In 1836, Yountville was part of a land grant that transferred territory from Mexico to a man named George Yount. Yount, the first white settler in the Napa Valley (and first to plant grapes), originally named the town Sebastopol, even though another town of the same name existed close by. It was renamed Yountville in Yount’s honor in 1867, two years after he died.
Today, this small enclave is well known for restaurants, shops, art galleries, wineries and its picturesque location. Just over an hour from San Francisco, Yountville is ideal for your next weekend getaway.
In an area less than two square miles, Yountville offers an interesting selection of places to stay. Most everything is within walking distance.
Situated on a 23-acre estate, the Villagio Inn & Spa is a serene escape from the rigors of a 24-7 life. With an Italian influence, the Inn’s two-story stucco-buildings with red tiled roofs are nestled in lush gardens and along pathways lined with fountains and flowing water. The large rooms are tastefully decorated and have fireplaces, views of the verdant grounds, private patios and espresso machines. The separate double sinks and shower/whirlpool bath areas provide ample space.
If your focus is environmental, then it’s Bardessono. This upscale boutique hotel maintain its LEED Platinum certification through its use of local materials, artisans and purveyors – materials are reclaimed; art is repurposed; spa and restaurant products are from organic or sustainable producers (including their own garden) and solar panels reduce energy reliance. Fashionable rooms offer sleek furnishings, private patios, gas fireplaces, large bathrooms with room for spa tables and organic linens and robes.
Another option is the recently renamed North Block. The interior courtyard, with plantings, fountain, relaxed seating and fireplace, is surrounded by the stone architecture and arched windows of the hotel. The comfortable rooms boast huge bathrooms, luxe furnishings and linens, high tech gadgets and connections and some have their own fireplace.
Everyone knows the restaurant scene in Yountville is intense. During this visit, try casual and easy and taste some scrumptious food.
When it’s sunny and warm at The Tasting Lounge at Domaine Chandon, head straight for the terrace to indulge in bubbles with appetizers from étoile, the Michelin-starred restaurant. Start with oysters and a yuzu mignonette. Find favorite sparkling wines listed in Play (see Part 2 of this story), but if you can’t decide, the menu suggests pairings (includes still wines, too). The Scottish salmon (smoked and rillette) is served with a caper-shallot tapenade and fennel slaw. The Chef’s selection of charcuterie included duck terrine and rabbit roulade, among others, accompanied by pickled vegetables.
Dinner at Redd Wood is a delicious experience. Choose a cozy seat inside by the windows or outside on the patio. In either spot, you’ll appreciate the clean flavors of the shaved summer vegetable salad and the ricotta and white corn pizza. The plum agrodolce served on the quail and creamy polenta dish is outstanding. Don’t let the decadence of the chocolate caramel tart with sea salt scare you – it’s a short walk to the hotel.
Of the three hotels, only Villagio includes breakfast – and it’s amazing. Sip a mimosa as you choose from the hearty buffet – hot entrées, cereals, fruits, juices, pastries and more. There’s even a separate omelet station. When you first arrive at the hotel, find a complimentary bottle of wine. And in the afternoon, there’s tea and coffee with sweet and savory options in the lobby.
PATTY BURNESS can be found on Twitter at @pattygb