In the heart of Yountville, mere steps from some of the nation’s best restaurants and wineries, the Vintage Estate’s immaculately manicured grounds are home to Spa Villagio, V Marketplace (packed with galleries and specialty shops), Michael Chiarello’s Bottega Ristorante, and two distinctly different, but equally charming hotels - The Vintage Inn and Villagio Inn & Spa.
We began our tour at the Tuscan style Villagio Inn & Spa, whose lobby cocktail bar was bustling with guests, wine glasses in hand. We took to the resort’s outdoor walkways lined with streams of water and stone fountains and made our way to The Vintage Inn, where we would stay the night.
The older of the two hotels, but not lacking in charm or character, The Vintage Inn lobby was warm with solid wood accents, and a French Chateau feel. We were led past the pool and up a wooden staircase to our junior suite and were pleasantly surprised as we opened the door. The suite’s vaulted wood-beam ceilings gave the room a spacious, airy feel, a wood-burning fireplace was topped with a sizeable flat screen TV and the dining area with wet-bar and Nespresso machine was inviting enough to eat in, despite the temptations outside.
Eager to explore the estate’s main attraction, we quickly changed and made a beeline for the spa. A world class facility with sixteen treatment rooms, including five spa suites, Spa Villagio’s imposing iron doors gave way to a central atrium where we were greeted with hibiscus water and left to brows the eclectic spa shop.
Separate facilities for men and women each included a lemon-infused steam room, sauna, experience showers, and private outdoor area with Jacuzzi, fireplace and loungers. The comfy relaxation room was dotted with plush chairs centered around a glowing fireplace and huge flat screen TV. I was picked up by my therapist and taken to the spa’s second level to a private spa suite where I would receive the Serenity Shirodhara treatment.
Based on ancient Ayurvedic practices, Shirodhara is meant to provide relief from stressful thoughts and promote better sleep. The treatment began with the application of oil to my entire body, which was then enveloped in a warm blanket and left to absorb while peppermint oil was applied to my scalp and gently massaged for deep penetration and nourishment. As the scalp massage wound down, I felt a layer of anxiety dissipate.
My therapist poured a light stream of warm oil on my forehead in a zigzag formation from side to side, and then held the stream steady in one spot – my third eye. As the stream continued to steadily flow and trickle back into my hair, I found myself incapable of forming a single thought. It was as if I was forced to clear my mind and think of absolutely nothing. My therapist continued with a foot massage as I lay there without a care in the world. When the oil stopped, another scalp massage followed, my hair now lathered in oil. The massage soon moved on to my neck and shoulders and the intensely warm envelopment was subsequently removed.
I remained still and in a meditative state for quite some time before I slowly rose and sauntered out to the patio. Two sunken multi-jet tubs awaited, along with a selection of spa nibbles, a pot of white ambrosia tea, and champagne.
Thoughts of gourmet cuisine began to arouse my appetite, and I found myself in a quandary. Would it be Michael Chiarello’s Bottega Ristorante or one of Thomas Keller’s legendary fine dining establishments?
Too difficult to decide, and probably too late to make a reservation, we opted for dining by the fireplace in our cozy guest suite. A couple loaves of fresh bread from Bouchon Bakery, vino, a selection of artisan cheeses, and a chocolate dipped macaron would do it. I prepared our spread and laid it out near the crackling fireplace where we sipped, laughed, and talked to the wee hours.