We’re offering the ultimate travel inspiration for wine lovers: Club Oenologique’s guide to the best wine hotels in the world. While in the past, a trip to a top wine region could easily have involved a vineyard tour or two, these days, you can take it even further with luxurious overnight stays in the heart of established and rising wine regions.
Wine tourism seems like an incredibly compelling prospect after so much time spent exploring the world’s best wine regions from the comfort of our own homes. And what better way to get fully immersed in 2022 than by resting your head in wine country.
Our list of stunning properties – from historic châteaux in France to pinnacles in modern architecture in the Americas – offer a trip like no other. Some of the below wine hotels deliver the full experience, from vinous-themed spa treatments to infinity pools where you can swim up to views of the vines below. Others combine wine with modern art or Michelin Star cuisine. You’ll find a smattering of hotels based at the winery itself, while others are ideally positioned to explore all regions like Burgundy, Stellenbosch, Napa Valley and La Rioja have to offer. Ultimately, though, all of our top 50 wine hotels boast beauty, luxury and a unique window into the world of wine.
Reviews by Amanda Barnes, Jo Bates, Nina Caplan, Jonathan Cristaldi, Natasha Hughes MW, Fintan Kerr, Malu Lambert, Adam Lechmere, Giles MacDonogh, Sophie McLean and Charles Metcalfe. Prices correct at time of publishing.
The 50 best wine hotels in the world
- The best wine hotels in Italy
- The best wine hotels in France
- The best wine hotels in South Africa
- The best wine hotels in Australia
- The best wine hotels in Spain
- The best wine hotels in New Zealand
- The best wine hotels in Germany
- The best wine hotels in the USA
- The best wine hotels in Argentina
- The best wine hotels in Chile
- The best wine hotels in Portugal
- The best wine hotels in England
- The best wine hotels in Uruguay
The best wine hotels in Italy
It’s hard to conjure an image as evocative as the volcanic peaks of Salina island rising out of the Tyrrhenian Sea. The Tasca d’Almerita family, which owns five estates in Sicily, created Capofaro as an expression of love for wine and the sea; to stay at the resort is to immerse yourself in the essence of both.
The hotel – part of the dependably reassuring Relais & Châteaux collection – sits next to a 6ha volcanic vineyard planted with the island’s indigenous grape Malvasia delle Lipari, which has its own appellation and produces both a dry and a sweet white. The resort overlooks vineyard and ocean, its 27 rooms each boasting a terrace stretching out to the sea. (Six of the rooms are in the former lighthouse-keeper’s lodgings; the family bought the 19th-century lighthouse in 2017.) The restaurant practises ‘zero-kilometre’ cooking, with 70% of the ingredients sourced from the kitchen gardens. Salina is known as the ‘green island’ due to the fertility of its volcanic soils. The Capofaro property has a garden spa and private beach and all the other facilities of a top-class international resort, but it also has a timeless, natural charm thanks to the fact that you’re on an almost-deserted island in an archipelago that has been celebrated by poets for millennia. Adam Lechmere
Castello di Ama Gaiole
One of the most extraordinary estates in the Chianti Classico zone, Castello di Ama brings wine and hospitality together with some of the most celebrated names in modern art: Louise Bourgeois, Roni Horn and Anish Kapoor are the creators of just three of the 16 site-specific pieces that have been commissioned by owners Lorenza Sebasti and Marco Pallanti since 1999.
Castello di Ama is at the forefront of the renaissance of Chianti Classico; the estate’s L’Apparita 2016 Merlot was awarded 100 points by critic Antonio Galloni. Its restaurant, Il Ristoro di Villa Pianigiani, looks out over the 75ha of vineyard and specialises in traditional Tuscan food, much of it grown in the estate’s gardens. About an hour’s drive south of Florence, the hotel is intimate, with five suites – one with an open fire – that offer splendid views over the rolling Chianti hills.
Above all, though, Castello di Ama is ideal for art lovers. The estate, Pallanti says, ‘has three legs: landscape, wine and art, each one intimately connected with the other two’. Many of the pieces, such as Polish artist Mirosław Bałka’s work amid the steel blending vats, are wine-specific. When she visited, Frances Morris, the director of London’s Tate Modern, said, ‘The lovely thing about this collection is that you have to seek the works out. It’s the opposite of a sculpture park.’ AL
Castello di Buttrio Udine
Friuli Venezia Giulia
Dotted with vineyards and villages that look as if they haven’t changed in generations, the northeastern corner of Italy, a stone’s throw from the Slovenian border, is a magical part of the country. Vines have been cultivated in Friuli since the Middle Ages; the Felluga family has been making wine here for more than 150 years and today farms some 250ha across the region.
When Marco Felluga bought the Castello di Buttrio in 1994, his intention was to restore it to its 17th-century glory. His daughter, winemaker Alessandra Felluga, began a project that included the recovery of historic vineyards, building a winery and opening a hotel in the castle. And what a hotel – from the vast baronial hall to the eight beautifully appointed bedrooms, history practically oozes from the stone walls.
Situated as it is on top of a hill, there are superb views across the vineyards and far beyond. Yet for all its splendour, there’s something endearingly modest about Castello di Buttrio: the bistro, Osteria al Castello di Buttrio, is intimate (and cosy in winter, with a blazing log fire) and specialises in local Friulian dishes. The wines made from local varieties – white Friulano and Ribolla Gialla, red Refosco and Pignolo – are characterised by intense fruit and acidity and are well sought after by wine lovers. Last year, Felluga started adding silk weave to the labels, to mark the recent discovery that the castle had in the past been used for breeding silkworms and was at the centre of silk production. It’s a captivating place. AL
Monaci delle Terre Nere
Zafferana Etnea, Sicily
In recent years, the slopes of the active volcano Mount Etna have formed one of the most dynamic wine-producing regions of Italy. Now the region is turning to oenotourism, too.
In 2007, Guido Coffa and his wife Ada Calabrese took over an 18th-century monastery and turned it into a fine hotel surrounded by 6ha of regional varieties Nerello Mascalese, Nerello Cappuccio, Catarratto and Carricante. Coffa’s four renowned wines also include a Grenache; the variety was brought to the island centuries ago by the French and is known locally as U’Ranaci. The hotel itself boasts 27 rooms spread out around the 25ha estate; the buildings have been sensitively restored, and the rooms (as you’d expect of a Relais & Châteaux property) are generous, light and furnished to a peak of luxury. The newest rooms have been constructed with a variety of local materials – including volcanic stone – and decorated with modern artworks.
Between Taormina and Catania, the hotel is well placed for beach excursions and horseback tours up to Etna’s crater zone, though it’s a pleasure just to stroll between the handsome buildings and tree-shaded pool. Another reason not to leave is the excellent, airy Locanda Nerello restaurant, which sources almost all of its ingredients from either the hotel’s kitchen gardens or local producers. And the wine list is a treat, featuring Coffa’s own estate wines, as well as an imaginative selection from all over Italy. AL
To say Palás Cerequio sits among the vines is an understatement: this fine Barolo manor house and its outbuildings look as if they have grown organically out of the vineyards, which cover every inch of available land north, south, east and west. Palás Cerequio is a hotel dedicated to Barolo; Cerequio itself is one of the most renowned Barolo crus and owner Michele Chiarlo one of its most respected producers. A two-hour drive southwest of Milan, this is, above all, a wine estate, its nine suites and rooms promising ‘the luxury and magnetic charm of a total immersion in the world of Piedmont wine’.
