November 30th, 2020
What’s Happening in Napa Valley
While it’s no secret that Napa Valley has faced some challenges this year, the region is open to visitors and the spirit is stronger than ever. The Glass Fire that broke out in September is now 100 percent contained and most of Napa County’s 45,000 acres of vine were not impacted. For those wondering how to help, the best way to support the community and its members is to visit. And the timing couldn’t be better. As harvest closes out this month, travelers will be welcomed with the start of Cabernet Season – the best time to visit for those in the know. From November through April, summer heat is replaced with perfectly mild temperatures – think warm days, cool nights, and blue skies. The pace slows down and foliage is at eye level as the vines become dormant along Silverado Trail. (Leaf peeping is not just on the east coast!) Brilliant yellow wild mustard flowers are scattered through the vineyards and along country lanes. During this time of year, visitors can more easily nab reservations at Michelin-starred restaurants. Greater access to wineries is another bonus with more opportunities to meet winemakers and receive impromptu glimpses behind the scenes.
What’s New in Wine (and Spirit) Tastings
These tastings are shaking up the scene in Napa Valley, with freshly designed spaces and new experiences with an emphasis on privacy. Napa Valley Distillery, the first distillery to open its doors in the city of Napa since prohibition, opened a new speakeasy tasting salon dubbed the ”Hollywood Room” with cocktails crafted from spirits made just a few feet away. The art deco-designed space is punctuated with tiki bar-like decor. Animal lovers will gravitate towards Oasis by Hoopes, where wines are accompanied by an animal sanctuary and regenerative farm. The outdoor space, which opened in October 2020, is dotted with airstreams, lounge areas made with recycled materials, a farm stand (with produce for purchase), as well as rescued chickens, pigs, and goats. Faust’s new tasting room, housed in a Victorian home originally built in 1878, opened in September 2020 following a four-year renovation. Known for their Cabernet Sauvignon sourced from organically farmed estates, the new space still features the original cellar from pre-prohibition era. And for travelers prioritizing privacy, Charles Krug, the oldest wine estate in Napa, opened five new private WIFI-enabled outdoor tasting cabanas on the winery’s picnic grounds and Trefethen is now offering a nightly after-hours experience permitting only one booking per evening – meaning guests have the whole estate to themselves. Space to watch: Yountville’s Baldacci Family Vineyards will open a new hospitality center in March 2021, featuring new private tasting rooms, a wine bar, and an outdoor patio overlooking wine country vistas.
Neighborhoods to Watch
Calistoga, the northern most town in Napa Valley – famed as a wine-meets-spa destination thanks to its geothermal waters – is in the limelight thanks to a crop of new hotels and multi-million-dollar resort renovations. Four Seasons Resort & Residences will open this winter with 85-rooms and an on-site vineyard and tasting room – a rarity in Napa Valley. As a nod to Calistoga’s wellness roots, the property will offer an eight-room spa with steam pods in which hammocks will be suspended above geo-thermal pools for guests to absorb the heated vapor. Coming soon, Dr. Wilkinson’s Backyard Resort & Mineral Springs, originally built in 1952, will unveil a large-scale renovation. Considered one of the first resorts in Calistoga and known for its mud bath treatments, the property’s new look will include a Southwestern-inspired restaurant, House of Better. This December, Solage, part of the Auberge Resorts Collection, will unveil a $30 million-dollar renovation overseen by architect Howard Backen – considered the creator of “Napa Valley Style” – and Los Angeles-based interior design agency Studio Collective. In addition to 11 new accommodations, Solbar - their signature restaurant – will double the size of the patio for outdoor dining and the new PicoBar, with light bites and cocktails, will sit next to an enlarged pool deck with contemporary loungers and cabanas.
Spanning three buzzy blocks in the heart of Downtown Napa, First Street Napa is an ever-growing hub for shopping, dining, and tasting. Known for its locally owned boutiques and independent restaurants and wineries, the district has recently welcomed a surge of new shops like C’est La Paire for chic boots and handbags; The Bennington Napa Valley for vintage finds; and Copperfield’s Books, a mainstay store returning to First Street. The first standalone tasting room dedicated solely to luxury California brandies, California Brandy House, will open on First Street on November 6, 2020 for outdoor tastings. The new concept will debut with two leading brandy portfolios, Germain-Robin and Argonaut. Visitors will be guided through tasting flights, including single-barrel samples that are only available at the tasting space. For those looking for something on the fizzier side, the first and only dedicated Champagne & sparkling wine lounge in Napa Valley, Be Bubbly, has just opened its doors. Over in Napa’s Oxbow Public Market (a 40,000-square-foot marketplace with an expansive outdoor deck along the Napa River), Bar Lucia opened this summer from owner behind Kara’s Cupcakes. Highlights of the bar include rosé and sparkling wines paired with seasonal bites. Founder Kara Haspel Lind named the bar after her great grandmother and her daughter, honoring the traditions passed down through five generations of women in her family. For those visitors who are overwhelmed with options across the region, a brand-new Napa Valley Welcome Center will open on November 12 as a resource for itinerary-planning. New technology will provide visitors insider tips in a no-touch manner, and a 16-foot video wall will offer a taste of Napa Valley travel inspiration to pedestrians along First Street through floor-to-ceiling glass windows.
