No longer do savvy travelers zoom past Napa on their way to other destinations. The City of Napa has arrived and continues to blossom and flourish with new reasons to stay, eat drink and play.
Downtown Napa offers all of the delights of the wine country experience without the traffic and crowds of its neighboring hamlets. It is now home to world-class dining, which includes Michelin-Starred restaurants, over twenty wine bars, Oxbow Market and the adjacent newly opened CIA-Culinary Institute of America Center at Copia—all within easy walking distance. These are just some of the compelling reasons to plan a trip here.
The City of Napa offers many luxury accommodations designed to suit every taste and preference. Here are three unique choices to consider. If you long for the atmosphere of the historic downtown sector, the Napa River Inn at the Napa Mill fits the bill. With numerous accolades to its credit, including the prestigious Forbes Travel Guide Four Star rating, this boutique hotel exudes the charm of its location and the luxury of its accommodations.
As you enter the intimate, inviting lobby of the Napa River Inn, you’ll be tempted to linger by the fireplace on the comfy sofas, enjoying a fresh brewed coffee with the latest newspapers and local publications to entice you. We were warmly greeted by staff, who, in many cases, are locals and have been with the privately-owned property for decades. Their pride in this lodging is seen and experienced. They know the area and will suggest some of their favorite haunts, if asked.
Although historic, the rooms at the Napa River Inn are spacious, comfortable and equipped with all the expected luxuries. Many have river views that harken back to the dynamic waterfront scene of yesteryear. Now, because of deliberate measures to contain the Napa River from overflowing its banks, the once threatening river now provides a scenic backdrop for the city.
Once settled in, do bicycle or stroll the river path and downtown streets, which are strewn with enticing restaurants, art galleries, wine bars and boutique shops. Sleep tight and dream of the Napa Inn’s gourmet breakfast prepared by the popular, adjacent bakery/café, Sweetie Pie. Indulge in a spa treatment (at Napa River Inn’s own spa) which will be custom designed to give you a wine country experience such as the Deep Tissue Massage with Passion Fruit Cabernet Body Rub.
Whatever your plans include, The Napa River Inn will welcome you home in style and comfort at the end of your day’s exploration.
Adjacent to the Napa River Inn and part of the historic Napa Mill is the award winning Celadon Restaurant. As you stroll down the meticulously tended garden path, you begin to anticipate a special dining experience. Entering the exterior outdoor seating area with the cozy fireplace further whets your appetite for what lies ahead. Federico Guillen, a seasoned Napa chef, is at the helm and making his mark with daily specials like “Shrimp Pappardelle Puttanesca.” while preserving some of the longtime favorites: including the “Flash-Fried Calamari,” “Sweet Coconut Fried Prawn Salad” and “Moroccan-Inspired Braised Lamb.” This is Franco-Asia-Napa cuisine at its best.
If you want to stay within walking distance of downtown and the Oxbow Market and also prefer a modern-luxury, full service hotel, The Westin Verasa Napa at your service. The contemporary feel of the spacious lobby is also echoed in the room décor—both using warm wood and stone—in soothing, natural tones. The hotel affords plenty of places to meet and relax. You’ll enjoy chatting with local winemakers at the complimentary “Wine Tasting” each evening in the lobby lounge.
The expansive outdoor patio of the Westin Verasa Napa beckons, with seating areas in proximity of the bocce court, saltwater pool and Napa River. The hotel’s indoor fireplace and outdoor fire pit are the perfect spots to enjoy conversation, cocktails and lite bites. The rooms are modern and spacious with plenty of natural light.
No excuses for not using the state of the art fitness center, as the hotel can lend you New Balance workout gear. Book an in-room massage from their partner, Gloria Curry Day Spa, to work out the kinks before dinner. Their expert masseuses are well versed in sports and deep tissue massage—with the convenience of in room-service being a stress reducing plus.
Dining options at the Westin Verasa Napa are readily available onsite—with the most notable being La Toque, a Michelin-Starred restaurant helmed by much acclaimed Chef Ken Frank. His technique is French, his influences are global, his guests are international. No need to go any further to savor an ultimate Napa feast. The Tasting Menus—with thoughtful, globally-sourced wine pairings—provide the perfect way to experience the Chef’s magic.
Highlights of our La Toque dinner included: “Angus Beef Tenderloin Carpaccio with Smoky Aioli and Grilled King Trumpets,” which was paired with a 2014 Le Rosé, Pinot Noir, Gustave Lorentz, Alsace; “Beer Battered Skrei with Bagna Cauda and Crisp Brassicas.” paired with a 2013 Carricante, Erusione 1614, Feudo di Mezzo, Sicily; “Prime New York Strip Loin with Fiscalini Cheddar Pearl Tapioca and Rutherford Red Wine Sauce,” paired with 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon, Parador, Hossfeld Vineyard, Napa Valley.