Barolo nerds will find their interests amply catered for: precious documents are displayed in the 6,000-bottle cellar, including an original 1879 monograph by Lorenzo Fantini, the viticulturist who first named Barolo the ‘king of wines’. Rooms are either classically luxurious or ultra-modern, with huge picture windows looking out over the vines; everything from Vespa hire and truffle hunts to in-room massage and a comprehensive tasting programme are on offer. And for its reopening in 2020, Chiarlo secured the services of the Michelin-starred chef Francesco Oberto to run the restaurant. AL
Rosewood Castiglion del Bosco
When fashion mogul Massimo Ferragamo bought Castiglion del Bosco in 2003, it was a derelict feudal town; today, it’s among Italy – even the world’s – top wine resorts, a paradise of cypress-shaded enclaves and sympathetically restored ancient buildings. These include a medieval castle and the chapel of San Michele Arcangelo, with its priceless 14th- century fresco. There are also 62 hectares of Brunello di Montalcino vineyards, which yield very fine wine.
You have to negotiate several kilometres of dusty and potholed strade bianche to get to Castiglion del Bosco, which all adds to the sense that you’ve found an enchanted enclave in the hills – indeed, bewitched or not, there’s little reason to leave.
The resort offers 42 suites, two restaurants (including the delightful Osteria La Canonica, a trattoria in what was the priest’s house – his bread oven is now used for pizza), several bars, an infinity pool with views over the rolling Tuscan hills, a spa, a Tom Weiskopf-designed golf course and 11 villas, all restored to the peak of luxury. Most impressive of all is the way Ferragamo and his wife Chiara have preserved the integrity of the old estate. You might have arrived by Ferrari to stay at Tuscany’s most exclusive (and expensive) wine resort, but as you stroll down the cobbled avenues towards the carefully preserved chapel, you feel the ghosts of the past are never far away. AL
The mountainous South Tyrol boasts some of the most beguiling scenery in Europe, with charming towns and villages set against the dramatic Alpine backdrop and the air pure and clean. It is unmistakably Italian, although the hillsides are dotted with chalets, and the robust cuisine – a fusion of Alpine, Italian and central European dishes – sees dumplings, polenta, and Germanic dishes such as knödel, spaetzli and goulash sharing the menu with Veneto specialities such as pasta e fagioli.
Just outside Merano, Schloss Plars dates from the 14th century, but it was extensively renovated in the late 19th century and turned into a classic Tyrolean castello. It was bought by the Theiner family in 1911, and the estate was turned over to viticulture. Current owners Andreas and Irene Theiner oversee vineyards of Chardonnay, Merlot, Pinot Bianco, Schiava and Lagrein, planted on slopes 450m above Merano.
Meanwhile the handsome schloss – with its covered walkways and infinity pool, terraces and verandas overlooking the snowy peaks of the Dolomites – is now a 12-room agriturismo. The rooms are generous and comfortable, with fine oak furniture and window bays stretching straight out to the vineyards; you can also visit the 100-year-old cellars. You can’t dine at the hotel, but the area is rich in excellent restaurants, four with Michelin stars, including Gerhard Wieser’s two-star Castel Fine Dining.
There are many reasons to love this part of Italy, not least the charm of the wines – the delicate but intense red Lagrein and Schiava, the whites with their fresh fruit and piercing acidity – and this fine, unassuming but upscale retreat is a perfect base for a gastronomic and vinous holiday. AL
The Bisol family of Prosecco fame has done more than anyone to revive Venice’s winemaking tradition, searching out vineyards planted to the near-extinct Dorona di Venezia grape and making small quantities of very distinctive wine. Bisol’s Venissa hotel on Mazzorbo island, 35–60 minutes by boat from Venice (depending on departure point), is set in a remote, ancient, walled vineyard that, via a bridge, gives access to the more bustling Burano.
Venissa is a boutique retreat, with five comfortably upscale rooms overlooking the lagoon; it’s a charming, out-of-the way place. Most compelling of all is its Michelin-starred restaurant run by Francesco Brutto, whose international reputation is based on the dishes he creates using only seasonal fish and seafood, along with vegetables from the hotel’s gardens. The wines are unlike anything you’ll taste in this part of Italy, in part because the grapes acquire salinity from acqua alta flooding and the salt in the atmosphere; Venissa Bianco and Venissa Rosso (made from Dorona and Cabernet Sauvignon/Merlot respectively) are intense and savoury. The white in particular – with its extraordinary balance of salinity, luscious stone fruit, honey and acidity – is as strange and haunting as the fine old vineyard from which it comes. AL
The best wine hotels in France
Château de la Resle
As in the Médoc, Burgundy’s wine regions are not blessed with a wealth of choice when it comes to hotels based in vineyards – which is undoubtedly why Mark Nunnelly and Denise Dupré, the US owners of Clos de le Commaraine in Pommard, have just started work on an upscale hotel due to open on the property in 2023.
In the meantime, this chic, unfussy hotel in Burgundy’s pretty northernmost enclave combines contemporary luxury, an eye for design and an eco-conscience. Owners Johan Bouman and Pieter Franssens – two Dutchmen with a discerning interest in modern art – have decorated each of the nine bedrooms with a connoisseur’s flair. Their ivy-wrapped château is just 20 minutes’ drive from the vineyards and restaurants of Chablis, and once a week, Bouman and Franssens serve an organic, locally sourced, home-cooked meal of their own, with a strong emphasis on vegetables.
There’s a heated outdoor pool, electric bikes for exploring the vineyards, and a sauna, with the option to book a massage or private yoga session. And for those who can’t bear to venture out, on the days when they aren’t cooking, the owners are happy to provide seasonal gourmet platters. Nina Caplan
Château St Pierre de Serjac
The eastern Languedoc is one of France’s most exciting wine regions, where the quality of its output has improved far beyond common perceptions. As a base to explore the sub-appellations of Faugères, Picpoul de Pinet, Pic St-Loup or Terrasses du Larzac, Château St Pierre de Serjac (which also has its own vineyard) is ideally situated; there are even bikes for a quick zip to highly regarded nearby estates such as Domaine de l’Arjolle.
It is equally tempting, however, to go nowhere at all, given the eight luxurious bedrooms in the château, plus a range of self-catering accommodation in the outbuildings, the restaurant and wine bar, heated pool and spa, tennis court and 220 acres of garden, woodland, olive groves and vineyards.
In addition to a sister hotel – Château Les Carrasses, a little farther west – the owners, winemaker Laurent Bonfils and hoteliers Karl and Anita O’Hanlon, are opening a third property, Château Capitoul, near Montpellier this summer. Between them, the three hotels appear to have the whole eastern Languedoc covered. NC
Château Troplong Mondot
Premier grand cru classé Troplong Mondot sits atop St-Emilion’s highest hill: the only place to gain a better panorama of the vineyards and the medieval white-stone town would be the top of the extraordinary Gothic church’s tower – but then you’d miss the tower itself.
The Keys of Troplong Mondot, newly repurposed as luxury accommodation, has exposed beams, stone fireplaces and three bedrooms all with superb views; the terrace faces the 18th-century château and the town beyond. Guests can dip in the slate-lined outdoor pool; book vineyard tours, tastings and yoga sessions; or explore the 43ha estate themselves, on bikes. Manager Aymeric de Gironde’s preoccupation with sustainability and biodiversity means there are woods and vineyards to cycle through, as well as horses (employed to work the soil) to admire.
There’s also a cosy two-bedroom Vineyard House to rent in the grounds – or you can hire the whole tastefully modernised five-suite château, complete with bespoke meals by chef David Charrier, whose restaurant on the property, Les Belles Perdrix, reopened this spring after a three-year refurbishment. Unsurprisingly, several other top St-Emilion estates have ventured into tourism: Château Pavie has Hotel de Pavie (formerly Hostellerie de Plaisance), with Yannick Alléno now overseeing the restaurant; almost next door is Michelin-starred restaurant Logis de la Cadène, with its three rooms and two suites, which belongs to Château Angélus. NC
La Maison d’Estournel
Louis Gaspard d’Estournel, the eccentric 19th-century owner of Médoc second growth Cos d’Estournel, lived in a charming manor house three miles away from the château. Michel Reybier, the hotelier and entrepreneur behind La Réserve Group, which bought Cos in 2000, purchased that property (previously known as Château de Pomys) in 2017 and has since turned it into an elegant 14-room hotel.