Looking Ahead to 2021
Black History Month – February 2021
In honor of Black History Month in February, travelers to Napa Valley can explore the roots of BIPOC pioneers in the winemaking business and support local initiatives throughout the region. Leaders in the industry include Brown Estate Vineyards, which was the first Black-owned estate winery in Napa and is now best known as one of Napa Valley’s most well-regarded zinfandel producers. Neighboring Okapi Wines is a micro-boutique winery that produces just a few barrels of wine each year. Founder Dan Johnson limits its production to 300 cases per year to maintain sustainable farming practices. Carneros Resort and Spa is offering a Diversity in Wine Flight featuring four wines by vintners and winemakers of color. The tasting flight is available at two of their onsite restaurants with 10% of proceeds being donated to UNCF. To support diversity in the wine industry, Napa Valley Vintners, a nonprofit association representing more than 500 wineries in the region, has partnered with UNCF to create a new scholarship program for people of color to pursue college degrees in subjects including grape growing and winemaking, with $1 million already invested into the program.
Women Winemakers are changing the way we drink wine (and beer!)
The month of March is all about celebrating women with International Women’s Day on March 8, 2021. As one of the top viticultural regions, Napa Valley is known for its sprawling vineyards, historic wineries and towns that dot the countryside. It is also home to many women who have made names for themselves throughout the area. To name a few, Elaine St. Clair is the only woman in the U.S. to hold the commercial title of both winemaker and brewer. Kathryn Walt Hall is the force behind HALL Wines and WALT Wines in St. Helena and has been in the Napa wine industry for almost five decades, having also worked as an attorney, community activist, and as the United States Ambassador to Austria. During her 40-year tenure in Napa Valley winemaking, Heidi Barrett, who known as “The First Lady of Wine” is behind California’s most notable cult wines, including Screaming Eagle, which has a starting price of $700 a bottle. Today she’s co-founder of her own label, Barrett & Barrett, where she continues to produce some of the top Cabernet Sauvignons.
November 24th, 2020
Paradero Hotels, Mexico’s First Luxury Experience-Inclusive Brand,
will Launch with the Opening of Paradero Todos Santos, Baja California Sur on January 15, 2021
Paradero Hotel’s vision is focused on travel experiences the elevate communities, promote authentic encounters, and minimize environmental impact by developing highly curated landscaping projects with suites and amenities.
Paradero Todos Santos, a 35-suite property will open on January 15, 2021. Todos Santos’ debut marks the beginning of Paradero Hotel’s long-term plan to expand its experience-inclusive brand throughout additional unspoiled destinations in Mexico. Less than 50 miles from San Jose del Cabo Airport, Todos Santos has 355 days of sunshine per year and has become increasingly popular as a relaxed surf town and a haven for outdoor enthusiasts. Paradero is spread across five acres of untouched land that is situated within the last unspoiled Mesa farming community – an agricultural area comprising 160 acres of family-owned farms. Due to its proximity to the equator, the immediate landscape offers five distinct ecosystems: the desert with 200-year-old Cardon Cacti, the Sierra La Laguna Mountain range, miles of virgin beaches along the Pacific coast, an oasis with 5,000 palm trees, and farmland as far as the eye can see. Because of this diversity, UNESCO has designated Todos Santos as a Biosphere Reserve – one of only two such sites in Baja.
Experiences are at the heart of Paradero Todos Santos. Surfing for different levels at Cerritos or San Pedrito beach, guided hiking and mountain biking along the bluffs of the Pacific coast, private beach set up on unspoiled locations, hands-on farming tutorials, and Baja taco tours are all included in the nightly rate. Trails throughout the property will also be marked for self-guided running and biking around the farms and gardens. A sample of other activities include boating and fishing expeditions, cooking classes, cliffside champagne and burrito tastings.
Rates start at $550 per night, inclusive of experiences. For more information, visit https://www.paraderohotels.com/www.paraderohotels.com.
“Paradero” loosely translates to “stop on the road.” It harks back to the days when their ancestors first arrived in Baja, harnessing its bounty to cultivate a sense of home and community. At Paradero Hotels, the fundamental belief is that extraordinary outdoor experiences go hand-in-hand with sustainability, community development, and conservation. By immersing guests in nature, Paradero instills reverence towards the land. By employing local hands, there is generations worth of knowledge and storytelling. With these values and culture, the goal is to put outdoor experiences first in high-design landscape spaces surrounded by multiverse ecosystems.
To arrive in Todos Santos is to be thrust into the elements—the warm sun, the dusty trails, the sea breeze, and the starry skies. And the immersion only continues the moment guests arrive through the doors. Activities have been designed to re-center guests in nature, rekindling their childlike sense of adventure, while serving as a gateway to the Paradero lifestyle.
