Charming Yountville

Overview of the area…

Napa Valley is surely a premier travel destination for people around the world.  With it’s picturesque rolling hills adorned with grape vines, more than 300 wineries of every stature for every pallete, breathtaking vistas at every turn and world renowned cullinary options, it is surely a little slice of heaven on earth.  Located in the heart of Napa Valley, Yountville is a walking town, an epicurean dream, that brings the valley’s many unique adventures to your doorstep.  This tiny town is a wine and food mecca all it’s own, boasting widely acclaimed chef’s and restaurants in just a few block radius.  Apart from eating and drinking, Yountville is the perfect destination for outdoors enthusiasts as well, with many options for biking, hiking, hot air ballooning, art gallery visiting, boutique shopping and spa-going.  Yountville is, in my opinion, the perfect spot to stay when visiting Napa, as the rest of the valley is easily accessible and begging to be explored!
Take a few minutes to check out this great video highlighting the special qualities of Yountville.

Where we stayed…

The Vintage Inn is an intimate yet luxurious French country-style retreat nestled among the rolling vineyards of Napa Valley.  The 80 guestrooms, cottages and surrounding luxurious gardens are designed with a blend of 19th century romance and simple wine country elegance. This retreat is a mere 70 miles from the San Francisco airport, yet it feels that you are isolated in a quiet paradise, a million miles away from the bustling city.

When we arrived in our spacious and airy room on the second floor, we were impressed with the huge balcony and bottle of chardonnay just calling our names.  We couldn’t wait to open the bottle and relax while looking at the beautiful view of the hills and vines of Yountville.
The crowing jewel of the hotel experience though, had to be the indulgence of Spa Villagio.  This place takes the cake as far as spa experiences go, hands down.  Just a short walk up the street from Vintage Inn, the stunning metal doors open into a magnificent interior space.  The separate men’s and women’s spas are elegantly appointed with a lemongrass steam room, sauna, outdoor spa tub, vichy showers, magnificent six-jet steam showers, indulgent spa products, fireplaces and numerous refreshments.  The spa menu offers many treatments that integrate indigenous elements to Napa Valley with Mediterranean influences.  Upon waking up after our first night, I had the pleasure of getting the Monticelli Mud body treatment.  It was the most fantastic treatment I have ever experienced and was instantly relaxed…this spa experience comes with my highest recommenndation!  The best part was, that as guests of The Vintage Inn, we could come and go from the spa to our hearts content during our stay!

the lovely sprawling gardens through the property

The food…

Within a leisurely saunter of our room we had access to more world class and Michelin stars per capita than any place in the world.  Needless to say, we ate some truely amazing food (two of the restaurants will be getting their own dedicated posts).
The Vintage Inn offers a sumptuous champagne breakfast in the morning (included in the nightly rate) which boasts many offerings such as amazing banana bread pudding with creme anglaise, omlettes made-to-order, port poached pears and other delectable fresh fruit, a variety of delicious bread and pastry options, make your own mimosa and bloody mary stations, and the list just goes on!  It was a fantastic way to start each day.  Also, the hotel offers afternoon tea in the same area with a selection of scones, sandwiches and cookies to accompany your tea.
We devoured decadent dinners at Bottega (dedicated post to come later) and Bouchon.  The latter, Thomas Keller’s French bistro, offers a more casual option than his pricier and more sophisticated French Laundry right next door.  It had a lively atmosphere and fantastic service.  The freshly baked bread was fantastic.  Matt had oysters and duck and I had the most incredible Croque Madame on the planet.  This sandwich was massive, on heavenly 1/2 inch slices of brioche bread, delicious ham and cheese and a yummy fried egg with mornay sauce…oh and those fries, the French really know their fries, that is for sure.  The marquise au chocolat and profiteroles we had for dessert weren’t too shabby either.  All in all, a pretty fabulous French experience!  Oh, and I mustn’t forget to share how absolutely necessary it is for you to stop by Bouchon’s bakery for some absolutely astounding French pastries.  The macaroons and pain au chocolat were to die for….they were also offering foie gras treats for any four-legged friends with sophisticated palettes as well!  It took everything in me not to bring some home for my Molly girl!

delicious French decadence is made within those walls

One night we ventured out of Yountville north on 29 to St. Helena for dinner at Terra.  This intricate fusion of Italian and Asian flavors made for quite an innovative and sophisticated menu.  We chose four courses from the prix fixe menu and indulged in many delicious dishes.  Some of the choices we particularly enjoyed were: the tuna tartare, asparagus salad, black cod with shrimp dumplings, risotto with radicchio and blue cheese.  It wasn’t the most fantastic ambiance, but it was quaint and romantic.  If you are intrigued by the intricate flavors on the menu, I would highly suggest dining with Terra, it was a unique and delicious dining experience for us.

We enjoyed leisurely lunches at Bistro Jeanty and Redd (dedicated post to come later).  Bistro Jeanty offered delicious French fare with a cheery and authentic environment, it felt almost as if we were at a little cafe in Paris.  Matt had an incredible salad with the most amazing bacon I’ve ever tasted, a soft boiled egg and a delectable dressing.  I had one of the day’s specials: a roasted leek tart, which was lovely.  I can’t believe I didn’t write down everything that was in it…but let’s be serious, I was too excited to eat every last bit of it, because it was delish.  In the future I would love to go back for dinner to try more of chef Philippe Jeanty’s offerings!

doesn't it just look like Paris??

The Wine…well you will just have to hold your pants on until tomorrow for that post!

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One Comment

  1. judi
    Posted April 29, 2011 at 9:34 am | Permalink

    beautiful photos. can’t wait to talk your mom into going there soon.
    love you both

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