With the notable exception of Château Cordeillan-Bages, this is the Médoc’s first top- tier vineyard accommodation – and it’s lovely. Never mind admiring the estate’s vines (and the Gironde estuary beyond) as you dine; you can do so as you go about your ablutions, in a free-standing tub or a shower curved to resemble an oak barrel. In the ground- floor bistro-style restaurant, with its jewel-coloured upholstery and parquet floor, the vegetables all come from an on-site kitchen garden, and the wine list is as mouthwatering as you’d expect.
As well as tastings of Cos in the original cellars, a stay here includes access to the château’s well-judged visitor experience and magnificent cellars. For those who want an even more rarefied trip, Reybier’s private residence the Chartreuse, actually on the Estournel estate, is available to rent in its entirety. With eight perfectly appointed bedrooms (including two suites), dedicated staff and an indoor pool, it’s ideal for a very upmarket group getaway. NC
Les Sources de Cheverny
The sumptuous Les Sources de Caudalie, right at the heart of Château Smith Haut Lafitte in Bordeaux has been a sought-after combination of wine estate, super-luxe hotel and exceptional spa for more than 20 years; now Alice Tourbier, the owners’ daughter, has taken the signature combination of grape-based beauty treatments and lavish accommodation to the Loire Valley in the form of Les Sources de Cheverny.
The small château has been sensitively reimagined as a spa, pool, recreation rooms (there’s yoga on the parquet floor) and spacious bedrooms; there’s also a snooker room, rows of Wellington boots for tramping through the surrounding forest (with a foraging guide, if desired) and an outdoor Jacuzzi. More modern accommodation, including a honeymoon suite bordering a small lake, clusters around a restaurant, a wine bar and a mini-farm, with goats named after local grape varieties.
The rows of bikes – and relatively flat landscape – are ideal for a whistle-stop tour of the riverside, vineyards and châteaux for which this area, the former playground of France’s kings, is famous. Unlike at Smith Haut Lafitte, the Tourbiers don’t own vines here (they have an agreement with Philippe Tessier next door, who makes their house wine), but the location affords access to local AOCs Cour-Cheverny and Cheverny, with Vouvray and Montlouis-sur-Loire a short drive west. NC
Royal Champagne Hotel & Spa
For one of the world’s most renowned luxury brands, it’s odd that Champagne has only recently gained its first contemporary luxury hotel. The Royal Champagne makes up for the shortfall – from its triple-height entrance hall, to the 16,000-sq-ft spa and pool and terrace, as well as balconied rooms that seem to float above a sea of vineyards, the serious wine traveller is amply catered for.
The south-facing terraces offer panoramic views of the jewels of Champagne – the villages of Epernay, Äy, Chouilly, Cramant and Avize – all shimmering in the afternoon sun. Tours of the vineyards (by quad bike, horse or private jet) and visits to producers are part of the package, of course, or in both restaurants, Le Bellevue and the Michelin- starred Le Royal, you can ‘tour’ the Champagne houses, with cuvées chosen to complement chef Jean-Denis Rieubland’s hyper-local dishes.
This isn’t one of France’s most populated regions, and as night falls over the vineyards there’s little to distract from the darkness other than sparse constellations of light from the fine old villages that surround you. Rural luxury in the world’s most famous wine region – and soon to come to Burgundy, too, with the opening of a sister hotel there this summer. AL
Villa La Coste
Le Puy-Ste-Réparade, Provence
Paddy McKillen, the owner of this Provençal centre of art and gastronomy, calls himself a ‘simple innkeeper’. He’s also a prolific art collector, and La Coste is his personal project. Alongside and among the vineyards – which produce a range of organic AOC Coteaux d’Aix-en-Provence and IGP Portes de Méditerranée reds, whites and deliciously fresh rosés – is an extraordinary sculpture garden, with installations by the world’s greatest artists and architects.
The gardens are open to non-residents, but you shouldn’t miss one of Provence’s most beautiful hotels. Villa La Coste’s vast, white-walled reception rooms and balconies (filled with artworks, naturally) look out over the sun-drenched Provençal hills; the 28 spacious suites are luxuriously but minimally appointed. From the vineyard tours and wine courses (taking in the splendid steel cellar by Jean Nouvel), to Argentinian superstar Francis Mallmann’s restaurant, La Coste is a gastronomic and vinous paradise for art lovers. AL
The best wine hotels in South Africa
Welcome to the Garden of Eden. Set at the foot of the Simonsberg Mountains, Babylonstoren is a working wine farm and organic gardens with a spa, boutique hotel, cottages and restaurants. Situated close to the great South African wine regions of Paarl, Stellenbosch and Franschhoek, it makes an idyllic base from which to explore.
Owner Karen Roos is the former editor of Elle Decoration and she has opted for a modern aesthetic to contrast the rough-hewn rural aspects of the farm’s original architecture. Whitewashed walls of thick stone, intact Cape Dutch gables, thatched roofs and vaulted glass greenhouses thick with foliage sit side-by-side with the contemporary glass boxes which house the tasting, kitchen and dining areas.
Dating to the late 1600s, Babylonstoren is imbued with history, from the manor house (established in 1777) to the old cellar, fowl house, dovecote and leaning bell tower. An abandoned cowshed was transformed into the renowned Babel restaurant, which takes its ingredients (the approach is ‘pick, clean and serve’) from the sprawling kitchen gardens.
The accommodation has been designed to harmonise with the landscape; the original hotel and cottages come complete with small, shuttered windows and old-fashioned green doors. The cool interiors have glassed-in kitchen and dining areas which serve farm produce: fruit, olive oil, rooibos tea and the estate’s award-winning wine. There’s a spa, daily farm activities such as planting or picking, swimming and canoeing, and you can take a bike to explore the hidden corners of this rural utopia. Malu Lambert
Boschendal Wine Estate
For an authentic, holistic farm experience, start here. One of the oldest wine estates in South Africa, the 1,800-hectare Boschendal looks firmly to the future with a focus on sustainable agriculture. On the edge of Franschhoek, this seemingly boundless estate incorporates organic kitchen gardens, seas of vineyards, Angus cattle and a dozen other breeds of farm animal all threading through its venerable history (the farm’s original title deeds are dated 1685).
There’s a variety of accommodation, from Cottage 1685, a South African National Heritage Site with vine-shaded verandah, polished wooden floors and a magnificent four-poster bed, to the modern and airy Orchard Cottages, the Werf Suites, the remote, pet-friendly Trout Cottage and more affordable two-bedroom cottages.
Wherever you decide to stay, listening to the buzz of cicadas as you sit on your veranda under the unpolluted night sky, is non-negotiable. There are multiple eating options: ‘soil to fork’ fine dining at the Werf restaurant, hearty farm meals at the Deli, picnics, a farm shop and butchery and a series of tutored wine tastings.
Boschendal is also child-friendly (‘Free-range kids go wild!’) with a tree-house adventure playground, mountain-bike track and various guided activities (‘parents not recommended to join’). ML
Delaire Graff Estate
Rightly crowned the ‘jewel of the Cape Winelands’, this multifaceted wine farm glimmers in the airy light atop its Banghoek perch. Located on the highest crest of Helshoogte Mountain Pass, jeweller Laurence Graff, who bought the estate in 2003, has carved a remarkable experience in the highest part of Stellenbosch.
Delaire – it means ‘from the eyrie’ – was so named for its birds-eye view of the valley, and the location is indeed stunning. The estate hosts an ultra-modern winery, two celebrated restaurants, jewellery and clothing stores as well as the luxurious lodges and spa. The estate and gardens also showcase parts of Graff’s remarkable art collection, several hundred works, including monumental sculptures, by contemporary artists as well as South African masters such as William Kentridge and Dylan Lewis.
