Napa’s most exclusive luxury hotel gets a glow up from designer Erin Martin
Recently revamped by Napa interior designer Erin Martin, Yountville's exclusive, five-suite Poetry Inn keeps a warm, neutral palette but has contemporary surprises in store. (Michael Hospelt)

Napa’s most exclusive luxury hotel gets a glow up from designer Erin Martin

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Napa’s most exclusive luxury hotel just got a major upgrade—and you've probably never even heard of it.

The 12-year-old Poetry Inn has managed to fly under the radar for most tourists, who might only happen upon its existence if they look up while driving west on the Yountville Crossroad. Set 500 feet above the Napa Valley floor, off the Silverado Trail, the property's rooms have views like nowhere else in Wine Country.


The Poetry Inn was already dreamy but the proprietors, who also own Cliff Lede Vineyards in Yountville, brought in Napa's most revered designer, Erin Martin, to give the place a refresh.

The Erin Martin–Designed Digs at Yountville's Poetry Inn

The spacious bathroom in Poetry Inn's E.E. Cummings suite.

(Michael Hospelt)

Featuring all of the makings of a full-scale luxury resort but without all the people, Poetry Inn has just five suites. Each is themed after a famous poet—the last name or initials of poets like Emily Dickinson, Walt Whitman, and Robert Frost grace the doors—and is larger than most San Francisco apartments, ranging in size from 950 to 1,450 square feet.

To get there, you'll drive up a long and vertical private road. When you enter, instead of approaching the standard check-in desk, you'll arrive at the aptly named Hemingway Bar. You'll be greeted with a glass of wine and you can peruse the full bar for future libations during your stay. The bar leads to a large communal gathering space with an oversized sofa, antique typewriters, and picture windows that show off the views.

Each suite has some subtle and some not-so-subtle tributes to its poet. In the Frost suite, for instance, the mural behind the bed is a clear nod to “The Road Not Taken.” Books of his poetry can be found on a bedside table and in the bathroom, bright yellow letters read, “Two roads diverged in a yellow wood.”

Known for a modern aesthetic, Martin pushes the boundaries of Wine Country style, keeping the palette mostly warm and neutral but with contrasting pops of color. There's plenty personality in the edgy artworks and furnishings: A hand-shaped wooden desk chair in the Frost suite and a photograph of a mostly nude woman above the bathtub in the E.E. Cummings suite give the inn an added layer of sophistication and intrigue that you’d more likely find in a cosmopolitan city.

The rooms possess everything you’d hope for in a five-star resort: wood-burning fireplaces; massive double-vanity bathrooms with heated floors and deep soaking tubs; large private terraces; and outdoor showers. The Frost room has a hammock from which you may even spot some wildlife, and two of the rooms have outside swinging daybeds.

There are several small but meaningful touches, too, like weights, a yoga mat, and yoga blocks in the walk-in closets (there’s plenty of space on the terrace for a session), and wireless charging pads. A basket of snacks, wine, and fridge refreshments are complimentary.

Breakfast at Poetry Inn, Yountville

(Courtesy of Poetry Inn)

Mornings begin above the fog line which you can watch as it slowly and magically clears, revealing the valley's patchwork of vineyards below, while you enjoy a three-course breakfast in your room or the common lounge. Enjoy Bouchon Bakery pastries with coffee or tea, and then select your second and third courses: Dishes might include pumpkin brioche French toast and grapefruit brûlée. While the inn doesn’t serve lunch or dinner, you are just minutes from Yountville, the heart of Napa Valley’s dining scene and home to chef Thomas Keller's restaurant empire.

Hiking + Spa Time in Yountville

(Michael Hospelt)

As part of Poetry Inn's renovation, a new private hiking trail was created from the inn to the ridgeline above. Just be aware that this isn’t your leisurely morning stroll before coffee. This is a rigorous, half-mile and almost completely vertical climb that requires good shoes; the views are worth it. From the top, you can connect to the Rector Ridge trail and extend your hike.

There’s a pool and hot tub onsite and Poetry Inn also has a treatment room for massages and facials. But if you’re seeking the full luxury spa experience, book a treatment at a nearby resort, like Auberge du Soleil, where you can make use of the facilities afterward (they have sky-high infinity hot tubs).

// Rates start at $2,050 a night; 6380 Silverado Trail (Napa), poetryinn.com

(Michael Hospelt)

A daybed on a suite's outdoor patio.

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