Upscale-casual luxury is the goal of this hillside beauty that opened in 2017 next door to Beringer Vineyards. Part of the Starwood chain's Luxury Collection, the full-service resort, complete with spa, vineyard-view pool, and destination restaurant, has understatedly swank interiors fashioned by the design firm Yabu Pushelberg, responsible for a sister Las Alcobas property in Mexico City along with the Waldorf Astoria Beijing, The Modern in Honolulu, and Four Seasons hotels in Manhattan and Toronto.
YOU SHOULD KNOW The hotel's website describes Las Alcobas as "an adult-only retreat" that "does not permit children 16 or under."
Two contemporary two-story structures made of concrete, stone, wood, steel, and glass hold most of the rooms. The bright-white Georgian–style Acacia House mansion between them, which dates to 1907, contains six rooms and the hotel's restaurant and bar. Soft browns and cool whites in all the accommodations (there are nine suites) contrast pleasingly with the lighter greens of surrounding vineyards—visible from many rooms through floor-to-ceiling windows and glass sliding doors—and the darker hillside forest hues farther east and west. Pillowtop beds, plush furnishings and linens, state-of-the-art electronics, and twice-daily housekeeping contribute to the aura of intentional yet offhand elegance.
Two popular corner junior suites, both about 1,000 square feet and with fire pits on their L-shaped balconies, are on the second story facing the pool and Beringer's Home Vineyard.
Sliding barn doors harking back to the Napa Valley's agricultural roots open to reveal spacious marble-tile bathrooms with commodes separate from—depending on the room—the shower, tub, or both. Light-gray marble, soft lighting, and fresh-cut flowers set a calming tone in all the bathrooms, some of which have deep soaking tubs.
A small space on the side of Acacia House functions as a front desk, but most guests never set foot in it. Staffers instead escort them from a nearby roundabout directly to their rooms for check-in, along the way explaining the 3.5-acre property's layout and features.
YOU SHOULD KNOW All parking is by valet at Las Alcobas.
Lounges with soft Galliano-colored cushions edge the deep-aqua rectangular heated pool, beyond which oversized sofas and chairs and a large fire pit are positioned so close to Beringer's Cabernet vines you can almost touch them. On a warm sunny day, the setting evokes equal parts Las Vegas chic and pastoral paradise.
The Napa Valley has no shortage of havens for relaxation and rejuvenation, but the resort’s atrio spa may well be the most serene of them all. Italian marble, Brazilian ipe wood painted a healing gray, and soft natural lighting contribute to a blissful ambience enhanced by regimens that combine aromatherapy, Asian healing modalities, and artisanal products made with organic herbs and spices.
Therapists here have been trained to meditate daily to help them reach the level of harmony they strive to achieve for spa clients.
The hotel's fitness center, open 24 hours, has Life Fitness and TRX equipment and a yoga and meditation studio. Outdoors are a fire pit and a relaxation area.
Celebrity chef Chris Cosentino, a winner on TV's Top Chef Masters and a San Francisco restaurateur of renown, developed the farm-to-table menu at the Acacia House restaurant. The open kitchen and a tan-brick fireplace are the focal points of the dining room, painted a rich gray and decorated in minimalistic contemporary style. The restaurant serves the breakfast that's included in the room rate, along with lunch, dinner, and room-service fare. Among the lunch and dinner starters that quickly found favor were the ice-cold crudité with sunflower-seed hummus and the hamachi crudo. As with the entrées to follow, the presentation is impeccable. The menu changes often but the PBLT (pork belly, lettuce, and tomato) sandwich for lunch and 30-day dry-aged striploin au poivre for dinner are two mainstays. Cosentino made his reputation with meat dishes, but noncarnivores won't feel left out: beet tarte tatin with smoked mascarpone, risotto with kabocha squash, and rigatoni with kale pesto all graced a recent menu.
In good weather, you can dine on the wraparound porch, a good spot for a pre-dinner cocktail even if you'll be dining inside.
The bartenders at Acacia House's sleek modern lounge mix up equally sleek signature drinks. Sea-salt foam topped with lime-skin shavings are the secret to the frothy success of the photogenic Margarita Las Alcobas, a welcome import from the resort's Mexico City sister. The other big hit is the Acacia Cocktail, whose combo of gin, honey, crème de violet, and a dash of sparkling wine invites reorders on hot summer days.
On Highway 29 and just a few blocks north of Main Street shopping and dining, Las Alcobas is within a short drive of several dozen wineries. Although most patrons aren't apt to take public transit, VINE Bus 10 stops near the resort, which provides car service on weekends. Complimentary bikes are available for guest use, as with the car on a first come, first served basis.
Downtown St. Helena restaurants within walking distance—each about 15 minutes (three minutes by car)—include Cindy's Backstreet Kitchen for comfort food with international influences, Cook St. Helena for sophisticated northern Italian, Goose & Gander for American dishes that pair well with the bar's zippy cocktails, Market for American classics with a Latin twist, and Terra for old-school romance and prix-fixe Italian and French cuisine with Japanese influences. For a memorable, if pricey, steak (excellent wine list), head south of downtown to Press (5-minute drive).
With the bar at Acacia House steps away from your room (which the bartenders will send a cocktail to), there's no need to head off property. Should you need a change of pace, check out the speakeasy-like downstairs bar at Goose & Gander (15-minute walk) or head over to Bar Terra (15-minute walk), inside a historic fieldstone building.
WHY WE LIKE IT
Las Alcobas Napa Valley hits all the right notes, starting with its hillside location between vineyards and downtown. Palms tower over the beautifully restored Acacia House, a respectful nod to the Napa Valley's past that with its destination restaurant and invitingly modern bar immediately evolved into a locus of Wine Country cool. From the tranquil spa to the refined yet underplayed room decor, everything here feels ritzy but unpretentious, the focus more on comfort than ostentation.