The architecture of the lodges, with gables and thatched roofs, pays homage to the early Cape Dutch settlers. There are heated plunge pools, decks to take in the spectacular views, leafy garden suites – the ultimate in luxury escapism (and, naturally, you can choose your favourite style of pillow from an extensive menu).
There are two main restaurants, the ‘bistro-chic’ Delaire Graff, and Indochine, where chef Virgil Kahn specialises in Afro-Asian cuisine, ‘inspired by his Cape Malay heritage and epicurean journeys through Asia’.
For the dedicated wine lover, there are tutored tastings in the dramatic tasting room; the wines – a comprehensive range including Sauvignon Blanc and Chenin Blanc, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Shiraz, Cabernet Franc – have an international reputation. ML
You can’t get closer to the heartbeat of Cape winemaking heritage than at the three-centuries-old Lanzerac Estate. Its Cape Dutch buildings saw the dawn of viticulture in Stellenbosch (it was also the first estate to produce a bottled Pinotage in 1959).
After a fire in 2017, the original buildings were restored, their heritage respected and the luxury amplified. A long, oak-lined driveway pulls you in to the extensive grounds, with springy green lawns and vineyards in every direction, the distant Jonkershoek Mountains framing the scene.
There are 53 rooms and suites to choose from, each individually decorated with Old World charm: sumptuous textiles and modern opulence paired with antiques and rolling vineyard views. Modern niceties are all accounted for, including underfloor heating in the bathrooms. Some rooms have private plunge pools and loungers. The Lanzerac Spa lays on a variety of treatments and wellness packages to be enjoyed while you take in panoramic mountain views.
There are three restaurants at the estate; if you want to explore, Stellenbosch’s historic town, a vibrant community with restaurants, galleries and museums, is nearby. Lanzerac is also located on the edge of a nature reserve, threaded with scenic walks, cycling tracks and shady places to read and dream. ML
The L’Avenir Country Lodge
L’Avenir – which means ‘the future’ – dates back to the late 1600s, when the site was identified as suitable for grape-growing by the first European settlers. Its modern history as a winery started in the 1990s, and now owned by Michel Laroche of Chablis, it has an excellent reputation as a boutique Stellenbosch winery specialising in Pinotage and Chenin Blanc.
The Lodge, with its infinity pool and helipad, blends aspects of modernity with a nod to the past – black-and-white photographs of life in the winelands contrast with the elegant furnishings. This four-star hotel has been designed to optimise the views of the Simonsberg Mountains; the country-chic rooms have cowhide rugs and slow-moving ceiling fans; some open onto vine-covered pergolas, while the ‘Icon’ rooms come with a private deck, sun loungers and splash pool.
You’re deep in wine country here – the lovely town of Stellenbosch is a five-minute drive and Franschhoek half an hour – but the estate really has all you need, from wine tastings to mountain biking and running trails through the vineyards. ML
Quoin Rock Manor House
At 400 metres above sea level, the hilltop residence of Quoin Rock Manor House commands 360-degree views of the Stellenbosch winelands, with Table Mountain in the distance. On a clear day you can see all the way to the blue line of ocean at Cape Point.
The house, which sits in the middle of the Quoin Rock vineyards, can accommodate up to 14 people with four spacious double bedrooms, a honeymoon suite and separate guest cottage. The owner of Quoin Rock, Vitaly Gaiduk, aims to express his passion for art and music through every aspect of the estate, from the dramatic concrete eggs in the winery to the opulence of the interiors.
The Manor House rooms, bearing pictures by some of South Africa’s finest artists, are juxtapositions of modern, antique and luxurious styling. Equal care has been given to the layout of the gardens – the white water garden, a bougainvillea maze, a zigzag grass parterre, topiary courts and rose gardens.
All the staples of a modern luxury hotel are here: a sauna, pool and gym on site with the option to hire a personal chef and butler if you feel the need. There are various choices for eating, from the fine-dining restaurant Gåte (pronounced gah-tay and meaning ‘labyrinth’ in Norwegian) with elements of molecular gastronomy to luxury picnic pergolas. ML
The best wine hotels in Australia
Yallingup, Western Australia
The estate’s vines are on the right as the visitor turns into the secluded driveway of the Margaret River wine region’s best-known vineyard hotel, but if it’s sunset or sunrise, save your concentration for roaming kangaroos, of which there are plenty (we humans aren’t the only ones with a weakness for grapes).
Ideally placed between the small towns of Yallingup, Dunsborough and Margaret River, Cape Lodge has 22 luxurious rooms, an open-air pool and 40 acres of lush grounds to wander through; a 10-minute drive south passes wineries including Pierro, Cullen and Vasse Felix, while the same journey time west reveals the beautiful beaches edging the Indian Ocean.
Cape Lodge can organise horse-riding and cookery classes, although motivation may be hard to come by given the excellent restaurant and its location right beside the hotel’s private lake, tempting guests to just stay put and admire the view. Ingredients are locally sourced and of course, the wine is, too. Watching the sunset over the still water, glass in hand, air scented with honeysuckle and eucalyptus and soft with stored sunlight, is exactly the kind of experience that people travel to one of the world’s most isolated wine regions to enjoy. NC
Hotel California Road at Inkwell Estate
McLaren Vale, South Australia
The name raises the possibility that you can check out but never leave; with this eco-luxury adults-only accommodation on the Inkwell wine estate, just five minutes’ drive from the beach, it’s not clear why that would be a problem.
Co-owner Dudley Brown is the music fan; his wife, Dr Irina Santiago-Brown, is one of Australia’s foremost experts in sustainable viticulture. The winery is organic, and the building, with its tasting space with three airy and sunlit suites above, is made from (luxuriously appointed) shipping containers.
Each room features a large bath, a deck with views across the vineyards and a minibar of estate wines and snacks. There’s no restaurant, but a continental breakfast is provided and visitors are spoiled for a choice of places to dine nearby, from cellar doors such as d’Arenberg’s famous d’Arry’s Verandah to Star of Greece (despite the name, it’s not Greek but modern Australian) in Port Willunga. As for excellent wineries within spitting distance, Wirra Wirra, Battle of Bosworth and Gemtree are all 10 minutes’ drive, as is Woodstock, where you can even help feed baby kangaroos. NC
Mornington Peninsula, Victoria
The Mornington Peninsula, a sleepily beautiful wedge of land jutting into the Bass Strait, didn’t know quite what had hit it when Jackalope opened on the Willow Creek vineyard in 2017. A sleek black box containing 46 ultra-modern bedrooms, many with views over pool and vineyard, the hotel also features a fine dining restaurant, an informal bistro with views directly into the winery, and a cocktail bar where the drinks are as eccentrically inventive as the decor – marble bar, blue billiards table, gold chairs.
As for the art, it’s highly unusual, and it’s everywhere (along with wine it’s a passion of the owner, Chinese-born Louis Li). From Emily Floyd’s giant jackalope (a folkloric combination of jackrabbit and antelope) in the entrance courtyard to Andrew Hazewinkel’s agate-faced busts in the bar, the works are intended to be much more than decoration: they serve as interesting foil to the traditional beauty of the surrounding vineyards.
Beyond the estate, there are the wineries, farm shops and restaurants that have made the Peninsula famous, and of course, beaches on every side except north, where the delights of Melbourne are just an hour’s drive away. NC
Port Phillip Estate
Mornington Peninsula, Victoria
Despite the warmth of their pale beige tones, the rammed-earth walls of this architect-designed estate, home to the widely admired Kooyong wines, are somewhat forbidding. This makes for a marvellous contrast when the door opens to reveal the cellar door with its glass walls looking onto the vineyards below.
It’s spectacular but also friendly, the tasting bar on one side, the restaurant on the other and the large wooden deck with that incredible panorama, stretching across the vineyards to Western Port Bay and the Bass Strait. Tucked away downstairs are six ultra-luxurious suites, each with the bed facing a mini private garden and the vines beyond, so close you could almost pluck a grape as an appetiser before your basket of freshly baked breakfast arrives.
