In the heart of California’s wine country lies the Provençale-inspired adult-getaway Auberge du Soleil, the dream of French restaurateur, Claude Rouas and his business partner, Bob Harmon.
Ideally placed to experience the best of the Napa Valley with breath-taking views of the valley below, this 13.35-hectare (33 acres) property features 50 guestrooms and suites. These are housed in maisons named for towns in the South of France, evoking the almost immediately recognisable style of Provence with the best of indoor/outdoor living.
The name Auberge du Soleil is synonymous to many as the Valley’s first fine dining establishment, maintaining its legacy as a culinary destination for over forty years. Besides the Michelin-starred The Restaurant, there are two other eateries on site – casual fare in the Bistro & Bar and poolside dining at La Plage. The Spa - reserved exclusively for guests - offers a tranquil retreat for reflection, relaxation, and restoration. Fitness facilities include an indoor/outdoor Fitness Centre, a resort pool and temperate spa soaking pools, Hammam steam rooms, a tennis court and complimentary onsite fitness classes and nature walks on property. The hotel also offers a sculpture garden.
Nestled within a terraced, secluded, sun-kissed hillside – filled with heritage olive and oak trees - Auberge du Soleil is located in the town of Rutherford in Northern California. Just off the Silverado Trail, Rutherford was founded on the nearly 4,856 hectares Mexican land grant, Rancho Caymus, which was deeded to early settler George C Yount in 1838. Yount gave a small portion of the grant as a wedding present to his granddaughter, Elizabeth, when she married Thomas Rutherford in 1864, and the family name stuck. The Rutherfords planted vineyards and started to produce wine in the late 1800s.
The Robert Mondavi Winery is situated between Rutherford and neighbouring Oakville with other notable wineries including Beaulieu Vineyard, Grgich Hills Estate, St Supéry Estate Vineyards & Winery, Elizabeth Spencer and Inglenook. Inglenook is owned by film director Francis Ford Coppola and his wife, bought, it is said, from profits from The Godfather. To the north, St Helena is about a ten-minute drive with downtown Napa around 27 kilometres to the south.
Rutherford is 124 kilometres - an hour and three-quarters drive from San Francisco International Airport (SFO), 109 kilometres - a 90 minute drive from Oakland International Airport (OAK), 51 kilometres and a 50 minute drive from Sonoma County Airport (STS) and 40 kilometres from Napa Jet Center for private jet transfers. The hotel can arrange transfers to the property if required but for the every day stay, a car is really necessary as there is limited public transport.
The hotel offers both valet and self-parking available free of charge with complimentary Mercedes-Benz use on a first come, first served basis.
The spacious accommodation is tucked away on a sunlit hillside overlooking renowned vineyards on the valley floor with the Mayacamas Mountains to the west. With mesmerising views out over the Napa Valley and a welcome glass of wine on check in, there are 27 guestrooms, 19 one-bedroom suites and two two-bedroom private maisons. Predominantly an adults-only getaway, guests sixteen years and over are welcome.
With a Mediterranean look and feel, the guest accommodation is furnished with neutral tones of ivory, ochre and pale cocoa, feeling airy and spacious with just a touch of Californian chic. There are gas fireplaces, high ceilings with beamed accents, and French doors out to private terraces or balconies. Standard amenities include large, flat-screen televisions with DVD players, Bose sound systems and Nespresso coffee makers. Bathrooms offer oversized deep soaking tubs and marble showers and vanities with toiletries including candles, bubble bath and other treats from the hotel’s spa. Guests are presented with a bottle of wine and fresh fruit on arrival with complimentary snacks and beverages in room including local beer, water and soft drinks. Breakfast is also included within the room rate.
The Classic rooms look out over verdant foliage or hillsides whilst the Classic Suites are nearly twice the size with over 111 square metres of indoor-outdoor space including a separate living room and oversized private terrace overlooking the hillside and mountains. The Deluxe Rooms are framed by contemporary floor to ceiling windows, welcoming in the surrounding landscape. They range from the Deluxe Garden View to the Deluxe Private Garden Room, the Deluxe Hillside View, Deluxe Valley View and the Deluxe Queen Queen Room (yes, that’s a thing). There are also specially adapted rooms for mobility and hearing access.
The Deluxe Private Garden Room features a private patio with an outdoor freestanding sculpted bathtub and rain shower, surrounded by a secluded garden whilst the Deluxe Garden View Room has a large private terrace with views of surrounding foliage. The Deluxe Hillside View Room looks out over the hillside, the Deluxe Valley View Room looks out over the Napa Valley whilst the Deluxe Queen Queen Room features, as the name might suggest, twin Queen-sized beds and views out over Wine Country.
Moving on up to the suite categories, the Private Garden Suite, Deluxe Hillside View and Deluxe Valley View suites offer over double the size of the deluxe rooms at 117 square metres of space with the Deluxe Private Garden Suite larger at 137 square metres.
The garden suites feature contemporary iron-framed French doors which open out onto oversized private patios with outdoor soaking tubs and rain showers. The best of contemporary “wine country living” offers ample indoor and outdoor space including separate living rooms framed by sleek custom French doors. The Deluxe Valley View Suites and the Deluxe Hillside View Suites has enormous private terraces with views out over the surrounding Napa Valley hillsides and resort olive groves. Custom furnishings complete the spacious and contemporary feel of the design.
The premier accommodation is the free-standing two-bedroom private maisons, Cannes and Monaco, offering over 167 square metres of Franco-Californian indoor-outdoor living space and unobstructed valley views. Maison guests receive a welcome bottle of Dom Pérignon on arrival; a full in-room bar including six bottles of wine, premium spirits and mixers; a dedicated Mercedes-Benz or convertible for use throughout the stay; a US$200 credit for services at the Spa; preferred dining reservations at The Restaurant and a private guided tour of the hotel art collection with an art consultant from ÆRENA Galleries & Garden.
