While Carneros Resort and Spa in California’s Napa Valley is undoubtedly a luxury resort, first impressions suggest something different: a wilder, less manicured version of luxury, perhaps, different from other Napa properties of its ilk. While everything certainly is perfect, it doesn’t necessarily look perfect. The gardens, at first, appear overgrown, for example; lavender and herbs grow side by side amid the cottage-style accommodations; and the footpaths are strewn with wildflowers. The effect of this is nothing short of charming—as if one were suddenly transported to the English countryside in the middle of the Californian wine country.
All of this is, of course, intentional. Carneros Resort and Spa is designed to be as self-sufficient as possible by drawing what it can from the earth and sky, and in doing so, creating a little pocket of pure bliss tucked between Napa’s sprawling vineyards. Situated on 28 acres, the resort’s 100 cottages, suites, and yes, private homes, are inspired by simple country living (or “elevated farmhouse,” you could say.) Each cottage has 420 square feet of living space and up to 800 square feet of outdoor living space (with most including an outdoor bathtub). Inside, the cottages feature modernized furnishings and lighter color palettes to match the resort’s sun-washed, farm-style architecture.
The building structures have all been designed from a perspective of connection with their natural setting and utilize natural light, natural ventilation, and natural materials wherever possible. For example, the roofs are made of galvanized sheet metal, which reflects heat, reducing cooling loads. Cedar siding and porch framing are from predominantly managed forests. The housekeeping team uses wagons and electric vehicles; discarded soaps in the rooms are collected and donated to Clean the World, where the soap is sanitized