The large tub, Missoni dressing gowns and elegantly minimalist layout all indicate that the Gjergja family, who own the estate, have a clear philosophy that hospitality should be as carefully orchestrated yet as easy to enjoy as a great cuvée.
The two-night minimum stay offers the chance to compare the excellent restaurant upstairs with a range of options at the wineries nearby, from Paringa Estate’s spectacular top-end restaurant amid the vines to Polperro’s lunch on the lawn and T’Gallant’s pizzeria. NC
Sanctuary by Sirromet
Mount Cotton, Queensland
Queensland has many enticements, but the state isn’t known for its vineyards; Terry Morris founded Sirromet, in a belt of granite just south of Brisbane, with the firm intention of remedying that. He planted vines and built a state-of-the-art winery and tasting room just six miles from the coast, in a beautiful spot surrounded by national parks, conservation areas and golf courses – not forgetting that essential granite.
As well as a cellar door and a private event space, the estate has a Tuscan restaurant with fabulous views over Moreton Bay, or you can picnic in the grounds with a hamper; wine tastings and tours are available, and there’s even a helipad. The accommodation is glamorous glamping in tented pavilions, each with bathroom and private deck looking out onto wild bushland and neat vineyards, plus two pretty, well-appointed multi-bedroom houses, the Merlot House and Winemakers’ Cottage, for groups.
Sirromet makes a great base camp for exploring Queensland’s sumptuous coastline, from the sandy beaches of the Gold Coast to the rainforest inland. NC
The best wine hotels in Spain
Abadia Retuerta Le Domaine
Ribera del Duero
Abadia Retuerta is a 12th-century abbey converted to a hotel but retaining the echoing calm of the ancient monastery’s cloisters. Grand is the word. The approach down a long drive reveals the tall honey- coloured stone walls, a monastic fortress amid vineyards. Inside, your eye is drawn infinitely upwards to the old rafters of the entrance hall, and, having mounted a five- metre-wide stone staircase to your room, you find yourself in an even wider corridor lined with oaken doors.
The 30 rooms are spacious, wooden-floored and high-ceilinged, endowed with all the details you would expect from a Relais & Châteaux property, including fine soaps and fluffy bathrobes. Downstairs, where the monks used to eat oatmeal washed down with a small beer, the Refectorio is a Michelin-starred restaurant. Wine is integral to the daily life of the hotel. The vineyards – 200ha of organic Tempranillo, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah and Petit Verdot – surround the abbey, and it’s just a stone’s throw from the great estates of Ribera del Duero, to which visits can be arranged. When you finally return, surfeited with fine wine, there’s the Santuario centre, where ‘spa sommeliers’ will tailor a perfect journey of personalised wellness for you. AL
Hotel Bodega Tío Pepe
The historic heart of Jerez is, to say the least, atmospheric. The 17th-century cathedral towers over a labyrinthine network of whitewashed buildings, narrow streets, half-hidden courtyards and open plazas. Its Gothic facade, which glows golden in the Andalusian sun, is a landmark for tourists and residents alike. It’s a toss-up, though, as to whether the cathedral or its near-neighbour, the equally historic Tío Pepe bodega, attracts most visitors on a daily basis.
Until fairly recently, Jerez lacked a hotel that lived up to the splendour of either cathedral or bodega, but in 2020 Tío Pepe opened the doors to its luxurious new 27- room property. The hotel is based within the walls of the vast winery complex, in a series of renovated 150-year-old buildings that were once home to the bodega’s workers. Guests can enjoy all the benefits that you would expect from a modern hotel, but the highlights of a stay here might include watching the sun set over the cathedral and alcázar from the upper terrace as you sip a sherry cocktail; breakfast in the shady tranquillity of the Pedro Nolasco gardens; and the opportunity to wander at will around one of the region’s largest working wineries.
Should you fancy getting to grips with the local wines during the course of your stay, there are plenty of chances to immerse yourself in sherry culture, thanks to the wide range of winery tours, tutored tastings and vineyard visits available to guests. Natasha Hughes MW
Hotel Marqués de Riscal
Every time you look at the Hotel Marqués de Riscal, you think, ‘Really?’ Fifteen years after its unveiling, Frank Gehry’s titanium masterpiece, that rippling exuberance of shining metal (it’s meant to mimic the folds of a flamenco dancer’s skirts), still seems as if it’s been dropped in from another galaxy. It’s not that it’s futuristic; it’s just hard to imagine a century where such a building could be possible.
But it is – and one of the joys of this dynamic hotel is that it sits right in the middle of the village of Elciego. Some of the buildings here date back a thousand years; it’s a place where old men gossip on benches and tractors rumble by. You’re in the heart of Rioja, in one of its oldest – and let’s not forget, most reputed – bodegas, and you can go from your asymmetrical quarters (the great metal plates sweep past the bedroom windows) to visit Riscal’s 1860 cellars, walk in the vineyards or perhaps soak in the Caudalie Vinothérapie spa.
At sunset, Gehry’s titanium plates seem to change colour, from pink to gold to silver to blue. And if you look just to the north, across the river, you’ll see the twin towers of the 16th-century church of San Andrés looming over the village, the ancient stone turning deep gold in the dying rays of the sun. AL
Something about the warm sea air and bright sunshine of Barcelona and its environs simply demands you pay your respects to the vine when here. And a short 40 minutes to the west of the city, into the cooler, breezier hills of the Penedès, sits the embodiment of this homage, an extraordinary building shaped like a row of Cava bottles with the sun glinting off its surfaces and into the surrounding vineyards. Welcome to Mastinell.
Built in 2013 by CGA, the same architects as Trossos del Priorat, this boutique, 11-room, five-star hotel features a mosaic roof and elaborate curves inspired by the abstract mosaics – trencadís – of Antoni Gaudí. (He also designed the fairytale Celler Güell in Sitges, now a restaurant.) The hotel is situated in the middle of the vineyards, and you can arrange private visits to the winery, as well as extensive Cava tastings.
A dip in the pool followed by the very best of local cooking in the En Rima restaurant makes a perfect day in Catalonia. With prestigious neighbours such as Parés Baltà and Torres, there’s no shortage of opportunities for discovery, but the surreal architecture and the warmth, hospitality and luxury of Mastinell are the real treasures here. Fintan Kerr
Two miles inland on the rugged Balearic isle of Menorca, you’ll find Torralbenc. This smart boutique hotel and winery opened in 2013 after the 19th-century buildings were restored in the vision of a traditional Menorcan finca.
The first thing you see on arrival are whitewashed edifices topped with terracotta pantiles and pretty pink bougainvillea; but the true marvel of staying here is the view of the sparkling Mediterranean. Menorca has been a Unesco-rated biosphere since 1993, thanks to its stunning natural habitats and archaeological heritage. (A short stroll will take you to Menorca’s famous megaliths, many dating back to 1000 bce.)
Bodegas Torralbenc makes three wines from 10 grape varieties – including the indigenous Monastrell, Parellada, Malvasía and Manto Negro – from its 16ha of vineyards. All are bottled as Vi de la Terra de Menorca, the DO awarded to the island in 2002.
The small collection of bedrooms and standalone cottage are designed in the Menorcan style, with white walls, natural fabrics, wood and limestone; private gardens or balconies fill your room with aromas of rosemary and lavender. You can slip into wellness activities (also available to non-residents), ride a bike around the vineyards and dine at the award-winning restaurant overseen by Michelin-starred Basque chef Gorka Txapartegi. And if you think Menorca is only for the summer, try a glass of wine under a starry late autumn sky. In many ways, it’s what this magical island, and Torralbenc, secretly does best. Sophie McLean
The best wine hotels in New Zealand
Hawke’s Bay, North Island
The Peabody family clearly has remarkable vision. They established Craggy Range vineyard in 1998 in the Gimblett Gravels, which is not only the very heart of Hawke’s Bay wine country, but a sublime setting. As Craggy Range evolved to more and more of a prestige brand, they’ve added to their offering over the years, with Terroir restaurant and high-end accommodation, picking up numerous awards for every aspect of the business along the way.
