The Essential Napa Valley Honeymoon Guide

Posted by Katie James Watkinson

napa_valley_winery.jpgWhen you consider a Napa Valley honeymoon, it's hard to pinpoint what exactly makes it so darn romantic. Is it the endless rows of picture-perfect vines? The super-luxurious, amenity-packed resorts? The delicious, meticulously crafted wines? The world-class, chef-driven restaurants?

Obviously, it's all of these elements combined -- and so much more. Whether you're in Napa for just a few days or a full week, there are tons of activities to fill your days (especially ones that involve drinking -- it's Napa after all!), not to mention countless honeymoon-worthy stays across cute towns like Calistoga, St. Helena, and downtown Napa.

Take a look at this essential guide to start planning your perfect Napa Valley honeymoon itinerary.


Photo courtesy of Calistoga Ranch

Meadowood Napa Valley, St. Helena
This Napa Valley classic offers one of the most extensive set-ups around: The 250-acre estate has an 85-room, shaker-shingle house, a nine-hole golf course, two croquet lawns (pack your country club whites), a state-of-the-art fitness center, and tons of hiking and biking trails. Amenities like gaslit fireplaces, fluffy white duvets, and outdoor terraces make rooms so comfortable you'll never want to leave.

But foodies should definitely get out: The Culinary Institute of America at Greystone is less than three miles away, the flagship Restaurant at Meadowood is managed by Michelin-starred chef Christopher Kostow (spring for the 12-course tasting menu), and there are cooking and mixology workshops to get hands-on instruction in layering flavor and custom-crafting cocktails.

Calistoga Ranch, an Auberge Resort, Calistoga
City-slickers, meet the Great Outdoors. At this 157-acre luxury resort in Calistoga, it's all about the getting out into the natural environs. The free-standing, cedar-shingled lodges are each hidden among the wooded surroundings and complete with an outdoor deck and fireplace.

Spend your days lounging by the pool, indulging in treatments at the organic spa, or hiking the leisurely trails. You can also pop into downtown Calistoga, where the main drag, Lincoln Avenue, is filled with tasting rooms, restaurants, and cute boutiques.

Las Alcobas, a Luxury Collection Hotel, St. Helena
Within walking distance of downtown St. Helena (an adorable one-lane road, really), Las Alcobas provides a quiet, convenient stay smack-dab in the middle of wine country. Couples literally sleep next to the vines: The 68 guest rooms and pool overlook the circa-1875 Beringer Vineyards.

Grab a Napa Valley Cab and park it on your spacious outdoor balcony (outfitted with a gaslit fireplace), or pop down to the barn-inspired spa, where treatments use luxurious Naturopathica products and the fitness studio offers classes in yoga, barre, circuit training, and more. If you want to explore the area, borrow a set of bikes and request a picnic lunch prepared by celebrity chef Chris Cosentino.

Calistoga Motor Lodge & Spa, Calistoga
For a totally unique set-up, book a stay at this new 50-room property, located at the northern end of the Silverado Trail. New York-based design firm AvroKO reimagined at 1940s motor lodge into a chic, minimalist dream. Rooms are clean-lined, with youthful, Insta-ready accents.

Hang by the pool (complete with hammocks and analog games), take in views of the Mayacamas Mountains from your twin Adirondack chairs, or retreat to the colorful spa, modeled after a classic bathhouse, with seven treatment rooms, geothermal mineral water-fed pools, a fun "mix your own" mud bar, and relaxation garden.


Photo courtesy of Meadowood Napa Valley


Archetype, St. Helena
It's hard to find more romantic set-up than this boutique restaurant in downtown St. Helena. The glass-enclosed space is filled with twinkle lights and candles aplenty -- all the better to see your delicious plates, most of which are cooked on an oak-fired oven and grill using the best local and seasonal ingredients from Northern California. (Don't miss the standout grilled halibut with asparagus, english peas, green garlic aioli, and blood orange vinaigrette.)

The Farmstead at Long Meadow Ranch, St. Helena
It's hard to find a more farm-to-table experience than this eco-chic restaurant in St. Helena. The local fave serves elegant dishes prepared with organic, sustainably sourced ingredients. There might just be two of you at the table, but meals here are best enjoyed family-style.

If you go for dinner, start with the wood-grilled castroville artichoke and caramelized beets with Skyhill Farms goat cheese crema, before digging into mains like wild-caught petrel sole with black rice or smoky-sweet chicken, cooked under a brick and served with braised cannelini beans, greens, and salsa verde.


Photo courtesy of Olaf Beckmann

Round Pond Estate
As you take a seat on the relaxed outdoor patio of this limited-production estate, with views of the Mayacamas Mountain range in the distance, the "Napa vibes" will be all-consuming. Allow them to wash over you as you taste smooth estate wines, each paired with artisan-crafted bites.

Want a more in-depth experience? Book a behind-the-scenes tour of the vineyard with Round Pond winemaker, who will teach you all about terroir, grape maturity, and the fermentation process. Afterward, you'll indulge in a multi-course, wine-paired lunch made with the seasonal ingredients from the estate's own garden.

HALL Rutherford
While the flagship HALL winery, located on St. Helena Highway, offers top-notch tasting experiences, honeymoon couples should look to the Rutherford estate for a more exclusive experience. As part of the VIP Appellation Exploration Tour, couples can explore the Hall family's private estate, overlooking the valley, before heading to the downstairs tasting room--outfitted with an Insta-worthy Swarovski-crystal chandelier.

As you sample limited-production wines, expect to fall in love with the complex yet easy-drinking vintages. (Pro tip: Order custom bottles, etched with your new initials to drink on the one-year anniversary.)

Newtown Vineyard
This expansive vineyard is as beautiful as it is historic: It' was founded back in 1977 and is set on the dramatic slopes of Spring Mountain, overlooking the valley. Now, it's owned by the luxury fashion conglomerate LVMH (which owns high-end brands like Louis Vuitton, CĂ©line, and Christian Dior). That's not to say the experience is unnecessarily bougee. In fact, it's quite intimate -- just you and a few other guests will walk the 260-hectare estate before tasting both single-vineyard and blended wines in such varieties as merlot, cabernet franc, chardonnay, cabernet sauvignon, and petit verdot.

Domaine Carneros
Pulling up to this winery on the south end of the valley, and you might think you've transported to France. That's because the chateau-style estate was founded by the Taittinger family--of Taittinger Champagne fame. Naturally, bubbly is the main drink on offer. To really hone your palate, book a tasting with a "Wine Educator," like the custom Connoisseur's Tasting, which includes sips of six premium wines of your choosing, served with specifically paired artisan cheeses, smoked salmon, and other delicious bites.

In case you missed it:

Traveler's Joy Complete Honeymoon Destination Guide for Napa Valley, California

5 Honeymoon Suites Worth Wiping Your Savings For

The Top Adventure Honeymoon Ideas