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Hotel Highlights

  • Mouthwatering Californian food and wine-tasting
  • Consider-it-done concierge service
  • Private cottages in unique agri-chic resort

Overview

The Carneros Inn hotel is an award-winning, one-of-a-kind place to stay in Napa Valley with a warm and welcoming staff. Inspired by classic California farm buildings, this resort is made up of handsome and contemporary tin-roofed cottages, silos and barns all arranged with either lush vineyard or garden views. The agri-chic aesthetic features lovely decked porches, rocking chairs, Le Corbusier chaises, cowhide rugs and a soothing colour scheme of white, grey, black, and beige. Connected via a series of paths through the gardens are the huge pool, three restaurants and two bars.

Smith Extra

Here's what you get for booking The Carneros Inn with us:

Two VIP tasting passes to the Vintner's Collective

Special offers

Exclusive rates, packages and special offers at The Carneros Inn

Smith summer: $60 daily breakfast credit

Facilities

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The Carneros Inn - Napa Valley - United States

Need To Know

Rooms

86 Cottages, including 10 Suites and 24 Private Homes.

Check–out

Midday, but check with reception as late check-out is sometimes available.

Rates

Double rooms from $575.00, excluding tax at 14 per cent. Please note the hotel charges an additional service charge of $25.00 per room per night on check-out.

Also

The chef can prepare a picnic for you to take wherever you like. There's a team of concierge staff who are extremely knowledgable about the region, its vineyards and pursuits. They'll call before you arrive to find out what you want from your stay.

At the hotel

DVD library, gardens, luxury fitness centre and spa, spa boutique, concierge team; in-room plasma TVs, DVD, free Internet access, underfloor heating, wood-burning fires, minibar, AC, spa services and private fitness training, free bikes to borrow.

Our favourite rooms

All the cottages have private gardens, patios and decks with gas heaters and romantic outdoor showers. Note that cottage suites consist of two separate cottages connected by a private patio (ideal for families or groups of friends). Vineyard suites have the nicest views, but the cottages represent better value for money.

Poolside

The large adults-only outdoor heated infinity pool has lovely countryside views and a hot tub to enjoy them from; there's another infinity pool for families, with a hot tub and separate children's pool, too.

Packing tips

Swimwear (you'll be gutted if you forget it); comfortable shoes for walking and post-wine-tasting moments of instability; a great book; yoga kit.

Also

Smoking allowed on guests' private decks. Check-in is 4pm. The luxury spa offers suitably farm-inspired treatments, such as warm goat's butter massages, grape-seed scrubs. Dogs permitted in some rooms, US$150 a stay; damages charge, US$200 minimum.

Children

Dedicated family pool area. Cottage suites available, consisting of adjoining cottages and shared patio. The hotel can organise a host of family activities, from art classes or cheese-making to horse-riding and helicopter trips. Babysitting.

Read more

Eco‐friendly

Fires stocked with 'good wood'; rocking chairs made of recycled materials; geo-thermal heating and cooling system; menus are geared towards sustainable farming methods and local organic produce.

Food & Drink

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The Carneros Inn - Napa Valley - United States

Hotel Restaurant

The Farm serves local organic produce in an alfresco lounge setting with wood-burning fireplaces. It's closed on Monday and Tuesdays though, opening up for dinner during the rest of the week. Boonfly Café serves breakfast, lunch and light meals. The Hilltop Dining Room has amazing views. Tables can only be booked for six or more people.

Hotel Bar

The Hilltop Bar is decked out in Brazilian cherry wood and polished concrete; it's a great spot for a reflective after-dinner cocktail. Alternativley, kick back in Farm's buzzier outdoor lounge bar.

Last orders

Hilltop Dining Room, 4pm; Hilltop Bar, 10pm (midnight on Fridays and Saturdays); Boonfly Café, 10pm; Farm at the Carneros Inn, 10pm.

Room service

7am–10pm; order a bottle of wine before last orders to drink on your private deck.