With a checklist of the area’s beauty spots covered – the majestic Te Mata Peak and meandering Tukituki Valley and River – guests have their pick of luxury lodgings to choose from, with Craggy Range Lodge the flagship. Dressed in rustic sophistication, it has four king bedrooms, a formal lounge, chef’s kitchen, private pool and generous views. But if you don’t need all that space, the River Lodges and the Garden and Vineyard Cottages have many charms, including European-farmhouse luxe interiors and beguiling views. While all have kitchens, you may just settle for boiling the kettle and leaving the rest to the experts at the award-winning Terroir, helmed by chef Casey McDonald. Jo Bates
Gibbston Valley Lodge and Spa
Gibbston, Otago, South Island
The immersive wine experience at Gibbston Valley begins as you drive along the vine-flanked road to reach the main lodge. Surrounded by Central Otago’s lofty mountains and rolling rivers, the valley places you in prime position to marvel at the region’s world-famous landscape.
But Gibbston’s reason for being is wine, and with the lodge and villas situated in this pioneering organic vineyard, every experience is designed to appreciate the grape. You can even have an invigorating Pinotage-and-lime salt scrub at the award-winning spa (it’s rare now, but Pinotage has been grown in New Zealand for decades).
The lodge is the hub of the resort; in light of its naturally blessed setting, the schist-clad building aims to respect its surroundings but also make an impression with vaulted ceilings, a magnificent central fireplace and refined interiors. There are numerous spaces for guests to retreat to, including a library and bar, while the impressive outdoor fire pit is just the spot to sip on a Pinot and contemplate a starry night.
From the lodge, a landscaped path leads to 24 generously sized villas whose living areas flow out to a sheltered courtyard and vineyard views. Activities include a tour of the wine cave, dinner at the lodge restaurant, or an Aromavine massage at the spa. JB
Waipara, Canterbury, South Island
The PurePod, elevated above vineyards in a secret location on private farmland, is somewhere between glamping and highly engineered off-grid luxury. Encased in glass, with 360-degree views of the Waipara vineyards and snow-tipped Southern Alps, the PurePod places you in constant connection with nature.
The journey begins with a gentle hike across fields, over a stile and through native bush; as you approach your destination the PurePod pops into sight in the last few yards. With its glass walls, ceiling and petite footprint, this ethereal box retreats into the landscape while placing you in it, albeit in the utmost privacy. This is where the walls come down and time slows to the rhythm of nature. On a clear night, the sky sprawls in an unending sparkling magnificence – enjoy the stellar line-up from the deep comfort of your bed, or outside on the deck.
Guests typically stay here for two nights, which gives you enough for time to slow down, but not to a standstill. Beyond stargazing and navel-gazing, there’s cycling and walking through the vineyard and neighbouring farms, as well as a tour of Greystone’s organic vineyard and tasting at the cellar door.
The Waipara wine region, an hour north of Christchurch, has become a hub of organic and biodynamic wine, with Greystone and the likes of Black Estate, Hermit Ram, Pegasus Bay, Boneline and Terrace Edge leading the way. JB
Bay of Islands, North Island
Some of the world’s most spectacular coastal scenery is found in the Bay of Islands. A 400-hectare pocket of this unique landscape is home to The Landing, an exclusive rural retreat fringed with white-sand beaches. Best accessed by helicopter, four architect-designed residences and a sustainable vineyard are surrounded by contoured farmland, lush native bush, wetlands and sea views.
New Zealand’s wine story began in the Bay of Islands in 1819 when early missionaries planted the first vines – The Landing – and head winemaker Ben Byrne continues this pioneering spirit. The vineyard site was chosen for its microclimate, clay and sandstone soils, regular sea breeze and protection from prevailing winds. Positioned above Rangihoua Bay, the view isn’t so bad either.
Originally planted with Chardonnay and Syrah in 2007, the nine-hectare site also grows Merlot, Pinot Gris, Sangiovese, Malbec, Montepulciano and Cabernet Franc. All fruit from this boutique vineyard is pressed, fermented, barrel-aged and bottled onsite, and the wine cellar is a special place to enjoy what’s on offer. This elliptical stone tower, a commanding presence in the landscape, was designed by multi-award-winning practice Cheshire Architects, which also designed the villas.
For the wine buff, the Vineyard Villa is a must. As well as its soothing outlook to immaculate rows of vines, it also enjoys expansive views over a wetland valley and Wairoa Bay, where the glass walls of the home slide away behind stonework to transform the pavilion into an outdoor room. The Vineyard Villa sleeps six people in two equal-status king bedrooms and has a generous main suite. JB
The best wine hotels in Germany
The Mumm family, which started making Champagne in Reims in the early 19th century, can trace its German roots to the 12th century. Their main holdings were in the Rheingau, and it was there in 1873 that Peter Arnold Mumm built a charming folly at the top of the Johannisberg hill with fabulous views over the Rhine to the south, Wiesbaden to the east and Assmannshausen to the west.
The Mumms used it as a summer house until it was acquired by private investors in the 1950s. The former folly became a renowned restaurant, winning not one but two Michelin rosettes. When it became a hotel in the 1980s, there were originally just six cosy rooms available; in 2010 new buildings allowed for another 40 bedrooms, together with accommodation in the guesthouse. The hotel is now a member of the Relais et Châteaux group.
For its dining offering, at the top end, Schwarzenstein, run by chef Nils Henkel, concentrates on regional produce; German TV chef Nelson Müller operates the brasserie and salon, cooking up everything from currywurst to lobster thermidor.
The beautifully restored castle, high among the Rheingau vineyards, should be on the bucket list of any lover of German wines. Resident sommelier Michel Fouquet runs wine-tasting courses (there are also chef-led cooking courses) and you’re also within walking distance of Schloss Vollrads and the great vineyards of the Rhine. Giles MacDonogh
The wine estate of Gut Hermannsberg began life as a Prussian state copper mine; before 2009, labels from the estate were the most verbose in all Germany: Staatliche Weinbaudomäne Niederhausen-Schloßböckelheim, Schloßböckelheimer Kupfergrube Riesling Trockenbeerenauslese, for example. When the Reidel family (not to be confused with the Austrian Riedel family of glassware fame) took over in 2009 they rebaptised it Gut Hermannsberg – you can understand why.
Gut Hermannsberg now makes some of the very best wines in the Nahe. The position is idyllic, perched high above the region’s many volcanic rocks that sometimes have you thinking of The Flintstones. The steepest of slopes are covered with orderly rows of vines; one plot features wines from one of Europe’s longest cliff faces: the Bastei.
The new owners have also installed a modern restaurant, directed by Florian Müller to replace the homely Hausmannskost (home cooking) they served up in the old days. There are meals themed around the estate wines and in the autumn, you can order a whole goose for four.
There are comfortable rooms and apartments named after grand-cru sites such as Kupfergrube, Felsenberg and Steinberg. This is a truly ravishing place. You are far from the everyday bustle here and the estate provides hiking and cycling suggestions to make the most of the stunning landscape – and, above all, the vertiginous vineyards. GMD
Deidesheim is the heart of the Palatinate (the English name for the Pfalz), one of Germany’s most important wine regions; the town and its neighbouring village of Forst is the source of its best wines. During the Cold War, Deidesheim with its 3,700 inhabitants figured large on the world stage: the local man Helmut Kohl was German Chancellor and entertained the Queen here, not to mention Ronald Reagan, Margaret Thatcher, François Mitterrand and Mikhail Gorbachev. He tried to get them to sample the local speciality of Saumagen (stuffed pigs’ stomach) – only Mrs Thatcher refused.
Deidesheim has a quaint, old-fashioned feel about it, but inside, the 18th-century Ketschauer Hof is strikingly modern. It is the former home of the winemaking Bassermann-Jordans, one of the ‘three Bs’ of Deidesheim together with Reichsrat von Buhl and Bürklin-Wolf.
