Thinking about heading to Napa Valley but not sure what to do, see, eat or drink? Or if things are even open for business given the recent fires and pandemic? Click here for a three-day itinerary that explores the best that this area has to offer right now!
Below is the Where To Stay part of The Ultimate Guide To Navigating Napa Valley Now.
Napa Valley is quintessential California laid back luxury. From lush rolling hills covered in fruit-covered vines, countless wineries immaculately designed for luxe experiences, perfectly manicured floral gardens, overflowing culinary gardens, boutique shopping, and a drinking and dining scene to rival any, it’s a place that continues to be unbeatable for a quick getaway from the city.
Whether a staycation or a fully-blown vacation, time spent in Napa Valley is pretty much guaranteed to be relaxing and memorable. It’s an ideal place to pamper yourself with indulgent culinary experiences paired with world-class wines in a setting that exudes tranquility.
Westin Verasa Napa
This beautiful property is conveniently located down the road from Oxbow Public Market, just across the street from the famed Napa Wine Train. Even if you don’t have a car, you can easily walk over to the lively Downtown Napa Riverfront, a charming area lined with boutique shops; upscale eateries; bars serving local brews and award-winning wines; live music venues and the chic rooftop bar, Sky and Vine at the top of the Archer Hotel.
The Westin Verasa Napa is situated in a quiet, secluded area on the western bank of the Napa River and exudes luxury resort vibes. It offers 3 floors, 20 rooms and 160 suites of tastefully decorated, relaxing hotel accommodations with plush, comfortable furnishings. Located on the backside of the hotel, along the river, is their spacious heated outdoor saltwater pool and whirlpool area, surrounded by shaded cabanas.
You can’t go wrong with a pre-dinner dose of sunshine and relaxation at the pool area! Of course, if you prefer they also have a fitness center and a biking/ walking trail that’s easily accessible.
Another reason to choose the Westin? The incredible food. On property is Michelin Star-awarded Chef Ken Frank’s La Toque Restaurant and Bank Café and Bar, which serves fresh California fare and inventive cocktails.
La Toque Restaurant
For an unparalleled dining experience, reserve a table at the recently reopened La Toque Restaurant, Chef Ken Frank’s landmark establishment that has earned a Michelin Star every year they have been awarded in Wine Country. They currently have spacious outdoor seating to adhere to safety protocol, though it still feels just as elegant as its indoor seating area. Chef Frank showcases his expertise of modern French cuisine and his zeal for fine wines through his dishes. Innovative cuisine made with seasonal ingredients, artistic plating, attentive service and attention to detail make this a dining experience to remember.
Chef Frank’s tasting menu is a true culinary adventure filled with fun little surprises and treats for the open-minded diner.
Our experience started off with a couple of dainty amuse bouches and a loaf of incredibly crunchy, dense bread and creamy butter. I just love surprise treats throughout dinner, which this one was full of. We chose the Four Course Tasting Menu.
Our first course was a Hawaiian Big Eye Tuna with Asian Pear, Avocado and Dashi Gelee paired with a 2018 Riesling Kabinett Brauneberger Juffer, Fritz Haag, Mosel.
Our second course was a New England Sea Scallop a la plancha’ with Saskatchewan Chanterelles paired with a 2017 Chardonnay, Ramey, Russian River Valley.
Our third course was a Agnolotti dal Plin with Three Cheeses and Voatsiperifery Wild Pepper with a Fresh Summer Tomato Sauce paired with a 2009 Barolo, Marchesi di Barolo.
The last savory course was an impressive Honey Spice Glazed Devil’s Gulch Squab with Crispy Potato Tostones and Watermelon Rind paired with a 2010 Mad Hatter, Napa Valley Red Wine.
We split our three desserts which included:
Chocolate Concorde v3.1 2014 Ramos Pinto, Late Bottled Vintage Porto.