Smith Insider

Dress code

Take dress-down Friday and then dress it down even more. If you wear heels, you'll only scuff them on the gravel paths.

Top table

Head up to the Hilltop Dining Room for the best views. Sit by the fire or on the patio at Farm.

Local Guide

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The Carneros Inn - Napa Valley - United States
Eat, drink, see, do: local favourites and more…

Worth getting out of bed for

Di Rosa Preserve: Art & Nature (www.diroaspreserve.org) on the Carneros Highway is a 217-acre estate that houses a private collection of thousands of works of art by Northern Californian artists in a unique natural setting.


When you're in Napa Valley, you should at least visit one vineyard or tasting house. The Carneros Inn concierge can arrange a bespoke tasting for you at one of the many wineries in the Valley, but there are two right on the hotel's doorstep: Artesa has an amazingly romantic balcony and tastings from US$7.50; Domaine Carneros by Taittinger (+1 707 257 0101) recalls a French château, and has a lovely terrace with table service; reservations aren't necessary and you can share a plate of cheese with your wine, too.

Local restaurants

Angèle (+1 707 252 8115) is 10 minutes away at 540 Main Street on the Napa River, and has an excellent modern French menu. Just a little further afield is the huge and always packed Bistro Don Giovanni (+1 707 224 3300) for straightforward Italian fare at alfresco tables.

Local bars

There are bars, of course, but you're much more likely to end up in one of the local wineries or tasting venues. The multi-winery tasting bar Vintner's Collective (+1 707 255 7150) is housed in the historic stone Pfeiffer building on Main Street and is an excellent place to try some of the valley's famous wines. You'll get an overview of the region's varieties as well as wines from some of the smaller properties.

+ Enlarge
California's bucolic pastures new

The Carneros Inn

4048 Sonoma Highway, Napa Valley, CA 94559, United States

Planes

The nearest airport is Napa County, just over 10 minutes' drive away. For international flights, you'll need San Francisco airport, which is around an hour away. American Airlines (www.americanairlines.com) flies daily from London Heathrow. Other airports in the region are Oakland and Sacramento.

Trains

The Napa Valley Wine Train station is a 10-minute drive from the hotel.

Automobiles

Head north from San Francisco – the drive should take just under an hour.

Reviews

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The Carneros Inn - Napa Valley - United States

Anonymous review

by Jeremy Kinsman , Commentating columnist

A wonderful sensation of space enveloped us as we cruised along the Carneros Highway. We had crossed the mystical Golden Gate Bridge from San Francisco only half an hour earlier and now the view through the windscreen was a beautiful, two-tone band of land and sky. Hawks were lazily circling over lush and tidy fields and, on either side of the road, vineyards stretched to green hills dotted with g…
Read more

The Carneros Inn

Anonymous review by Jeremy Kinsman, Commentating columnist

A wonderful sensation of space enveloped us as we cruised along the Carneros Highway. We had crossed the mystical Golden Gate Bridge from San Francisco only half an hour earlier and now the view through the windscreen was a beautiful, two-tone band of land and sky. Hawks were lazily circling over lush and tidy fields and, on either side of the road, vineyards stretched to green hills dotted with grazing cattle and horses.

We were bound for the Carneros Inn, a spacious and ambitious project of some 80 guest cottages positioned plum in the middle of 27 acres of this viticulturally tamed landscape of the Napa Valley. We turned off the highway and wound our way through the tidy lanes of the estate, protected from the hum of the traffic by a high wall.

As we neared the registration hall the great scale of the Carneros Inn became apparent and we decided that it could suitably be termed a resort. The Plumpjack Corporation, the owner and operator of Carneros, is used to big projects: they run a hotel in Squaw Valley, and a wine operation, as well as some of San Francisco’s most cherished landmark saloons, notably the Balboa Café.