Local guides are passionate about delivering outdoor experiences that combine physical challenge and intellectual stimulation with a heavy dose of “wow” factor. Guides will quickly assess skill and comfort level, customizing each adventure to keep guests safe, smiling, and eager for more. In order to have an authentic Todos Santos experience, guests are encouraged to try myriad experiences that are available in a small group setting (maximum of four- to six-guests) during morning and afternoon sessions. Activities are also available for private reservations, for an additional cost.
Paradero Hotels has tapped the global expertise of others who have successfully operated similar soft adventure products elsewhere, including Jesus Parrilla, Principal of Luxury Frontiers and ex-CEO of Explora, who serves as Strategic Advisor at Paradero Hotels.
Shaded by almost 100 locally grown palm trees and other endemic species, the Ojo de Agua Spa will be a wellness oasis and a healing space that is inspired by secret watering holes that coexist between Sierra La Laguna and the Pacific. The focus will be on ancient Mexican healing traditions starting with sound healing and ending with Temazcal ceremonies. Hot and cold plunge pools, as well as a relaxation area will round out the offerings.
Embracing the wild terrain, Paradero is an 80 percent landscape project, 20 percent development project. The 100,000-square-foot botanical garden is the heart of the project. Mexico City-based landscape architecture firm, Polen, whose past projects include Google’s and Twitter’s offices, selected 80 endemic species (from red sand verbena and Mojave yucca to Shaw’s agave) for the grounds. More than 20,000 plants, including those found on the land prior to building, will be oriented in a way that promotes maximum growth and vitality. More than 30 percent of the flora was grown from seed in the on-site greenhouse, while the remainder was purchased from local greenhouses.
Mexico-born Ruben Valdez and Yashar Yektajo of Yektajo Valdez Architects were charged with blurring the lines between indoor and outdoor living. The sanctuary-like interiors flow into contemplative outdoor seating areas and cactus-studded desert and farmland. The property was designed in a trapezoid shape, with each suite offering views of the wild terrain. Beige-colored concrete will be peppered with materials including tornillo timber and custom-made metal. Triangle patterns, a sacred symbol of the Mayan culture, are incorporated throughout.
Public spaces on the property include the ‘Living Room,’ a multi-purpose hub for gathering and activity planning with an opportunity to meet with guides and learn about experiences. The roof will also double as a yoga deck. Along the perimeter of the property will be a 130-foot-long infinity pool, hot tub, and half-moon lounge deck that will look out onto a horizon of cacti – specifically designed to push guests towards the landscape.
B Huber, the interior design firm behind the new Edition Riviera Maya and Four Seasons Tamarindo, was tapped to create a new brand of hotel experience, offering a sense of community and representative of Mexico. The color scheme focuses on monochromatic tones and incorporates a predominantly sand and natural color palette. All furnishings were custom-crafted and locally-sourced from cities such as Guadalajara and Oaxaca – largely considered the design capitals of Mexico. No detail was overlooked. For each piece of furniture selected for the property – more than 10 suppliers were reviewed before deciding. Key furnishings will also be available for purchase.
The 35 suites range from 780- to 2,674-square-feet of indoor and outdoor space. Windows are strategically positioned to allow for cross ventilation, minimizing the need for air conditioning. The 16 Garden Suites extend into the landscape with outdoor living areas that will either offer views of the farming fields that encircle the property or look out to the forest of cacti. All Garden Suites will feature a hammock, and some will offer an outdoor circular soaking tub. The 18 Rooftop Suites are distinguished by their panoramic rooftops, all of which have built-in suspended ‘star nets,’ offering high-altitude expansive views of the surrounding farmlands, mountains, oasis, and ocean. The corner Master Casita spreads over three floors and has been designed to feel like a luxury residence, with a kitchenette, spacious dining area and a plunge pool. In all suites – bathrooms feature a rain shower and organic bath amenities made in Mexico.
The restaurant, which will be open to the public, offers a theatrical experience with an elevated, open-fire kitchen that features a Josper wood-fired oven and a traditional Oaxacan clay tortilla oven. The menu will incorporate ingredients from the surrounding farms as well as fish and seafood from the Pacific Ocean and Sea of Cortez. Bounty from the on-property chili garden, with 12 different types of peppers, will spice up dishes. Cocktails are just as inventive, made from fresh-pressed juices and elixirs from local shrubs. Guests will also be encouraged to visit nearby restaurants, with the property serving as an insider guide to the best of Todos Santos.
Nightly rates start from $550 per night for Garden Suites, $650 for Rooftop Suites, and $1,395 for the master suite, plus tax and service; inclusive of experiences.
How to get there
American Airlines, Delta, Eastern Airlines, Southwest, United Airlines, and WestJet are among the carriers that offer direct service from San Francisco, Los Angeles, Phoenix, Houston, Denver and New York City to San Jose del Cabo Airport (SJD). Paradero can coordinate private transfers to/from the hotel. Five-minute shuttle service to Todos Santos and Pescadero will also be available.
For more information, visit ParaderoHotels.com, follow @paraderohotels