Open around the clock, the Fitness Centre provides a range of cardio and strength training equipment including ellipticals, treadmills, exercise bikes (including a Peloton) and TRX Suspension Training with free weights on the outdoor weight deck. There is also a stream of fitness classes available including Yoga, Bodyweight Bootcamp, Therapeutic Yoga, Core Strength Training and Fitness Fusion with MyZone. Other facilities include a tennis court and nature walks on property.
The Auberge du Soleil Spa meanwhile, reserved exclusively for guests, offers a tranquil retreat for reflection, relaxation, and restoration. Set around a picturesque Spa courtyard which is anchored by mature olive trees and a centrepiece of three stone basin fountains perfectly aligned with Mount Veeder in the distance. Spa facilities include private spa suites, temperate spa soaking pools – cool, warm, and hot – hot tubs and Hammam steam rooms. Each treatment is customised with the resort’s own signature products, an essential oil for the shower and post-treatment juice. La Pagode is a Japanese ryokan-style pavilion – the height of spa decadence.
As a premier golfing destination, Napa Valley offers a number of excellent courses for a day at the links for any golfers staying at the resort. From the enjoyable nine-hole Vintner’s Golf Club in Yountville to Silverado, home of the Safeway Open PGA Tour with the two championship courses designed by PGA Hall of Fame recipient Johnny Miller.
For hikers, there are scenic hikes offered through many of the region’s state and regional parks and local trails. From the 344 hectares of wilderness and trails at Skyline Park in Napa to the redwood groves of Bothe Park north of St Helena to the magnificent panoramic views atop the Oat Hill Mine Trail in Calistoga. For a casual walk on property, there is the Soleil Trail – a 1.3-kilometre nature path bordering the perimeter of the Sculpture Garden and olive grove. For those preferring two wheels, take a bike ride through wine country – 20 kilometres - from Kennedy Park in South Napa through downtown Yountville. Eventually, the route will connect the entire Napa Valley from Calistoga to the Vallejo Ferry and the greater Bay area. Others may prefer to take to the skies with a hot air balloon ride across the vineyards as the sun rises over the eastern hillside.
With a mix of Californian style and Gallic charm, Auberge du Soleil continues to shine brightly in the Napa Valley as one of the first and most appealing of the wine hotels situated along the valley route. True to its core principles of showcasing the very best California has to offer, the property is also a leader and inspiration in its environmental and sustainability focus. They show that you too can be a bit of an eco-warrior without compromising on either style, design sense or quality.
Its situation on a sunlit hillside in Rutherford allows the resort to be a little removed from the Napa Valley action and for some the seclusion works wells. The ÆRENA Galleries & Garden – the open air art gallery – features over one hundred works by sixty local artists, dotted around the property.
Its guestrooms are so beautifully designed, the facilities and restaurants so tempting, the staff so helpful, that it takes a great effort of will to even leave the perimeter of the property to explore the area! That says it all.
Founded in 1981 by visionary French restaurateur Claude Rouas as Napa Valley’s first fine dining restaurant, The Restaurant has maintained its status and legacy of a “must experience” culinary destination for over forty years. Today, Executive Chef Robert Curry sources the freshest ingredients from local purveyors, harvested at their peak flavour, to create delicious dishes that showcase the region’s best seasonal ingredients. With an enviable position overlooking the valley, diners can choose from a two or three course prix fixe menu for lunch or a three, four or six course tasting menu for dinner. Choose either a Napa Valley favourite from The Restaurant’s extensive wine list (15,000 bottles) or choose to custom pair wines with each course from an international and regional wine list. The restaurant has been awarded a Michelin star for the past 14 years.
The Bistro & Bar also enjoys a wonderful location overlooking the valley and hills beyond. Casual and informal, this is the perfect place to enjoy a laid-back lunch, drinks or dinner.
The relaxed vibe of La Plage with its cabanas provides an ideal poolside respite from a day of wine tasting on sun-drenched terraces overlooking the vineyards below. There are gauze draped canopied loungers to enjoy a light lunch or a glass or two of Californian wine.
Auberge du Soleil strives to live in harmony with the environment while preserving and protecting the Napa Valley terroir and culture. By implementing eco-friendly practices and encouraging guests, staff and community to be stewards of the land, they strive to minimise their environmental footprint and inspire a more responsible and sustainable lifestyle.
Restaurant ingredients are sourced locally and regionally while emphasising sustainable, organic and seasonal products with the wine list highlighting bio-dynamic and organic wines. In-house filtered water is offered in all dining outlets and in room at turn down in lieu of bottled water.
The hotel uses biodegradable cleaning products throughout and low VOC paints. There is a waste-wise purchasing policy significantly reducing single stream output and power is purchased from renewable sources. There is a resort-wide recycling and re-use system for paper, glass, cardboard, metal and oil as well as active participation in Re-cork America Wine Cork recycling.
Premium organic, locally crafted bath amenities are presented in refillable bulk-dispensers in all guest rooms, the Auberge du Soleil Spa and public restrooms. Energy conservation is administered through a sustainable light selection of dimmer switches, CFL bulbs and LED lighting and integrated water management implemented throughout the property. As a Deep Green customer, Auberge du Soleil receives zero emission power and half of the premium goes into Marin Clean Energy’s Deep Green Development Fund which finances the start-up costs of new, local, renewable power products.
Auberge du Soleil is the first hotel in the Napa Valley to be certified through the Bay Area Green Business Programme.
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