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The quirky Danish-themed village of Solvang, California was made extremely popular by the movie, "Sideways" but visitors have long come to the town because of its proximity from Los Angeles (about two hours away) to the wineries of Santa Ynez valley. Oh and let's not forget Solvang's excellent Danish pastries, especially the aebelskievers.
The hotel scene in the town is mostly small independent spots that are often wine-inspired, like the Wine Valley Inn and the more upscale Hotel Corque or old world Danish-themed like the King Frederik Inn or the Viking Motel. (There's also a neighboring casino/resort, Chumash.) But the newcomer on the scene, The Landsby is paying homage to the town's Danish roots in a more contemproary way.
Opening on April 23, The Landsby is a 41-room boutique hotel that's been completely renovated from its old days as a "The Petersen Village Inn." (Landsby actually means "village in Danish.) The guestrooms at the hotel are bright and happy with a residential feel but most importantly, the decor is more in line with what you'd find in Denmark today, not 500 years ago.
Got wine? A new boutique hotel in Barcelona does and its design concept is pretty...intoxicating. Hotel Praktik Vinoteca, as its name suggests, is a celebration of wine, art and design. But mostly wine.
Theme hotels may come and go, and weíve seen some that have long outlived their stay. Not the case, so to speak, with Praktik Vinoteca. This is by all counts a design hotel that also comes with a reasonable price tag. What's more, this is artsy, soulful Barcelona, so you know itís going to be hip and attention grabbing. Grab a glass, cleanse your palate and letís have a look around.
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It's peak harvest season for winemakers, where they're getting grapes prepared for their next vintage. Depending on the climate and part of the country, the process can begin in August, but it usually lasts right to until the end of October.
This is when wine lovers are excited to witness the magic and sheepishly live out their "I Love Lucy" fantasies and stomp some grapes. While the practice isn't really done anymore for hygiene reasons, there are a few wineries that will do it as part of a festival or kitsch.
Still, the autumn splendor, fall foliage, and rows of vines are reason enough for us to have a crush on these hotels in some of the country's top winelands.
1. The month-old Salamander Resort & Spa, just 40 minutes from Washington D.C., is lucky enough to be surrounded by almost 50 wineries. On Saturday October 12th, chef Todd Gray can pack guests a gourmet picnic basket as they head to the Fall Crush festival at the Winery at Bull Run. There, one can literally help stomp out poverty by taking part in grape stomping activities. There's also corn holes and live bands for added entertainment, all while trying local Viogniers and Meritages. 100% of the proceeds from the event will support Meant 2 Live Foundation and FACETS, which helps parents, their children, and individuals suffering the effects of poverty in Fairfax County and also Orphans of Zambia. Rates at the resort begin at $425.
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Itís fall and if you are anything like us, youíre excited about turning leaves, unpacking some sweatersÖ and wine. Well, letís be honest, we are always excited about wine. But it just so happens that fall is also wine season and that means grape stomping, wine tasting and, more specifically, a very special festival in Napa. Allow us to elaborate.
Two of the main components that make the Central Coast of California so unique, the combination of wine country and the ocean, are now available in one place at the Bacara Resort & Spa in Santa Barbara.
The upscale hotel, known to host big-names such as Michael Jordan and a number of celebrity weddings, recently opened a new on-site tasting room called The Experience (name needs work?), bringing many of the area's wines directly in-house. We have to say that the room looks beautiful, and the ocean-views of the property will no doubt make guests rethink whether the drive up to the Santa Ynez wine country is necessary.
The wine list includes pours from all over the world with a spotlight on local vineyards, including Firestone, Foley and Lincourt. Interestingly enough, and perhaps a bit surprising, tasting at the Bacara is not significantly more expensive than it is at the wineries themselves. Flights of four are $10 and flights of six are $15 at the Experience, while a flight of six is $10 at Firestone Winery, for example. When you factor in the 45-minute ride to wine country from the Bacara, the prices are rather reasonable.
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Forget taking day-long bus tours of the chateaux with hordes of tourists. Instead, itís easy and relatively inexpensive (about $60 each way) to hop aboard Franceís high-speed TGV trains and make the 75-minute journey from Gare Montparnasse in Paris to the city of Tours, which is famous for its, well, towers.
The Suites Beranger is housed in an 1860 mansion that has been beautifully restored by the married couple who own it and act as hosts. It fronts one of Toursí main roads--a 10-minute walk from the train station, or two minutes in a taxi.
