Meadowood - Napa Valley
900 Meadowood Lane
St. Helena, California 94574
Phone: (707) 963-3646 or (800) 458-8080
Fax: (707) 963-3534
The gated and screened entrance of the Meadowood creates a private retreat for patrons.
Second review, update
I revisited this elegant country resort in June, 2008 with my husband and our four kids, ages 8, 7, and 5 year old twins. The Meadowood is a uniquely relaxing and restorative retreat, situated in a secluded valley of Napa, amidst towering oaks, pines, and maple trees. A family can come here, and just breathe….I was here when my daughter was a baby and the memory floats in my mind as blissfully peaceful. The same perfection still resides here, as if time had not elapsed whatsoever.
I wanted to find out more about the background of this resort with is mysterious stillness and tranquility and I found that during the 1800s, the valley where Meadowood now stands was farmed by an encampment of Chinese laborers who grew rice in the area of the Meadowood’s present-day golf course. These Chinese laborers hand-chiseled wine caves into the local hills and some of the stone walls currently surrounding the Meadowood property are part of their workmanship.
And today, the property is characterized by gracious wine country hospitality and a brimming menu of resort amenities: two croquet lawns, seven tennis courts, a 9-hole walking golf course, a 25-yard lap pool, a family swimming pool and a complete health spa providing fitness services such as personal training and luxury treatments. The Meadowood is also a private club and a wine center with two restaurants, The Restaurant, for formal fare, and The Grill, for a more casual atmosphere.
The suite my family stayed in was breathtaking, almost like a house with approximately 1200 square feet. There was nothing lacking here for comfort, even for a large family; it had a complete kitchen, two large decks, two full bathrooms, two stone fireplaces, a staircase separating the sections of the suite for adult privacy, two king size beds and a cozy pull-out bed, very easily accommodating six people. Large families who feel relegated to the Embassy Suites due to their large capacity, should re-evaluate and consider the Meadowood! Here, even a big family can enjoy comfortable room accommodations with the country elegance of white dormers, gabled roofs, French doors, high beamed ceilings and watercolor landscape art, all of which characterize the Meadowood style. My suite was so luxurious that I wondered if it were one of the celebrity suites. I found though that actually the celebrities’ favorites were in another section of Meadowood by the croquet lawn, so the resort’s top end is quite unimaginable.
Year-round Activities For Kids:
Professionals in golf, tennis, and croquet are available on the property for private lessons for the kids:
Tennis: The seven plexi-paved hard-courts actually blend in with the Meadowood’s forest-like ambiance in a most appealing way. Tennis professional Doug King was the head pro appointed on staff at the time of my stay.
Golf: This 9-hole walking golf course at the Meadowood is a 2014 yard, par 31 course with a resident golf professional, Doug Pike. (Pike turned professional at age 21, earned his certificate from PGA of America Education Program and has since competed in numerous Pro Am events.) The lack of motorized carts adds to the overall sense of peacefulness on the golf course.
Croquet: This game is played on two full-size lawns in a private setting near the golf fairways. Croquet is available to kids and adults, however, traditional croquet dress--white attire and flat-soled shoes--is requested at Meadowood.
Swimming: My kids enjoyed swimming in the family pool which they had all to themselves. The adjacent pool building with showers and changing stations made the swimming experience with young kids especially convenient.
Hiking: Surrounding the Meadowood property are many lovely hiking trails. My kids spotted on their hike what looked like a turkey with its babies on their hike. At the top of one of the trails was a stone labyrinth and my kids ran around in its maze-like, circular shape. The property has 4.5 miles of hiking trails.
Also for kids: Board games are available at any time.
Seasonal Summer Activities for Kids:
--Swim lessons: Children’s group lessons are offered throughout the summer. The cost is $75.00 for a one-week session (three days). Private and semi-private lessons are also available.
--Children’s Summer Sports Program: Much like an upscale "day camp," this program offers instructional golf, tennis, and croquet as well as swimming, crafts and a snack. Divided into sections for ages 6-8 years and 9-11 years, it runs 9:00 am to noon and costs $300.00 per one week session.
--Children’s Etiquette Class: This is a two-day, six-hour workshop for kids ages 6-8 includes a multi-course lunch and discusses handshaking, verbal and non-verbal communication, telephone skills, personal care, posture, table setting, and table manners. $170.00 per child.
For the adults: Adults, of course, enjoy all of the sports activities for the kids: tennis, golf, croquet, swimming, and hiking.
