“This place is like Kellerman’s,” my sister commented when we pulled up to the lobby building at Meadowood. She paused, no doubt picturing the summer family resort where the movie Dirty Dancing took place, and added, “but so much nicer!” Meadowood does bring to mind the grand family resorts of yesteryear, but thoroughly updated — and upgraded — from those more rustic versions.
I could see sadness in my sister’s eyes as she and the rest of my visiting family looked around the property; they’d be flying home that night after four days in Napa with my husband and I, while the two of us were staying on at Meadowood for another two days. I knew the stay would be perfect…except for one thing. As it turned out, my family left behind the cold my mom and sister had muddled through during their visit and I started to feel foul just as I arrived. But, I soon learned, if I had to be under the weather anywhere, Meadowood was a very nice place to do so.
Meadowood began life in 1964 as a private country club before it was purchased in 1979 by winemaker H. William Harlan and converted to a resort. Now it’s one of the most secluded and gorgeous resorts in the area, with the prices to match. Set back from the Silverado Trail near St. Helena, you’d never even know it was there if you didn’t turn into the private drive that leads to the wooded retreat.
The sprawling resort truly offers everything you’d need to stay on the grounds for a few days, or a few weeks if you have unlimited funds. There’s a fitness center with personal trainers, cardio and weight machines, fitness classes and yoga; two large pools; a regulation croquet court, tennis courts and a nine-hole golf course; a spa; and 4.5 miles of hiking trails. There are also plentiful dining choices, including a casual grill and pool-side dining (in summer) with in-room dining and to-go picnics available.
The star of Meadowoods’s dining options though, are the three-Michelin-starred Restaurant and the Restaurant ‘s bar where Chef Christopher Kostow creates fanciful bespoke menus that use seasonal and local ingredients and are tailored to each guest’s preferences. At the Restaurant’s Bar, a three-course menu is offered at $90 per guest for a lower-cost sample of the Chef’s creations.
The rooms show just as much attention to detail as the personalized meals created by Chef Kostow. Spacious studio rooms start at $600 per night with larger suites going up to $2500 per night. Pricey, but for a few nights of pure, unadulterated luxury, I’d argue it’s worth every dollar. Rooms are designed with clean lines, neutral colors, and a modern style and have Queen or California King beds with French linens, fireplaces with ample firewood, down bedding, HD tvs, iPod docks, laptop-sized safes, espresso machines and mini-bars. The marble bathrooms include plush robes and slippers, deep tubs, and Molton Brown amenities.
My room, a Hillside Room, was 380 square feet with a large furnished deck outside. All rooms have free wi-fi and are attended to twice daily by housekeeping.
The gorgeous rooms are almost enough to warrant Meadowood’s price, but the above-and-beyond service ensures the value. When I casually mentioned feeling under the weather to the clerk at check-in, she offered to send someone into town to fetch me some cold medicine. Instead I had a glass of the complimentary apple cider offer in the lobby, which helped me fight my cold long enough to stop by the resort’s nightly complimentary wine hour, where staff was graciously pouring multiple glasses of two local wines (unlike at most hotel wine-and-cheese hours where guests are offered one small sample of each).
When my rampant sniffling and coughing got bad enough that I had to cancel my dinner at the Restaurant’s bar with less than 24-hours notice, the staff was gracious and didn’t impose a cancellation fee (had I been well enough to go, I could have been driven from my room to the Restaurant in the hotel’s complimentary shuttle).
Other standout services include car service to downtown St. Helena, Yountville and Calistoga, complimentary bottled water offered throughout the resort, daily newspaper delivery, and shoe shine service, and the resort will arrange proposals, romance packages, in-room spa treatments and private elopements.
Unfortunately, I spent too much time holed up in my room, alternately knocked out on cold meds and sleeping soundly, huddled in front of a roaring fire, or soaking in a steaming bath trying to clear my sinuses.
But if I had to be sick, I was thrilled to be sick in such a lovely setting. The fire and down-filled bedding kept me toasty warm, the incredibly comfortable bed helped me sleep, and during my short bursts of energy, the resort grounds provided plenty to do without going too far from that gloriously comfortable bed. And while I was disappointed to cancel my three-course dinner at the Restaurant’s bar, room service from the Grill (a burger for my husband, creamy macaroni and cheese for me, and a mushroom flatbread to share) was a delicious alternative.
Just as you can judge a person by how they treat you when you aren’t at your best, I now know that you can judge a hotel by how it can improve (or worsen) a rough situation. I live less than an hour from Napa; I could have given up and gone home at any time and had I been staying in a less luxurious hotel, I probably would have, but with a choice between the fabulous digs at Meadowood and my own apartment, I chose the better option and stayed. My husband and I stay in dozens of hotel rooms each year, many in Napa, and we both remarked that the bed was among the most comfortable we’d ever slept in. Even if I hadn’t been sick, I may not have wanted to leave it.
My recommendation is, of course, that you go when you’re not feeling under the weather, to take advantage of everything Meadowood has to offer. For a special occasion stay, a romantic weekend, or if you simply want to be pampered by staff ready to attend to your every need, Meadowood is the ultimate luxury retreat.
I was offered a discounted media rate at Meadowood but all opinions are my own.