Accessible luxury

The air-brushed photos of mustard-speckled vineyards in California’s Wine Country belie a secret. Growing grapes is an agricultural endeavor with deep roots, and the people who practice the art of viticulture and hospitality are famously down-to-earth. Most of all, they love sharing their passion for the land with visitors. 

Forget any illusions of pretense.

We recently visited to confirm that the modernization happening from Napa to Calistoga left intact the welcoming vibe.

Meet & Stay

golf course
South Course, Silverado Resort & Spa

Stop one on the everything-is-fresh-again tour was Silverado Resort & Spa, which started in 1870 as a private estate. KSL Resorts purchased the resort from a consortium of owners that included champion golfer Johnny Miller. The lobby and main meeting space occupy the original mansion with recent upgrades that lightened and brightened spaces, and opened up fresh-air views from the terrace off Silverado Ballroom to the PGA Tour golf course. In total, the 300-acre property boasts 70,000 sq. ft. of meeting space. Mansion Gardens, tented or al fresco, is a popular spring dining option. A conference center with eight breakout rooms offers space to get down to business.

What hasn’t changed: the service focus of the staff, some of whom have been with the property for 40 years. 

The 345 soon-to-be remodeled units dotting the campus feature a homey, residential feel. They afford access to amenities such as an award-winning spa offering Himalayan sea salt scrub treatments, pickleball, bocce and tennis courts. Director of Tennis Katie Dellich is a wonder at ensuring everyone enjoys net time regardless of skill level and delights in hosting groups at the complex of courses with a format that includes wine tasting from local wine producer Prime Solum, a DJ and lots of cross-group interaction.

“Tennis is a window to the soul, a great way to get to know a person better,” says Dellich. 

The Grill at Silverado also makes Wine Country cuisine approachable with pairings from local wineries and a choice of lounge or fine-dining experiences paired with those verdant golf course views.

hotel pool
Pool, Four Seasons
Resort and Residences Napa Valley

Stop two took us Up Valley (as the locals call it) to the quaint and artsy town of St. Helena, where a circa-1907 Georgian mansion recently rebranded as one of Hyatt’s Alila global collection of sustainable, immersive experiences. Alila Napa Valley encompasses a collection of 64 guest rooms overlooking rolling hills of vines. Tucked in same the nook next to Berringer Vineyards is a 7,960-square-foot, rustic-chic meeting space with more outdoor options, a wellness spa and Violetto by Executive Chef Thomas Lents restaurant in the original veranda-wrapped farmhouse building.

Experiences available through the spa include forest bathing, moon yoga and vineyard-view painting.

Stop three was a few more minutes north in the historic resort town of Calistoga, where “taking the waters” was a popular weekend trip as far back as the late 1800s. Luxury has taken center stage again as Four Seasons Resort and Residences Napa Valley opened to much fanfare in 2022. Closer to downtown, a purveyor of mud baths since 1952 has rebranded as Dr. Wilkinson’s Backyard Resort & Mineral Springs. The treatments are still the focus, and the 50 motel-style guest rooms have a refreshed mid-century vibe. The natural beauty of the area is the backdrop in The Glass House and The Glass Den, both small meeting spaces. And the F&B outlet, House of Better, is headed up by San Francisco’s Green Chile Kitchen owner Trevor Logan. The culinary philosophy is that “where wellness meets happiness, health food meets comfort food.”


In keeping with the mid-century creative ethos, a group tour of di Rosa Center for Contemporary Art in the Carneros region is a playful way to explore the creative side of the valley. The collection in the main room of the 217-acre site is always changing with an emphasis on the beautiful lakeside setting and the founders Rene and Veronica di Rosa’s acclaimed collection of more than 1,600 Northern California artists, including numerous priceless sculptures by groundbreaking Bay Area artists. Di Rosa’s philosophy, according to the nonprofit that now runs the museum complex, was that “art is not some lofty ‘should’—but can be a real part of living.”

This article appears in the May 2024 issue. You can subscribe to the magazine here.