Fodor's Expert Review Meritage Resort and Spa
875 Bordeaux Way, Napa, California 94558, USA See on Map
A world unto itself, the Tuscan-inspired Meritage supplies all the experiences travelers expect of the Napa Valley right on property. Guests can stroll vineyards, visit a wine cave, sip wine in the cave's tasting room, and enjoy (also in the cave) spa treatments. The resort, which has a fine-dining restaurant and a café, tosses in a bowling alley and a sports bar for good measure.
YOU SHOULD KNOW In the southernmost tip of the Napa Valley, about 4 miles below downtown Napa amid a triangle formed by two unseen highways (traffic noise isn't an issue), the resort counts numerous light-industrial businesses among its neighbors.
Spacious rooms with contemporary upscale decor occupy two three-story buildings—the main one, which also contains the lobby, the restaurant and a café, and event and meeting spaces and the newer Bordeaux building, where the gym, Crush Lounge, and more event spaces can be found. All the rooms have king or queen beds, writing desks, flat-screen TVs and DVD players, safes, and refrigerators. A complimentary bottle of wine awaits guests upon arrival, and free bottled water is replenished daily. You can charge smartphones and other electronics in the dual USB ports in the bedside alarm clocks.
The extra space in Premier and Deluxe rooms, which have patios or balconies with vineyard views, allows for a sofa bed; some of the smaller Superior rooms also have the outdoor areas but are furnished with a chair instead of the sofa.
All rooms have spacious bathrooms stocked with Fresh body washes and other products. Bathrooms in the Bordeaux building have marble floors, vanities (many with two sinks) with granite counters, and tiled showers. Ones in the main building are similar but have ceramic-tile floors. All are well lit and have magnifying makeup mirrors.
Marble-tile floors, a vaulted wood-beam ceiling, and a two-way fireplace surrounded on both sides by plush furniture set an elegant tone in the lobby, a relaxing space to check email or glimpse the comings and goings of fellow patrons. Fruit-laced water is available near the elevators, and the lobby bar serves drinks from the late afternoon (earlier on weekends) until after dinnertime. Concierge desks are located near the back.
The adults-only south-facing pool, heated year-round, receives sun all day long. Cabanas and lounge chairs line the space, and from mid-spring to mid-fall the poolside bartenders churn out cocktails that include frothy numbers inside hollowed-out coconuts and pineapples. Guests with children have free use of a nearby sister property's family-oriented pool.
Inside the wine cave and one of the resort's major highlights, the softly lit Spa Terra has a soothing ambience. Swedish massages (deep tissue also available) are among the most popular treatments, along with the Ultimate Renewal Experience, which involves a body scrub, a scalp massage, and warm stones. Sparkling wine and chocolates add a touch of romance to the Couple's Escape, which takes place in a candlelit room with a deep soaking tub and two massage tables. The specialty oxygen facial gently hydrates the face while softening lines.
Loaded with Precor and Lifefitness equipment, free weights, Corebags, a weblike True Stretch station for optimum stretching, and a Peleton bike with an attached screen for live-stream spinning classes, Meritage's fitness center is state-of-the-art. Floor-to-ceiling doors with vineyard views open up to let in fresh air, and towels and filtered and bottled water are in ample supply.
Some of the Napa Valley's best dining spots are within a 10-minute (Napa) or 20-minute (Yountville) drive, but Siena, the hotel's main restaurant, provides a ready option for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. You can also share plates like sticky ribs or cast-iron quesos or order a burger, tacos, or a BLT at the Crush Lounge. Blend, a café with grab-and-go items, has coffee and tea and serves a few breakfast and lunch items plus soft-serve frozen yogurt.
A large sports bar with a dozen screens showing various events, Crush Lounge has a six-lane bowling alley and pool and shuffleboard tables to keep guests entertained. Craft beers are a specialty, as are cocktails that include Grey Goose cosmos, Bulleit Bourbon manhattans, and the Crusher Cadillac, made with Don Julio Reposado Tequila, lime juice, Cointreau, and Grand Marnier.
The resort lies 4 miles south of downtown Napa off Highway 221 (the southern extension of Soscol Avenue, the street's name downtown). Beyond large Grape Crusher statue along Highway 29, accessible by foot from the hotel's vineyard, there's little of note within walking distance, making a car pretty much a necessity. A shuttle whose fare is included in the resort fee runs daily between Meritage and downtown Napa from midafternoon until about 10:30. Many guests use ride-hailing services as well.
Many good restaurants can be found in downtown Napa, all about a 10-minute drive from the resort. The concierges report that Ristorante Allegria, for Italian inside the century-old First National Bank, tops the list of guest favorites, with Morimoto Napa, the Japanese restaurant of Food Network Iron Chef celeb Masaharu Morimoto, a fairly close second. Other popular choices include Oenotri for pizza and rustic Italian and Charlie Palmer Steak for major beef action.
Among the downtown Napa bars guests love, all a 10-minute or so drive from the resort, Napa Palisades Saloon ranks high for its own microbrews, craft beers from other producers, and lively weekday happy hour. A few blocks south, the bar at Morimoto Napa is a good spot for a classy cocktail, as are the Charlie Palmer Steak lobby bar at the Archer Hotel Napa and, after its Spring 2018 debut, the hotel's rooftop bar. Blue Note Napa and Silo's, both on Main Street, have full bars and present live music.
WHY WE LIKE IT
Although some guests find Meritage too removed from the main Napa Valley action, the hotel provides a full-service resortlike experience that in the off-season competes on price with more lavish alternatives. (In-season, the rates are less competitive, but then again they are everywhere else, too.) At the far southern end of Napa and not convenient to the upvalley towns of St. Helena and Calistoga, the hotel offers spacious rooms and a handy shuttle to downtown Napa, and its spa rates a shout-out.
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