Harvest season, happening now through October, is one of the most exciting times to visit Wine Country. The sweet smell of fermenting grapes permeates the air and it's a unique opportunity to see the winemaking process in action (you may even get to crush some grapes Lucy-style).
But local winemakers aren't the only ones who have been busy, so when you plan your visit to Napa and Sonoma this fall, consider booking a room at one of these classic stays that feel new again thanks to remodeled rooms, new restaurants, chic pool bars, and much more.
Napa Valley: Where to Stay Now
(Courtesy of Milliken Creek Inn)
Solage, Auberge Resorts Collection
The most exciting feature of Solage's recently completed $30 million dollar renovation is Picobar, a chill, open-air pool bar that gives off some serious resort-in-Mexico vibes. While looking out at Solage's picture-perfect 130-foot pool (the largest in Napa Valley), you can sip tequila and mezcal-based cocktails (the Spirit of the Hare comes with a popsicle) along with whipped avocado dip, queso made from Cowgirl Creamery cheese, and several iterations of tacos that chef Gustavo Rios (from the resort's Solbar restaurant) lovingly refers to as "head tilts." There's even a crispy avocado version for vegetarians.
All the resort's rooms have been updated and there are some new cottage-style suites, too. They're light-filled, airy, luxurious, and cozy. Guests of the Estate Suites get one day of complimentary cabana access, a set of bikes for cruising around Calistoga, and a Mercedes-Benz to use throughout their stay. Lastly, Solage's signature restaurant Solbar has a swankier and larger outdoor lounge, making the choice between Solbar and Picobar a most difficult one (which is why we suggest staying long enough to visit both). // 755 Silverado Trail. N. (Calistoga), aubergeresorts.com
This reimagined 1940s roadside motel opened a new restaurant this summer. It was the final missing piece in turning the Calistoga Motor Lodge—already equipped with three spring-fed mineral pools and a chic, bathhouse-style spa—into a full-fledged resort. A pair of wood-fired ovens are at the heart of Fleetwood's Italian and Mediterranean-inspired cuisine, where family-style dishes like the wood oven-roasted meatballs topped with a parmesan crisp and the speck ham pizza (truffle tremor, caramelized onion, broccoli rabe) can't be missed.
The theme carries on through beautiful, wood-beamed ceilings and tiled floors, and the original cocktails, with names like Liviero and Pesca Perfecto, will whisk you away to the Amalfi Coast.
With the new restaurant, the lodge also unveiled new Vista Rooms on the second floor. While the original camper-style rooms are fun, simple, and contemporary, these new rooms (some come with balconies) offer a more elevated and luxurious night's sleep, perfect for a kid-free getaway. Check for the new adults-only hours at the pools. // 1880 Lincoln Ave. (Calistoga), calistogamotorlodgeandspa.com
Milliken Creek Inn
Chances are you didn't know about Milliken Creek Inn before its recent head-to-toe redesign, but now you have even more reason to seek out this hidden sanctuary along the Napa River. The 11-room boutique inn is set on three lush acres just five minutes from downtown Napa. The new rooms are bright and zen at once; we suggest you request one with a soaking tub, private deck or patio, and a fire pit for maximum respite. Grab a s'mores kit from the front desk, located in a restored 1850s building that was once a stagecoach shop.
Guests are offered Champagne upon arrival and, as golden hour approaches each day, you may find yourself relaxing riverside before dinner on a plush chaise lounge, by a communal fire pit, or gathering with other guests on the expansive deck sipping wine, noshing on cheese (both complimentary every day), and keeping an eye out for kayakers and wildlife. Sip some port from the lobby before bed and then choose your own breakfast (perhaps an omelet, breakfast sandwich, or frittata), which is delivered to your room each morning. // 1815 Silverado Trail (Napa), millikencreekinn.com
Bardessono Hotel & Spa
Yountville's Bardessono unveiled a collection of new, luxury villas in 2021 made for small groups like bachelorette parties, family reunions, and couples retreats. The three Maple Grove Villas each have one bedroom, spa bathrooms (where you can also have a massage), large living rooms, and courtyards, and while they can be booked individually, they're best reserved together. Offering the perfect blend of togetherness and privacy, the center villa has a spacious dining room where everyone can gather for meals and time in the outdoor jacuzzi.