The Spa: The Health Spa at the Meadowood offers a full range of massages, facials, and body treatments; however, the spa experience at Meadowood extends far beyond the walls of the spa building. Classes take place on the Meadowood’s grassy meadows and many classes take advantage of the resort’s beautiful natural setting.
I had a wonderful massage here and felt renewed afterwards! I also enjoyed working out in the fitness center which had all state-of-the-art equipment and a patio porch on which to work out. Some guests in the fitness club were enjoying one-on-one sessions of Pilates while others were receiving wellness counseling. A notable amount of individual attention was available at this club.
Restaurants at Meadowood:
The Restaurant at Meadowood features California country cuisine and a wine list on which nearly every Napa Valley wine producer is represented. The Restaurant recently earned two stars from the Michelen Guide, joining only five others in Northern California This restaurant looked too formal for kids, so we went to the more casual option, The Grill. My family ate at this restaurant both nights of our stay because it was child-friendly. Both restaurants overlook the gardens, fairways, and foresty hillside.
For such an elegant resort, it was nice to encounter a restaurant with a full child’s menu available. Many resorts I have passed through in selecting the "best family resorts" do not. The children’s menu included traditional favorites, from which all my kids found something with which they were happy: fettuccine, cheeseburger, pizza, macaroni and cheese, and peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Dessert choices included ice cream Sundays, old fashioned root beer floats, and berries with whipped cream.
For the adults, items can be ordered individually or from the Garden menu; the latter includes a full appetizer, entrée, and dessert. For example, at the time of my visit, the Garden Menu started with Lobster Risotto, followed by Grilled Ribeye and a Berry Roulade for dessert. The cost for this meal was a reasonable $45.00 per person as compared to the Restaurant’s similar version for $155.00.
The Meadowood, traditionally thought of as an adult relaxation resort, should be re-examined with broader parameters. This resort caters to the whole family, even the youngest members. These youngsters eating chicken fingers at The Grill and taking tennis lessons on the courts will one day be planning their graduation parties and weddings here.
My eight-year old daughter stated: "I thought Meadowood was really, really fun. My favorite things were swimming, going to the labyrinth, and walking on the trails."
The Meadowood Resort is the hidden retreat that exudes perfection.
First Review and Visit:
Few experiences in life prove as rewarding or as sublime as a stay at the Meadowood, located in the heart of Napa Valley. The vision of the present owners of Meadowood was to create "one of the finest country resorts in the world." It is located on 250 acres with eighty-five total rooms (twenty-four rooms, forty-seven suites, seven lodges, seven separate living room). Meadowood is situated one mile east of downtown St. Helena, eighteen miles north of Napa and eighty-two miles north of San Francisco International Airport. Prices range seasonally from $345.00 to $2915.00.
To enter the property, guests must pass through the gated entry where a security guard screens all incomers, allowing in only guests and members. Those admitted then proceed along a mile-long drive consisting of a single-lane forest trail leading to the lavish estate. This screening promotes a truly private and exclusive experience, prohibiting stray and random people from wandering about as some other Five-Star resorts allow. This procedure creates a feeling of safety and security for a traveling family.
Meadowood offers the full-spectrum of relaxation and fitness opportunities in their Health Spa. You will find a complete health and wellness program for mom and dad; fitness and relaxation classes, organized hikes and walks, bike rentals and organized biking tours; body composition and exercise prescription, exercise physiology consultation and personal training; massage therapies including Swedish, Deep Tissue and De-Stress; body treatments including natural salt glow, rehydrating aloe wrap, aroma wrap, and grapeseed mud massage; and skin care treatments including European conditioning facials, the gentlemen's facial, restorative facials, and waxing.
I experienced a truly invigorating massage and a European facial at the Meadowood. The massage was more relaxing for me than the facial, but the quality of the treatments often depends upon the therapists to whom you are assigned. I had made the mistake of scheduling my treatments back-to-back, and since this visit at the Meadowood, have made a point of arranging my treatments on different days of my visit. I tend to feel a little light-headed after two or three consecutive hours of pampering and find that it is better to spread them out. A little bit goes a long way.
Suites come equipped with all the romantic touches one could hope for: spaciousness, fireplaces, down comforters, vaulted ceilings, pella windows, and views of the surrounding forests.