Russian Burnt Honey Cake with Tiger Striped Figs and Crème Fraiche Balsamic Sherbet 2001 Chateau Raymond-Lafon, Sauternes.
Strawberry and Lime Chiffon with Toasted Coconut Ice Cream paired with a Banfi Rosa Regale Brachetto 2018.
The meal is topped off with an incredible spread of chocolates titled “Textures of Chocolate.” The plate comes with a variety of chocolaty expressions of deliciousness ranging from a mini fudge popsicle to a caramel chocolate truffle. Each treat was an absolute delight!
Bank Café and Bar
Bank Café and Bar prides itself on the high quality, local ingredients that fill its menu. It features a breakfast menu offering whole, closed-herd, heirloom breed hogs from Llano Seco Ranch for their house-made breakfast sausage, chorizo, and braised pork belly; farm-fresh eggs from Taramasso Ranch on Old Sonoma Road and Zoe’s Applewood Smoked Bacon from Santa Rosa.
Breakfast highlights include the stone fruit cobbler pancake; Huevos Benedictios with poached Taramasso farm eggs, chorizo, corn muffin, chipotle hollandaise, breakfast potatoes; Maine lobster omelet melted leeks, fontina cheese, lobster hollandaise, lobster roe, potatoes; and the Foragers Mushroom Omelet with Sautéed Mushrooms, Bell Peppers, Fontina Cheese, Potatoes.
The all-day menu offers a variety of dishes that feature equally sustainable and local ingredients such as lamb loins, steaks, and poultry from Biagio Artisan Meats; freshly ground burgers from Five Dot Ranch beef; and seasonal produce from farms that include Bera Ranch in Winters, Tenbrink Farm in Suisun Valley.
Standouts include Grass-fed Beef Cheeseburger with Porcini Charred Onion Mayo; Agnolotti Pappa Pomodoro Fresh Heirloom Tomato Salsa, Toasted Pine Nuts, Fried Capers, Parmesan; and the Grilled New York Steak with Chimichurri, Crispy Potatoes and Roasted Squash.
Meritage Resort and Spa: Vista Collina Resort
If you’re looking for more pampering by way of spa treatments and massages, book a stay at Vista Collina which is home to Spa Terra. At Spa Terra you’re invited to de-stress with a treatment in its underground Estate Cave or opt for an outdoor or indoor massage. The spa also features yoga classes overlooking the resort vineyards. Other luxe amenities include an expansive pool (complete with poolside bar) and fitness center.
The resort itself is home to nine Napa Valley tasting rooms which feature the wine from Trinitas Cellars, Foley Food & Wine Society, GEN 7 Wines, Anarchist Wine Co, Napa Smith Brewery Cornerstone Cellars, Jayson by Pahlmeyer, Mi Sueño Winery, and Luna Vineyards.
Currently four of the nine are providing outdoor tastings. The culinary experiences don’t end there, however, as the resort also has an on-property Fivetown Grocery that sells farm-fresh, local ingredients and products from the five towns that make up Napa Valley.
The Fivetown Grocery to-go menu includes soups, stacked sandwiches, salads, coffee and tea and more. Guests are encouraged to create their own picnic and al fresco dining experience on their expansive 16,000-square-foot event lawn which has a resident food truck as well.
Olive and Hay
Also on the property is Olive & Hay, a farm-to-table restaurant that features an innovative Italian menu rooted in traditional Italian cooking, alongside an overflowing wine list. Standout dishes include pizzas like the Calabria with Calabrese sausage, buffalo milk mozzarella, honey, “solo di bruna” parmesan; pasta such as the tagliatelle basil pistachio pesto, market vegetable, semi-dried cherry tomatoes, “solo di bruna”; mains that include a catch of the day and pan-seared NY strip; and sharable plates such as the house-made meatballs.
Check out my Napa Valley Instagram highlights for real-time clips and pictures from this trip! If you have any questions or if I missed anything, let me know in the comments below!
Here are a couple of related Napa Valley articles I wrote for Forbes:
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