dan, VA
A pristine Blue Ridge Mountain resort offering 12,000 acres of space, sky and shifting moods. Primland is the ultimate getaway for world-class golf, refined dining, and outdoor activities in an environment of rare natural beauty.




The secret to vitality, health and happiness in the New Year! Lose weight, feel great like the A-List!



Private Villa Rentals - Caribbean & Mexico
In the realm of world-class luxury private villa rentals, we know that the exceptional experiences our guests deserve are about much more than just the villa itself.



Living the dream - the world's best yachts for sale and charter. See the latest trends in yacht design, tech, toys, destinations and lifestyle.



Mountain Shadows
The new resort features timeless modern design, 183 guestrooms, a restaurant with an exhibition kitchen, two pools, a high-tech fitness facility, a fully revamped short golf course, a golf grill and lounge as well as 37,500 square feet of indoor and outdoor event space.



Jade Mountain - St. Lucia
Jade Mountain is an exclusive luxury 'resort within a resort' with 24 suites at St. Lucia's famed Anse Chastanet Resort, in a truly romantic and magical setting poised high overlooking St. Lucia's Piton World Heritage site and the Caribbean Sea.



Hotel Valley Ho - Scottsdale, AZ
Escape to the sun in Scottsdale! A hideaway for celebrities, this Downtown Scottsdale resort features generously sized guest rooms with all-glass walls opening onto airy patios or balconies, many with views of Camelback Mountain.



Luxury travel and lifestyle - discover all the best destinations, hotels, resorts, nightlife, adventure, shopping, safaris, villas, spas and much more.



Anse Chastanet - St. Lucia
Set amid a lush 600-acre estate with two soft-sand beaches and breathtaking views of St. Lucia's iconic twin Pitons mountains, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.



Meadowood Napa Valley
One of the true luxury resorts in Napa Valley offering golf, tennis, croquet, hiking, swimming, fitness, spa, wine education and a Michelin three-star restaurant dining experience...all on a private 250-acre estate in the heart of the Napa Valley.




Exploring the World in Style - cruising, yachting, expeditions, family adventure, luxury, river cruising - all to the best destinations in the world.