We always love a good pinot. We also love a stellar locale and a stunning property. And if we really could have everything we'd wish for a fabulous restaurant and an award-winning spa too. So guess what? After a lot of soaking, tasting and sipping we found it--the Allison Inn & Spa in Newberg, Oregon.
Located in Oregon's wine country everything at the inn is all about wine. You can spend an entire day here, sipping, soaking in and tasting everything vino.
The level of sophistication of all of the various offerings here might seem rather incongruous in this laid back area of the Willamette Valley but it is all Northwest elegance down to the collection of local artwork, design, spa treatments, food and level of service.
Everywhere you look from the room design to the restaurant dťcor to the welcome goodies in your room, you see the owner's hand and the elegant touch of Managing Director Pierre Zreik, himself a five-star hotel veteran.
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While we wait for the Andaz Amsterdam to open its Wanders-ful doors in October, there's another Andaz Hotel opening closer to home--The Andaz Napa.
Formerly, an AVIA hotel in the city's "West End" neighborhood, the property has been undergoing an Andazformation over the summer and is now expected to reopen on September 7th. Right now on the hotel's website, we were only able to find rooms for September 28 at $299 a night for a classic king, but the hotel will definitely open sooner than that.
Now here's a rundown of what has changed at the hotel:
· Instead of a traditional front desk, the hotel now sports an Andaz Lounge where guests can check-in either via iPad, tabletop computer or on the way to the room. A host will greet them and give them a galss of wine to enjoy as they take in the new, regionally-inspired design elements from California architecture and design firm Bishop Pass, including a wall-length map of Napa Valley.
We love luxury hotels but we can't always afford to stay in them. Thankfully, hotels these days are way more than just rooms for paying hotel guests. Between visiting the lobbies, bars, restaurants, and spas inside these upper echelon hotels, it's practically as good as staying the night. Here's our latest installment of how to quench your champagne tastes on a Coca-Cola budget with a Hotel Day Trip.
Wine-tasting in Sonoma can get tiring--the hot sun, the dry heat and the constant light-headed buzz can start to wear you down after even just a day. Which is why we popped into the Hotel Healdsburg for some much needed R&R from um, our vacation.
We booked a pedicure at the hotel's spa which ended up being one of the best hotel pedicures in recent memory. The treatment was simple--just an aromatic foot bath, the usual cut-file-trim procedure, followed by a generous foot scrub and massage and finished off with the polish.
Yet there were a few touches that made it not just memorable but deeply relaxing. The spa chair was a vibrating massage chair but it wasn't clunky or loud--just a smooth, low roll up and down our backs. The treatment room itself was quiet. There's only two chairs and the other wasn't occupied during our visit. Our therapist also left us alone to sleep, er, read in peace--no silly small talk was made.
Hotels putting out their own brand of wines is nothing new but it is quite unusual to hear of a private wine label from an Embassy Suites Hotel. Yet when the Embassy Suites opens their hotel in the Horn Rapids golf community of Richland, Wash., next year that's exactly what the hotel will have.
The hotel will sit on three acres of vineyard which will be open for guests to tour and explore. Grapes from the vinyeard will be used to make the private label wine that will be sold exclusively at the hotel and of course, offered in the hotel's full service restaurant and Bistro wine bar.
But don't worry, you won't be stuck drinking just Embassy Suites wine. The hotel promises to feature over 160 wines from wineries located within 60 minutes of the hotel.
We love us some wine travelóthe tastings, the food, the activities, and especially the long naps. Thatís why itís important to find just the right place to stay wherever we go wine-tasting in the world, and why HotelChatter contributor Eric Rosen fills us in on a boozy B&B he visited on a recent trip to Chile.
Since itís #WineWednesday, we got to thinking about some of our recent wine adventures including a visit to Chileís famous Colchagua Valley, where we happened upon a little Relais & Chateaux property at one of the areaís best-known wineries: Casa Lapostolle.
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Itís been a while since we hit the Valley. Napa Valley, that is. But we had a hankering for great wine and fine food last month, so we headed up to NorCal for a little bit of epicurean living, and while there, happened to stay at the newest hotel in the Valley: the Hotel Yountville.
Of course you're invited in to take a look at our exclusive photo gallery and walk-through video of our Premium Suite, but hands off the wine...