Since 2002, Bassermann-Jordan and von Buhl have belonged to the Niederberger family who in 2009 turned the house into a hotel, retaining some older features but filling the rooms with contemporary furniture and fittings. The Bassermann-Jordan winery is just across the road.
The Keschauer Hof is a gem set in the middle of a town dripping with old-world charm. There are two excellent restaurants: the Michelin-starred LA Jordan and the more relaxed Restaurant 1718. GMD
The best wine hotels in the USA
‘The air is wine. The grapes on a score of rolling hills are red with autumn flame,’ Jack London wrote after he had settled in Glen Ellen in the early 1900s. ‘I have everything to make me glad I am alive.’
Beltane Ranch, which has been in the same family for six generations, transports you back to the great American writer’s time. (The Jack London State Historic Park is a few minutes away.) Here the air is indeed wine: the lovely 1892 ranch house, with its latticed veranda, sits in the middle of 10ha of Sauvignon Blanc, Zinfandel and other varieties. A visit today might include a 4×4 trip around the ranch (it’s very child-friendly), wine tastings and alfresco dinners.
Beltane was founded as a working farm by ‘the mother of human rights in California’ Mary Ellen Pleasant – a legendary 19th-century African-American pioneer and supporter of the Underground Railroad – and it’s changed little in the past 150 years. The six rooms are furnished with antiques – carved or iron bedsteads, washstands and old watercolours – and from west-facing balconies you can see the splendour of a Sonoma Valley sunset.
This is an old-fashioned place: your breakfast eggs will come from chickens scratching the dirt around your feet, and the rooms have ceiling fans instead of air-conditioning. Some might consider that a drawback; others, a reason for coming back time after time. AL
Four Seasons Resort and Residences
Napa Valley, California
The highly anticipated debut of the sprawling, luxury Four Seasons Resort in Napa Valley – with its 85 airy farmhouse-chic guest rooms, suites, villas and 20 single-family private homes – has wine inextricably woven into its fabric. Not only has the resort been years in the making, so has its wine programme. The on-site Elusa Winery, run by veteran winemaker Thomas Rivers Brown, will open its doors sporting a well-stocked library (Brown began making the wine a decade ago), a private members’ lounge, tank room, barrel cellar, and outdoor gathering spaces on the 3ha organic vineyard.
The Calistoga resort has breathtaking views as standard; its Spa Talisa offers mineral-rich mud treatments (a Calistoga claim to fame); and there’s fine dining at the Truss restaurant, while Campo Poolside delivers Cal-Mexican fare. There are two outdoor pools, a bocce ball court and – this will interest parents – the Kids for All Seasons programme, with its creative, educational and recreational activities. Outside the resort, it’s everything a wine-country destination promises: shopping, wine tastings galore, hiking, biking, hot air balloon rides and more. Jonathan Cristaldi
Napa Valley, California
After the devastation of the 2020 fires that swept through Napa destroying many wineries and property, including a third of Meadowood’s cabins and its three-Michelin-starred restaurant, this much-loved hotel and spa is open again. It’s low-key, as yet – the golf course and croquet lawn are still closed, and only the southern half of the 100ha wooded estate is operation – but 36 cabins, the tennis courts, the luxurious spa, the café and the pools are open.
Meadowood is beloved of the type of wine aficionado who prefers old-fashioned hospitality to hard-edged luxury. The cabins – many reached by a steep, winding path – sit in acres of woodland, the peace only disturbed by the distant thwack of a tennis ball or the sawing of cicadas. All have log fires, along with every detail expected of a Relais & Châteaux property, from fluffy bathrobes to beds fit for an emperor.
The staff, every one of whom knows your name, are unfailingly friendly and efficient. As well as the facilities (as soon as the croquet lawn is open, you’ll once again be able to call on the services of a professional to improve your game), you’re in the middle of some of the finest wine country in the world, at a hotel belonging to the Harlan family, one of Napa’s most prominent and popular proprietors. At the entrance to the resort are the vineyards of the private members’ club the Napa Valley Reserve; and the great Napa appellations, from Spring Mountain to Stags Leap, are on your doorstep.
The hotel’s learning centre, which grew out of its long-established wine school, has excellent access to most estates – that’s if you can bring yourself to leave your room. AL
The best wine hotels in Argentina
Cavas Wine Lodge
Luján de Cuyo
After more than a decade in the hospitality industry, husband-and-wife team Cecilia Diaz Chuit and Martín Rigal built their lavish establishment within a 22ha vineyard estate in 2005. Soon achieving Relais & Châteaux status, each of the 18 ‘rooms’ is in fact an individual bungalow or villa. The first luxury wine hotel in Mendoza, it is still one of the best.
Designed by Argentinian architecture firm Pondal Malenchini, the whitewashed, curved and sculpted adobe walls create intimate spaces. From an afternoon dip in a private plunge pool with an alfresco shower and sunbeds, to a night on your private terrace stargazing while cocooned in the warmth of an outdoor fireplace, this is a hotel made for romance.
The main wine lodge is a classy, colonial-style villa with a sumptuous spa, swimming pool, spacious living areas and an exclusive restaurant, all overlooking the gardens. One of the many highlights of the Cavas experience is the daily wine tasting in the cellar, where a sommelier takes you on a tour of Argentina’s wine regions from the hotel’s extensive wine list. And if you can draw yourself away from the charms of Cavas, you’re right in the heart of Luján de Cuyo, with some of the country’s top producers on your doorstep. Amanda Barnes
The Vines of Mendoza
Argentina’s central wine region is becoming a magnet for wine loving tourists, who have an ever-greater choice of wine-connected hotels and resorts. Veteran winemaker Susana Balbo’s ultra-luxurious Unique Stays spa opens in early 2022, for example, but in the meantime, The Vines of Mendoza offers a unique experience, especially for the obsessive wine lover with a hedonistic side. In this spacious resort, with its high-end accommodation and world-renowned restaurant, you can own part of a vineyard and make your own wines under the mentorship of a veteran winemaker.
The Vines of Mendoza is set within a 600ha vineyard. Each of the 21 villas faces the mountains and has a fully equipped kitchen, though it’s unlikely you’ll be wanting to cook, given that Argentina’s most renowned chef, Francis Mallmann, runs the Siete Fuegos restaurant here, specialising in asado cuisine.
A range of rugged and adventurous activities is available in the Uco Valley, from fly-fishing to mountain horseback tours, and from heli-skiing to simply relaxing by the pool. For many, the most compelling thing about the resort will be the opportunity to make your own wine. Since 2004, some 240 people have taken on parcels of vines; you can have as much or as little involvement as you choose, from planting and harvesting, bottling and labelling – even shipping – under the guidance of experts including consulting winemaker Santiago Achával. For roughly US$120,000 you can own an acre of mature vines, paying US$6–15 a bottle for a personally blended wine. AB
The best wine hotels in Chile
Clos Apalta Residence
Clos Apalta Residence didn’t start life as a hotel. Its four exclusive guesthouses were built for the use of one family, the Marnier Lapostolles of Grand Marnier fame, who own this breathtaking biodynamic estate in Colchagua. But with Clos Apalta’s cult-like following, it soon became apparent that this was the ultimate stay for wine lovers seeking to get closer to the terroir of one of Chile’s most iconic red blends.
Staying at Clos Apalta is all about the intimate experience of the residence and its wines. Not only does each of its classy minimalist casitas have a fridge stocked with Grand Marnier Cognac and Lapostolle wines, but guests are invited to the exclusive residence restaurant for dinner. With just four tables, this is a memorable tasting experience, with locally sourced ingredients transformed into elegant dishes, paired with library wines from the cellar (itself also available for private dining).
