10 Best Hotels for Wine Lovers Slideshow
January 12, 2012
Across the world, favorite wine regions offer travelers incredible vacation experiences
Park Hyatt Mendoza; Argentina
Set across from the Plaza Independencia, the Park Hyatt is located in one of the small city’s loveliest quarters, full of shady, tree-lined streets and close to several of the best restaurants in town, including Azafrán, where customers choose their own bottles from the stacked wine room. With the various appellations spreading north and south of the city, staying in the stately hotel best situates travelers touring high (literally, into the mountains) and low, across the Maipú and Luján de Cuyo territories.
Meadowood; Napa Valley, Calif.
With one of the most exceptional restaurants in Napa, perhaps all of California, Meadowood is also an exceptional hotel, that's various levels of rooms — from lodges to suites — are designed to have a refined upcountry feel. With a distinguished director of wine education, Meadowood offers private wine tastings as well as the Wine Discovery Series, which leads guests through tastings that explore the sensory experience of wine, for example, or the special terroir of Napa’s wines. Note that The Restaurant at Meadowood will be closed through March 11, 2012, for renovations.
Hotel Healdsburg; Sonoma Valley, Calif.
With Charlie Palmer’s Dry Creek Kitchen anchoring the hotel and spa, Hotel Healdsburg is the most gastronomically graced place to stay in Sonoma. And between the twice-weekly complimentary wine tastings and the frequent winemaker dinners, wine lovers don’t have to go far afield to enjoy the local wines. However, the town of Healdsburg is a great jumping off point for touring the Russian River Valley, Dry Creek Valley, and other appellations. Afterwards, retire to your simply but comfortably appointed suite before waking to another strenuous day of wine tasting.
Domaine des Hauts de Loire; France
Though called a “hunting cottage,” Domaine des Hauts reveals itself to be a much more refined getaway. In fact, the surroundings and multi-building manor are something out of a fairytale; the 25 rooms are château-chic but the manicured gardens, lake filled with swans, and vine-covered turrets are storybook perfect. Located near Amboise in the heart of the Loire wine country, oenophiles have easy access to winery tours as well as a restaurant with two Michelin stars to return to in the evenings.
Le Quartier Français; Cape Winelands, South Africa
The Franschhoek Valley is where wine lovers visiting the Cape are immediately drawn to, and Le Quartier Français is the valley’s most famous hotel. Charming from the outside, the suites and family-style cottage reveal a keen interest in art, which also translates to the innovative cuisine of chef Margot Janse of the hotel’s award-winning restaurant, The Tasting Room. Guests can sign up for a number of interesting wine tasting-paired activities like Wine, Charcuterie, and Chocolate or Wine and Motor Museum.
Chateau Yering; Yarra Valley, Australia
Melbourne’s version of Napa, the Yarra Valley is one of the world’s loveliest wine countries and only about an hour from the city. Perfect for a wine-soaked getaway, the enchanting, Victorian-style Chateau Yering also guarantees oenophiles an inspirational vacation, from the huge selection of Yarra wines in its historic wine cellar built in 1840 to a champagne-fueled hot air balloon ride over the area’s vineyards followed by a visit to the nearby Yering Station Winery.
Castello Banfi Il Borgo; Tuscany, Italy
The Il Borgo isn’t just any “family-owned” hotel — it’s a small luxury property owned by the Mariani family of Castello Banfi winemaker fame, set on the family’s wine estate next to a medieval castle. And it’s the premier spot to stay for anyone interested in Tuscan viticulture. With only 14 rooms, the hotel excels in the details, from the complimentary body lotion made from the estate’s grapes to the vineyard-to-table in-depth wine classes available to guests.
Hotel Marqués de Riscal; La Rioja, Spain
A mass of gleaming metal ribbons, the striking exterior of Hotel Marqués de Riscal was designed by Frank Gehry, perhaps to look like a gift to the wine lovers of the world. Its modernity and sleek guest rooms are a dramatic contrast to the adjacent Marqués de Riscal winery and the town of Elciego’s medieval history. The hotel arranges specialized tours of the Rioja wine country including a lunch paired with local wines.
Les Sources de Caudalie; Bordeaux, France
Not just a hotel for wine lovers, Les Sources de Caudalie is also one of the most famous spa hotels in the world, implementing its innovative vinotherapy, which uses grape-based products in traditional spa treatments. Set among their own vineyards in Bordeaux, the château-style property is both opulent and wholesome, as befitting a spa hotel and the idyllic wine country surroundings. Enjoy the 15,000-bottle wine list at the Michelin-starred in-house restaurant, La Grand'Vigne.
Reid’s Palace; Madeira, Portugal
One of Orient-Express’ signature hotels, Reid’s Palace holds the promise of luxury as well as the opportunity to explore the island of Madeira and its wine. Guest rooms are plush and offer spectacular views of the ocean, plus the palace features vast amenities including three pools, tennis courts, and unique excursions like a boat trip on a replica of Christopher Columbus’ Santa Maria. With seven different choices, your hardest decision may be where to eat.