Sprawling over 250 acres and nestled in the hills above the Silverado Trail, the Meadowood Resort is Napa’s best address. Along with Auberge de Soleil, Meadowood pioneered the concept of luxury accommodations in California’s wine country, and set a standard that few other properties have been able to match.
Meadowood began as a country club prior to its purchase by Bill Harlan, owner of the legendary Harlan Estate. It is the headquarters of the Napa Valley Vintners Association, which holds its meetings there, and is the site of the annual Auction Napa Valley. It has retained the aura of a social club, and in fact still sells memberships to locals and tourists who wish to make the Resort their second home.
The accommodations consist of 85 cottages scattered in the woods, containing amenities such as wood-burning fireplaces and fostering the sense of staying in an elegant tree house. Private balconies allow guests to commune with nature and savor a sense of privacy. When they want to venture out of their room, the Resort offers tennis, two swimming pools, a fitness center, a croquet court and a full-service spa.
This year, Chef Christopher Kostow earned three Michelin stars for The Restaurant at Meadowood, joining Thomas Keller at the top of America’s culinary pyramid. He specializes in using local ingredients, including produce from the Resort’s on-site garden; his style has been described as “approachable, dynamic, evocative and playful.” For a dining experience which is less complex but still packed with flavor, The Grill serves three meals each day.
Wine takes center stage at Meadowood, as you might expect. Gilles de Chambure, a Master Sommelier who describes himself as Bill Harlan’s personal “wine coach,” is the Resort’s Director of Wine Education. Chambure presides over a series of tastings, programs and special events designed to enhance his guests’ knowledge and enjoyment. Gracious and engaging, he hosts a reception every evening in the main lodge. His goal is to create “a unique setting, where you can be comfortable and really talk about wine”—which turns out to be easy to do, relaxing in front of the fire and sipping a glass from one of Napa’s best wineries.