Inside one of Napa’s most secluded luxury boutique hotels
Despite the pandemic shutdown and the annual threat of wildfires in the region, tourism to Northern California’s Napa Valley hasn’t slowed down—but the pattern of when people come to stay has changed. Pre-pandemic, most resorts and wineries saw the largest influx of guests on the weekends, but now many people—especially locals and domestic tourists—choose to come up during the week, work remotely from a hotel or Airbnb, and then enjoy the wineries and restaurants in the evenings.
For visitors looking for a mix of privacy, luxury, and plenty of space, the Poetry Inn is an ideal choice. First opened in 2005, the boutique hotel just completed a major renovation. The elegant estate has only five rooms, each themed to a different famous writer: Emily Dickinson, Robert Frost, Robert Louis Stevenson, Walt Whitman, and e.e. cummings.
The only accommodation in Napa’s Stags Leap District along the Silverado Trail, the hotel offers some of the best—if not the best—accessible views of the Napa Valley floor. It’s a short (but steep) walk to the road at the bottom of the hill, but guests can get an even better view (as far as a glimpse of the Salesforce Tower in San Francisco, on a clear morning) by hiking a trail upward.
Designed by architect Howard Backen with an interior refresh with Erin Martin Design, the designers wanted to pay respect to the original timeless elegance of the property while bringing it up to date with contemporary and edgy touches. To bring the poetry theme to life, the team commissioned graphic artist Michael Duté to design new print work paying homage to the specific poet after which each room is named.
All rooms are host to a king-size bed with supersoft Italian linens, a wood-burning fireplace, hand-hewn wood floors, a private balcony with a daybed, HDTVs (with Netflix and Apple TV), a minibar, free Wi-Fi, and original artwork. All balconies face west, making for some spectacular sunset views. The bathrooms are spacious and built of rose limestone and marble. Each bathroom has dual vanities, a large soaking tub, lounging furniture, and both indoor and outdoor showers with rain showerheads.
Guests can opt to enjoy breakfast, included in each stay, on the main veranda with other guests, or in the privacy of their own rooms on their outdoor patios. Breakfast isn’t to be missed, but if you’re scheduling lunch later in the day, plan for a late meal as breakfast will definitely tide you over for hours. The three-course gourmet breakfast starts with fresh orange juice, coffee, and Bouchon Bakery pastries, followed by seasonal dishes such as market hash with maitake mushrooms, kale, sausage, and fried egg; buttermilk waffles topped with sweet crème fraîche; and smoked salmon atop brioche. Lunches and dinners are available by prior arrangement with a local chef, or by the house chef, Lynn Vita.
Poetry Inn also serves wines from the Lede Family Wines portfolio through the property’s private cellar. (For this reason, among others, guests under 18 years of age as well as pets are prohibited.) Lede Family Wines encompasses three distinct wine brands: Cliff Lede Vineyards and Poetry, located in the Stags Leap District, and FEL Wines in the Anderson Valley. Art and music each play huge influences on the wines here—from the original art and live music featured at the winery as well as the names of both the wine vintages and even the blocks in the vineyards (which are typically assigned simple numbers). For example, instead of fruit coming from block 123, it might be grown and sourced in block “Bohemian Rhapsody.”
To sample more wines, the tasting room at Cliff Lede Vineyards is just down the hill across the Silverado Trail. Guests can opt for tastings at a number of different locations on the property, including a charming outdoor patio, an art gallery with rotating exhibits, and at the modern tasting room with breathtaking views of the valley and surrounding Vaca Mountains as well as an interior view into the state-of-the-art production facility.
Reserved Table tastings are available for $60 per person and feature current releases from Cliff Lede and FEL Wines. Collectors may opt for the VIP tasting, which features single vineyard, appellation, Platinum, or library wines from Cliff Lede Vineyards and FEL Wines for $90 per person. Tastings are also available in the Backstage Tasting Lounge, which features rotating exhibits from well-known artists, as well as music memorabilia, for $90 per person. All experiences require reservations.
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