Meadowood is happy to be known not only as a romantic and exclusive resort but also as a family-oriented vacation destination by providing a variety of activities for young children. According to Megan Clouse, Communications and Cultural Affairs Coordinator at the time of my stay, Meadowood is "increasing its amenities for children so they may be pampered along with their parents."
- "Welcoming Kits" are given to children upon arrival, and starts their trip right with age-appropriate toys, such as Legos, activity books, and plush toys.
- The resort's children's pool is fun for splashing and playing. The Meadowood offers swim lessons, water toys, a toddler "Kiddie" pool, and even a cafe especially for kids (adjacent to the children's pool) which serves kid-type delights such as fruit smoothies, tuna sandwiches, and chicken strips.
- At the end of the day, children can stop at the Reception Lodge to play a game or two of Chutes and Ladders, Candy Land, or Trivial Pursuit before returning to their rooms.
- In the evening, children snuggle in their own plush white terry bathrobes accompanied by animal crackers and milk, all provided especially for them by the resort.
- The next day's activities may be planned in Meadowood's own nightly "turndown" journal. The Journal describes a section of activities specifically "for your family."
- Guest Service Managers will arrange a sitter for the evening with Agency recommendations.
- A Children's Activities List is also provided and includes activities such as hiking, horseback riding, a safari adventure, or a trip to the town of St. Helena to visit an old-fashioned ice cream parlor (The Big Dipper Soda Fountain or Gail's Oldies and Goodies) and the local movie theater featuring children's matinees.
- A playground is located near the children's pool.
- The resort is situated in the midst of a beautiful natural setting, replete with flowers and trees for children to enjoy as they explore the one-and-a-half miles of hiking trails on the property.
- An additional complete list of local attractions is provided for children's activities in St. Helena and surrounding areas such as Calistoga, Sonoma County and beyond. Some of the recommendations provided by the resort include the following:
Children's activities in nearby areas:
- Nearby parks for playing ball or having a picnic include Crane Park where families can attend a concert in the gazebo.
- Old Faithful Geyser of California.
- English-style riding lessons at Chase Point Farm.
- The Petrified Forest.
- Safari West where children can view exotic animals native to Africa.
- Western-style trail rides at Bothe State Park.
- Train Town in the city of Sonoma.
- Fort Ross, a Russian fort on the coast north of Jenner.
- Pet-a-Llama where children can get close to llamas and other farm animals located near Sebastopol.
- Herman Goelitz Candy Company where Jelly Belly jelly beans are made.
- The resort has two outstanding restaurants: The Restaurant, for formal dining, and The Grill, for casual fare. Both restaurants afford sweeping views of the gardens, fairways and surrounding wooded hillsides--the foundation of Meadowood's natural character and beauty.
At The Restaurant you can choose to sit outside on the deck or inside amidst a romantic, dimly lit, elegant decor with a roaring fire. Pilar Sanchez, Chef de Cuisine, offers several sumptuous specialties, including country-style rack of lamb, duckling, scallops, and chilled Dungeness crab with three caviars. The Prix Fixe Vintner Tasting Menu, paired with Napa Valley wines is $80.00.
The Grill serves a California bistro cuisine, served in a casual setting. Grill favorites include fresh-fried calamari with lemon and caper-garlic aioli and roasted port tenderloin with carmelized apple.
- Fitness activities for Mom and Dad are plentiful at the Meadowood, as it has a full-service health spa, a twenty-five yard lap pool, a family pool, a whirlpool, saunas, steam rooms, seven tennis courts, two championship croquet lawns, a nine-hole executive golf course, hiking trails, and bicycle rentals.
- Cultural activities also abound here with an annual calendar of classical music events, a wine center offering on-premise educational programs, private winery tours, and complimentary Friday night wine receptions.
- The resort also serves as an exclusive club comprised of local wine community vintners and grape growers.
- Some of the romantic touches found within the rooms and suites include: down comforters, vaulted ceilings, fireplaces, and beautiful views of the thickly forested surrounds. The unusual Pella windows with built-in venetian blinds between two panes were a pleasing addition.
- The beautiful, secluded location deep within the Napa Valley lends itself to romantic experiences. The estate is situated away from the quaint but busy town of St. Helena and feels like a secret hideaway for the elite and famous.
- Meadowood has been a member of Relais and Chateaux since 1987, a forty-five year association. Members uphold the five C's--Character, Courtesy, Calm, Charm and Cuisine.
- The landscape is conducive to both family and romantic experiences. The beautiful green lush acreage beckons its guests to hike, explore, and picnic along the trails.