The super-sustainable hotel—it's one of just seven LEED Platinum Certified hotels in the country—also has a rooftop pool, pool bar, fitness area, and a spa (visit The Well Bar before your treatment to create your own personalized oil blend for sleep, stress, detox, etc.). On Thursdays the restaurant, Lucy, has offers a family-style supper experience ($60 per person) featuring a first course, salad, entree, sides, and dessert. It's a total steal, if you ask us. // 6526 Yount St. (Yountville), bardessono.com
Dr. Wilkinson's Backyard Resort & Mineral Springs
One of Calistoga's OG hot springs resorts reopened in 2021 following a much-needed renovation. Built in 1952, Dr. Wilkinson's is credited with pioneering Calistoga's famous mud bath treatments and, while time was not the kindest to the property, it's officially been restored to its former glory. All 50 rooms have been updated with minimalist style, pops of color, and subtle tributes to the past. The old pool deck, surrounding a pair of spring-fed mineral pools, has been transformed into a chic and colorful California oasis decorated with playful murals and new lounges, day beds, and cabanas.
The spa has also been completely redone and, in addition to the classic mud bath experience, offers an array of new-age treatments like CBD massage, sound therapy, and even a Beer Brew mineral bath. Lastly, there's a new restaurant on site, House of Better. On an evening when you don't feel like getting dressed up to go out, grab dinner at this super casual, counter-service eatery serving up a healthful, Southwestern-inspired menu where green chiles are the star ingredient. House of Better is even a new home for Chile Pies Baking Co. (from the same chef of the defunct Green Chile Kitchen), which means that, yes, there's green chile pie for dessert. // 507 Lincoln Ave. (Calistoga), drwilkinson.com
Sonoma: Where to Stay Now
(Courtesy of Flamingo Resort)
One of Sonoma's most iconic properties underwent a resort-wide renovation that wrapped up this year. The transformation officially brought The Flamingo, a Santa Rosa landmark for over 60 years, into the modern day while still celebrating its midcentury roots.
The towering Flamingo sign still stands outside but, after entering through a mini arboretum, the lobby is practically unrecognizable, designed like a chic, 1950s home. Eyes can't help but be drawn to a large and colorful mural by Serge Gay Jr. that depicts a sassy lobby receptionist surrounded by palms and channeling Marilyn Monroe. An eclectic and tropical chandelier full of feathers and other foliage hangs above it.
The Flamingo's massive pool deck at the center of the property continues to be the resort's biggest draw. The rooms all got a contemporary update that still manages to celebrate its heyday—think, bright retro colors, teak wood, and playful touches like mint green vintage phones and matching tea kettles. The resort has two new dining options: the Wild Bird tiki bar and the poolside Lazeaway Club, serving original craft cocktails and internationally inspired dishes like citrus and coconut-marinated mahi-mahi ceviche. Most recently, they added a retro teal camper that also serves cocktails poolside. // 2777 Fourth St. (Santa Rosa), flamingoresort.com
The Lodge at Sonoma
Located just one mile from the Sonoma Plaza, the Lodge at Sonoma completed a property-wide facelift this summer that fuses contemporary design and furnishings with thoughtful tributes to Sonoma's history. In the early 1800s, the town played a pivotal role in California's declaration of freedom from Mexican rule and is the site of the last of California's 21 missions; the lodge's freshly painted white exterior and tiled roofs mirror that of the historic mission.
The $17 million renovation included public spaces, a refreshed pool area with fireplaces and cabanas, and modern updates to all the rooms. A handful of rooms and cottages added private outdoor soaking tubs and fireplaces, and the lodge now also has three distinct dining concepts. There's Benicia's Kitchen, serving Latin-inspired breakfast; Michelin-starred chef Michael Mina's Wit & Wisdom (the cocktail program is led by celebrated Bay Area mixologist Camber Lay); and High Horse Bar, a pool bar built out of an old horse carriage. // 1325 Broadway (Sonoma), marriott.com