As a California pioneer in the insistence of local, seasonal ingredients, Chef Ken Frank and his team will ensure a stellar dining experience in an atmospheric setting where you can still comfortably converse with your fellow diners.
Just across the street from the Westin Verasa Napa is the Napa Valley Wine Train. The restored Pullman cars date back from as far as 1915 and provide an ideal way to tour the vineyards, while leaving the driving to the conductor.
The Napa Valley Wine Train offers several packages including some in the Vista Dome–with stops at premier wineries such as Charles Krug and Raymond. Besides the wine and the breathtaking scenery, Executive Chef Kelly Macdonald’s multicourse menu makes for a thoroughly delightful day in the valley.
If a full service resort surrounded by vineyards, yet just a five-minute drive from town, sounds appealing, The Silverado Resort and Spa, Napa awaits you. This spacious property has two PGA 18-hole golf courses, helmed by the famous golf star, Johnny Miller.
The Resort also boasts a separate, luxurious fitness and spa facility, tennis, hiking and walking proximity to the vineyards surrounding the Mansion Lobby and its guest accommodations. The property is dotted with cottage units that are inviting, comfortable and fully equipped for an extended stay. Many have a private patio, fireplace, complementary Wi-Fi, fully-fitted kitchens and access to the host of resort amenities. There are several bars, dining outlets, and a market and bakery all in easy walking distance of your lodging.
The Spa at Silverado is a separate facility dedicated to your health, wellness, rejuvenation and relaxation. As you approach the entry, you will be impressed by its architectural beauty, size, breadth of offerings and welcoming vibe. Whatever service you book, plan to spend enough time to enjoy the amenities including fitness center, pool, sauna, steam, hydrotherapy, and café. This could easily turn into a day of indulgent wellness. We were treated to a Silverado massage that soothed and tamed every last stressed muscle in our bodies. What a way to start or end the weekend!
If you feel like exploring the downtown area, plan to sip and sup at 1313 Main-Restaurant/Wine Bar. This classy, casual wine bar/eatery is full of surprises. The wine list is extensive, global, and approachable—at all price points. The proprietor, Al Jabarin and his sommelier, Tom Sebert, deliberately set the prices to encourage their guests to try something new or splurge on a well-known brand, without breaking the bank.
The real surprise at 1313 Main-Restaurant/Wine Bar is the quality of the food on offer. As one of our neighboring diners, a worldly couple from the UK commented, “This meal rivals many Michelin-Starred dinners we’ve experienced.” We concurred. Chef Adam Ross composes gorgeous plates of delectable and downright decadent dishes. Although a la carte is on offer, the Tasting Menu—paired with generous pours of world class wines—is the way to go.
Some highlights of 1313 Main-Restaurant/Wine Bar’s Tasting Menu include: “Perigord Truffle Poached Egg Potato Moussaline, Pickled Red Onion,” paired with a 2014 Chateau Pradeaux Cinsault & Mourvedre Rose Bandol, France; “Seared Dayboat Scallop, Naval Orange, Broccoli Romanesco, Tasmanian Pepper,” paired with a 2014 Yves Cuilleron “la vignes d’a cote”, Viognier, Rhone Valley, France; “Prime Beef Bavette, Smoked Marble Potatoes, Green Garlic Chimichurri, Spring Peas” paired with a 2008 Mascot Proprietary Red Napa Valley, California.
1313 Main-Restaurant/Wine Bar’s menu choices and ingredients change with the season and are largely sourced from their own gardens. Put this deceptively casual dining spot high on your radar.
On your way in or out of Napa, be sure to stop by the Jamieson Ranch Vineyards for their unique version of a wine and food pairing. You will understand how both wine and food benefit from the thoughtful, researched balance that is explained and experienced during the session. From Thursday through Sunday, Wine Educator, Lucinda Wolf and Chef Scott Ekstrom have designed educational tastings that will enlighten and enrich your wine country visit. Be sure to book in advance so they are prepared for your dietary preferences. You can contact Lucinda Wolf at: email@example.com.
No doubt, the City of Napa has arrived. You can visit it and stay at upscale accommodations like the charming Napa River Inn, the hip The Westin Verasa Napa, and the relaxing Silverado Resort and Spa.
You can dine at gourmet restaurants like the Franco-Asian and Napa Valley inspired Celadon Restaurant, or the Michelin-Starred La Toque, with famed Chef Ken Frank, or the exciting downtown wine bistro and gourmet restaurant, 1313 Main-Restaurant/Wine Bar.
You can also try the food on the upscale Napa Valley Wine Train, as you watch Napa go by, or experience the thoughtful food and wine pairing at Jamieson Ranch Vineyards.
We’ve just scratched the surface of hip, happening Napa. Make it your next wine country getaway.