The Hospitable Nature of Napa Valley

Auberge Resorts was conceptualized to consolidate the various facets of the family’s hotel brands in 1996, but before that Auberge du Soleil helped define the landscape of Napa Valley’s hospitality industry by developing a serene property set amongst the natural splendor of the valley. Situated on a tree-lined hilltop, Auberge du Soleil enchants guests with its alluring views of the valley below and its European-influenced rooms and suites. By focusing on the intrinsic topography of the area, Auberge is a captivating resort that entices guests to enjoy the best that Napa Valley has to offer. Not only that, Auberge du Soleil is a member of Relais & Châteaux, the global hospitality association of intimate, elegant, and independently owned hotels and acclaimed restaurants. And they are in good company. Local members of this elite association include Meadowood Napa Valley—whose owner, Bill Harlan, is the cover subject of this issue of Haute Living San Francisco—as well as Chef Thomas Keller’s The French Laundry, and one of the newest establishments in Sonoma Valley, Les Mars Hotel.

On a grassy garden path at Auberge du Soleil, the I. Wolk Sculpture Gallery invites guests to tour 110 figurative and abstract works by California artists. First established in Napa Valley in 1990, I. Wolk Gallery dedicates itself to showcasing a range of emerging and established artists, and its outpost on the Auberge du Soleil property reinforces the resort’s dedication to the cultural environment of the region. What’s more is Auberge’s commitment to providing its guests, as well as local patrons, with a superior dining experience. The Michelin-rated Restaurant at Auberge du Soleil and the Bistro & Bar boasts one of the most extensive wine lists in the valley.

“I spent a lot of time thinking about what makes a small resort successful,” says Mark. “From a physical point of view, we wanted to open properties in resort areas, and we wanted our properties to reflect the area lifestyle.” That mentality led him to expand the family business and develop properties throughout the U.S. and Mexico that would combine local culture with intimate, personalized service.

The first addition to the Auberge collection was Esperanza, in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. Harmon stumbled upon the property when a developer, interested in building a small luxury hotel in Cabo, telephoned him. The decision to partner on this resort, which was built from the ground up, was a no-brainer for Harmon. “It is a spectacular piece of property on the cove—dramatic, easy access from California, and I thought we couldn’t do any better than this.” Building on the character and natural elements of the sandy Mayan Riviera, Esperanza is mixed with a great sense of proportion and local flavor.

Other properties under the Auberge umbrella followed suit, attracting even more patrons to the splendors of Mark’s native Napa Valley. Solage Calistoga Resort was built to provide Napa Valley with “a little bit more of a fun, contemporary, family-oriented environment,” says Mark. The property’s separate children’s pool and play area, as well as its pet-friendly policy, allow a broader demographic of tourists to enjoy the treasures of the community. And certainly the utilization of eco practices throughout proves Auberge’s dedication to the preservation of this abundant area.