Haute Hotels: Auberge du Soleil

What began as a fine California-French restaurant created by Claude Rouas, a leading San Francisco restaurateur, has evolved into one of America’s most sought-after small luxury hotels and a perennial recipient of the hospitality industry’s highest honors.

Perched on the slope of Rutherford Hill overlooking Napa Valley, the Auberge quickly gained recognition as one of the leading restaurants in Northern California, not only for its superb cuisine, but also its spectacular views of the valley below. In 1985, responding to guest demand, Rouas and business partner Robert Harmon opened the inn, a collection of sun- and earth-toned maisons housing 50 rooms and suites, each with French doors opening onto private terraces and sweeping views of olive groves and the vine-studded valley. The suites enchanted guests with their elegantly rustic furnishings, handmade tile floors, abstract paintings and French doors leading to private terraces and sweeping views of the valley below.

The inn opened to immediate acclaim. Critics called it “Casa Vogue;” “the kind of hotel so often found in Europe – secluded, discreet and elegant – and with wonderful food;” and “a masterpiece of design.”

Auberge Spa opened in 2001 and continues to be one of the most acclaimed spas in the industry. With its fountains, private gardens and outdoor soaking pools, the spa provides a physical and emotional barrier from the outside world, offering a setting for peaceful rejuvenation.

Dubbed La Plage, the hotel’s outdoor pool is a sun-drenched spot where guests can spend lazy hours lounging poolside on oversized chaises or underneath gauze- draped canopies on day beds for two.

The Auberge’s French-accented California style and soft-spoken luxury echo the character of Napa Valley, a place to savor the bounty of fine food and wine and immerse oneself in an exquisite natural setting. Under the direction of Executive Chef Robert Curry, the Restaurant at Auberge du Soleil has earned international recognition, including back-to- back Michelin stars.

Since the inn’s opening, guests have been drawn to the Auberge for its privacy, tranquility and unmistakable romance. Romance and all that it entails — escape, total privacy, and the intimacy of having a beautiful spot to share — is an important part of the allure of Auberge du Soleil.

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