Book by: ASAP
Travel by: Various through Winter 2008
With North America's harvest season around the corner, it's time to start planning your wine country getaway. Oenophiles will love the deals we've found to bucolic vineyards at home and abroad! These include a boutique Napa inn, a romantic lodge in Washington's Woodinville region, a deluxe château in France's Médoc wine country; an ultra-stylish lodge in Argentina's Mendoza province; and an award-winning property in South Africa's Winelands. Now you can savor the fruits of the vine around the world from just $229 per night!
Wine extravaganza in Napa from $229 a night
For a town-and-country combo in the prime U.S. wine destination — the Napa Valley — we recommend a stay at Napa River Inn. With an excellent downtown location, this boutique 66-roomer is part of the 2.5-acre Napa Mill riverfront complex of award-winning restaurants, galleries, shops and wine-tasting rooms. Historic ambience seamlessly blends with up-to-date amenities at this ultimate charmer, where rooms come in two design styles: Victorian-inspired or nautically-themed. Gayot.com writes, "The whimsical design in this 1884 landmark has an almost gaudy French sensibility, although its fireplaces and exposed brick walls make it feel cozy at the same time." The inn currently offers a superb wine package, valid through November, for $229 per couple on a midweek night ($259 on weekends). This covers lodging in an executive room; in-room breakfast; a wine tasting; and two downtown Napa wine tasting cards.
Escape to Washington's Woodinville wine country
For a less crowded Bacchus-inspired escape, head to Washington's Woodinville wine country. Nestled in the Sammamish River Valley, just 25 miles north of Seattle, this scenic region has become the Pacific Northwest's premier destination for wine lovers, graced with a nearly two dozen wineries. This harvest season, explore the area while staying at high-rank Willows Lodge, an 86-room rustic retreat surrounded by 20 lush acres. Inside, guests are treated to tasteful Northwest-inspired décor, a full-service spa, and two highly-ranked restaurants. The Lodge, ranked as "One of the World's Top 50 Most Romantic Getaways" by Travel + Leisure, offers a Woodinville Wine Country package for only $275 per couple starting in September. This rate includes one night in a deluxe guestroom; arrival wine tasting in the Fireside Lounge; and wine samplings at two Woodinville wineries.
Learn about wine in France's Médoc Region
If you want to learn about the great Bordeaux vintages, why not head to France's celebrated Médoc wine country? Here, you should absolutely splurge on a stay at Château Cordeillan-Bages, an exclusive property housed in a 17th-century manor house. Rates aren't low, starting at €190 ($262) for a standard double but the sojourn is worth every cent. You could also book the overnight package with breakfast and dinner for €205 ($283) per person. Of the hotel, Frommer's writes, "In a region obsessed with fine wine and fine food, this emerges as the most consistently celebrated restaurant and hotel. The spacious guest rooms are decorated in a style that emulates the Hôtel Ritz in Paris ..." But what makes this spot so special is the nearby L'Ecole du Bordeaux where you can live out your winemaker fantasies and listen to famous guest lecturers on all things wine-related.
Savor the wines of Argentina's Mendoza Province
Want to head south for a tasting of delicious Malbecs that Argentina is famous for? We suggest a trip to Mendoza, South America's center of viticulture and the heart of Argentina's thriving wine industry. This scenic town tucked into the foothills of the Andes is best visited in February and March, when the grape harvest season kicks into full gear with a variety of festivals in and around town. For a unique stay here, we recommend top-rated Cavas Wine Lodge of which Travel + Leisure writes, "Chef Sebastián Flores runs the tiny candlelit restaurant of this 14-room property, set on 35 acres outside Mendoza, offering plates such as rib-eye steak with a pepper chimichurri sauce. Dine with a view of the mountains to the sound of chirping crickets, then sleep it off in an adobe villa with a private plunge pool." During the peak winter season, rooms here go for a hefty but worth it $350 a night (plus a 21 percent room tax).
Stay at South Africa's award-winning Wine Inn
To savor the vintages of South Africa, we suggest a sojourn at Le Quartier Français, an intimate auberge situated in the French Huguenot valley of Franschhoek. This award-winning property is consistently ranked one of the best places to stay for wine aficionados. Per person rates here start at $209 a night through October (they may increase slightly for later fall and winter stays), with complimentary breakfast included. This property was rated one of the world's top ten wine country inns by Gayot.com that writes, "Le Quartier Français places great emphasis on luxury, privacy and a sense of romance. Here, less than an hour east of Cape Town, the inn invites you to relax in one of fifteen lyrical guest rooms that open onto a flower-filled courtyard; two additional suites feature their own private pool. The Tasting Room, under the direction of award-winning Chef Margot Janse, is renowned for its innovative cuisine and superb wine list."
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