At Carneros the design concept has been driven by an interest in Californian heritage, recalling the old days of the settlers. There are 72 rooms, 10 suites and 10 homes, all based on vernacular agricultural architecture, the larger buildings resembling silos and barns and the individual cottages suggesting ranchers’ cabins.

Having negotiated check-in and found our cabin, we took time to attempt to assimilate the look and feel of the whole place. Since the cabins are not lonely refuges on the open range but cheek-by-jowl in an enclosed area, their individual decks and pretty wildflower gardens are each sheltered for privacy behind a wall of corrugated metal. We admired the loyal use of a material true to the hard-scrabble pioneer days that the design is based on but we couldn’t help feeling that cedar walls would have been more welcoming, if less innovative. The Plumpjack Corporation had anticipated our critique – we noticed that the next phase of cabins under construction had wooden garden separators.

The cabins, with their quaint porches and obligatory rockers, may look like they were built for 19th-century ranchers but the interiors are set up to pamper the very sophisticated urban tastes of 21st-century hotel guests. We admired the vast bed with its plump pillows encased in fine Italian linen. We liked the fireplace and noted the plasma screen. But we bypassed the bedroom’s charms and headed straight to the outsized bathroom with its intriguing additional outside shower. We chose the alfresco option and stood under the watering-can shower head and washed away the grime from our journey.

Wrapped in bathrobes which, being of a light, clingy cotton instead of bulky towelling were, incidentally, the best these Smiths have ever found, we chilled out on our deck. With local chardonnay and pinot noir to drink, and the singing of settling birds in the background, we briefly pondered the merits of calling it a night – it was only late afternoon. Our saving grace was the knowledge that the tempting offerings of two good restaurants beckoned, each only a short stroll away.

We chose to dine at the Farm, the upscale main draw where we found that the fabulous open design still manages to create intimacy thanks to some clever lighting: Mr Smith feared that he might have overdone it on the chardonnay earlier, as the colour of one wall seemed to be changing. Mrs Smith confirmed over a further glass that this was, indeed, the case. The interior is so designed to draw the eye up into the high and attractive space. The modern Californian cuisine works with the bounty of the region which, on the night we were there, included sturgeon, and superb lamb for the carnivorous Mr Smith. The chefs, in the semi-open kitchen, part obscured by mesquite grills, certainly did the produce justice.

Our preferred gastronomical experience, though, turned out to be at the less formal and smaller-scale Boon Fly Café where we chose to eat the following day. Equally attractive architecturally, the menu here is more casual but the execution is still top-flight. We had pizzas here for lunch and returned in the evening when the exquisite Pacific mahi-mahi fish won the heart of Mrs Smith while Mr Smith challenged a succulent hanger steak prepared to perfection.

Waiters in this area know their wines and, once we had found a suitably polite response to stem the tide of friendly yet repetitive How are yous?, we got great leads on which wines to sample by the glass.

All this indulgence needed to be offset by some activity and the Carneros Inn’s most attractive assets are its pools – the Hilltop pool, set among open fields, and a lap pool with a world-class fitness centre. The resort’s in-room literature has yet to catch up with the evolving reality and the lap pool did not feature in our bumph so you may be lucky, as we were, to find it pleasantly free of fellow guests. We were not alone, however. Our afternoon there was shared with pink-haired, rock-rap singer Kelis and her devout entourage who were being reverentially filmed by an MTV reality show. As if this wasn’t entertaining enough for us lowly Smiths, in the beautiful room in the background, which serves as the breakfast centre, a recently deposed, top female CEO was addressing an equally reverential gathering of business folk. No doubt her audience was learning how to secure maximum compensation in the case of boardroom dismissals. Whatever, we were treated to great, unexpected theatre.

If the early settlers ate and drank from the fruits of the land as well as we did at the Carneros Inn then their existence was not as impoverished as I had thought. We were very much taken by life on the range and were delighted to discover that rural dwelling no longer means abandoning modern urban standards. Some might call it California dreamin’.

The Guestbook

Reviews of The Carneros Inn from Smith members

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