A private tour of the winery and a vineyard tour by bike or horse are all part of the experience; lazing by the infinity pool overlooking the striking valley of Apalta isn’t a bad way to while away the afternoon either. AB
Norwegian power couple Alexander and Carrie Vik – he was estimated to be worth US$1bn in 2019 – are involved in everything from insurance to tech start-ups. They are also fast becoming known as hoteliers, with their upscale coastal resorts in Uruguay’s Punta del Este, and their new Galleria Vik art hotel in Milan. But none can top their stunning hotel in a private 4,450ha nature reserve, including 327ha of vines, in Millahue in the Cachapoal region of Chile.
With its sweeping bronzed titanium roof, the 22-bedroom hotel looks like a golden crown rising out of the lush native forests. From inside, through the wraparound glass walls, you get a perfect panoramic view of the valley. The view is mesmerising, but so is the artwork (hand-picked by Carrie; the couple are said to choose every piece of furniture or decoration personally, from chairs to side tables). Different artists were commissioned for each room: the eye-catching results range from Japanese minimalism to extravagant Dalí-inspired surrealism, or a Hermès suite stacked with the iconic suitcases. Each room has a unique perspective of the valley, the vineyards or the infinity pool, which appears to drop off into the lake beneath.
The seven glass bungalows offer even more intimacy with nature, with private hot tubs on each terrace. A visit to the state-of-the-art winery is a must, as is the excellent orchard-to-table restaurant. And a stunning horseback trek is available for those looking to tour the estate, including one of the most prized vineyards in Cachapoal. AB
The best wine hotels in Portugal
Herdade da Malhadinha Nova
Herdade da Malhadinha Nova is situated in 450ha of rolling hills in Lower Alentejo, one of the most peaceful and least populated areas of Portugal – and the source of increasingly compelling wines. A comfortable drive from the Algarve or Lisbon, this is a region of wide, clear, starlit skies, rolling meadows, stands of cork oaks, olive groves and vineyards. Livestock ranges at will – black pigs, horses, cattle – and Monte da Peceguina lies at the heart of the estate, the original farmhouse reimagined as the most delightful country-house hotel. It has three suites and seven rooms; two swimming pools; a spa, living room and library; and a wine bar. Five other buildings, most with their own swimming pool, now bring the total number of suites to 20. All are decorated with a blend of rustic Alentejo simplicity and luxurious modern furniture by Portuguese and international designers.
Malhadinha Nova’s restaurant is impeccably modern, sourcing most of its fruit, herbs and vegetables from the kitchen garden and the beef, pork and lamb also from the estate. The winery makes an array of characterful wines from 80ha of vineyards and offers tours, tastings and themed weekends. Both winery and accommodation are the creations, since 1998, of the Soares family, which has a chain of wine shops in the Algarve. Charles Metcalfe
From the marbled entrance hall and sweeping staircases, to the decanter-shaped pool and the staggering views over the red rooftops of Porto and Vila Nova de Gaia, the Yeatman is a wine lover’s dream. The great Port lodges are a short walk away down steep cobbled streets, and the list of wine-related activities the hotel lays on for guests is exhaustive – from winemaker-led tastings and master classes to cellar visits. The hotel is part of the same group as Taylor’s, Fonseca and Croft, so Port is in its DNA, but Portugal’s wine heritage is a vital piece of the offering: the Yeatman’s cellars hold the largest collection of Portuguese wines in the world.
Ricardo Costa’s two-Michelin-starred restaurant highlights Portuguese gastronomy, and there’s a fine selection of Ports in Dick’s Bar (which also has live music five nights a week) and less formal fare in the Orangerie. Or you can dine on your balcony, overlooking the town. The rooms are spacious and airy, decorated with art chosen by winemakers, each room with French windows opening on to those breathtaking views. This really is a splendid place, and if you’re not charmed by its collection of ancient drinking vessels, how about the revolving Port-barrel bed in the presidential suite? AL
The best wine hotels in England
English sparkling wine is now recognised globally as an example of terroir-driven excellence; in many ways, though, it hasn’t lost its charming rusticity, and this shows in the growing number of English vineyards that are offering accommodation. The country has no shortage of Michelin-starred restaurants and seven-star hotels, but sometimes it’s nice to feel you’re staying at a real family enterprise. And Ashling Park is just that, a vineyard started by the Gardner family 20 years ago, and still run by three generations (although the youngest have yet to take on a great deal of responsibility).
The timber (local, of course) cabins at Ashling Park are rustic and homely but they lack no amenity: with their wood-burning stoves and claw-foot baths, deep rugs and thick duvets, they are deliciously comfortable. And this is nirvana for wine lovers. You’re in the middle of a working vineyard, run by Dermot Sugrue, one of England’s most garlanded winemakers, and there are regular tours and tastings, and you’re also in the South Downs National Park, the dramatic 80-mile ridge of chalk hills that overlooks the southern English coast and is home to some of the country’s finest wineries.
There’s an endless choice of activities, from day-long hikes to shorter walks, days on the beach or visits to neighbouring vineyards. The cabins are self-catering but there’s a restaurant that does excellent lunches and suppers at weekends. This is an English country holiday with a vinous twist in some of the most beautiful scenery in Europe. AL
Michael Caines, who runs several restaurants in south-west England, was already one of Britain’s most celebrated chefs when he took over and renovated the splendid 18th century Lympstone Manor, opening it as a country house hotel in 2017.
Some five years later, now a Relais & Chateaux property with a string of accolades – including a Michelin star awarded six months after opening – Lympstone Manor is firmly established on the wine lover’s A-list of luxury hotels. For a start, it overlooks the lovely Exe estuary in the beautiful county of Devon (sunsets here are unmissable), and the atmosphere is the kind of casual opulence that is the hallmark of international quality.
It is intimate (Caines likes to greet guests in his chef’s whites); the dining is beyond par; the sourcing impeccably local; the wine list comprehensive – there are frequent tastings in the dramatic cellar with its granite tasting table. There’s no need to describe how well-appointed the rooms are: in this sort of hotel, attention to detail is a given.
Most exciting of all, for those who love and understand English wine, is the vineyard. Caines quickly saw the possibilities of the south-west-facing grounds sloping down to the estuary (‘Vines love to see the water,’ he says) and in 2018 he planted 4.2ha of Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Pinot Meunier with a view to producing a classic English sparkling wine. The first wines should be bottled in 2022 with a release date some years hence.
Before you go into dinner, sit on the verandah with a glass of something fresh from the 600-bin cellar, and watch as the waters of the Exe turn an iridescent pink in the last rays of the dying sun. AL
The best wine hotels in Uruguay
Narbona Wine Lodge
With its Atlantic climate and strong European influence, Uruguay has its own distinctive identity in the wine world of South America and is an increasingly popular tourism destination for this unique style, too. The country oozes Old World charm, and Narbona is the epitome of rustic glamour. With five rooms in a colonial-style mansion, this classic retreat offers an intimate stay in western Uruguay. An hour away from the cobblestone streets and boutique restaurants of the beautiful and quaint city of Colonia del Sacramento, Narbona is nestled in the outskirts of the small village of Carmelo in the heart of Colonia’s wine region, where some of the country’s oldest wineries are found.
When you aren’t winery-hopping, the large estate is a delight to discover, with its handsome gardens, patios and swimming pool; a farm; and its own boutique winery, distillery and old stone cellar, built in 1909. Candlelit tastings in the stone cellar are a highlight of any visit, and these include the estate wines, as well as cheeses from the on-site creamery. Narbona’s renowned creamery, in fact, also provides other delights at breakfast, lunch and dinner — including a rather addictive dulce de leche. The restaurant has a vintage feel, offering classic Uruguayan dishes with locally sourced ingredients. Or you can lunch at the outdoor restaurant in the private port, Puerto Camacho, where a clay oven serves up local delicacies with a view over the River Plate and colourful visiting boats.
This handsome lodge is the only Relais & Châteaux hotel in Uruguay, and it’s certainly earned its elevated status for sublime service, taste and style. AB