NileGuide Expert Says:
No need to fight for a reservation elsewhere; the onsite restaurant is a destination unto itself.
6774 Washington Street
Yountville, CA 94599
Hotel star rating:
NileGuide Expert tip:
Book an upstairs room for the romantic balcony with a view of the Siena-style courtyard
The dreamchild of David Fink, respected in hotel circles for his luxurious L'Auberge Carmel, Hotel Luca combines high-touch service with a casual and lively laugh-and-have-a-good-time atmosphere, much as you'd find in the Tuscan towns Hotel Luca seeks to embody. From the complimentary glass of Prosecco that greets you upon check-in to the personalized selection of espressos offered in the room, you'll see Fink's "your wish is our command" philosophy on display everywhere you look.
But really, the first thing you notice on slipping through Hotel Luca's high gateway framed with locally hewn Syar stonework, is the light. Napa is justifiably famous for the clarity of its afternoon light, but reflected off the hotel's hand-applied lime plaster surface, the light has an additional warmth. Framed by iron balconies and tiled stairways leading to the upstairs rooms, Luca's central courtyard feels like the central square of a Tuscan town with fountains, traditional tile work, and 200-year-old roof tiles imported from the real Lucca amplifying the Italian connection.
While Yountville is known for its many famous restaurants, one of the things I like best about Hotel Luca is that there's no need to go offsite to eat. Cantinetta Piero, helmed by chef Jason Balestrieri of Fink's Cantinetta Luca in Carmel, has created a fabulous menu of Italian-inspired dishes that nevertheless take most of their inspiration from local produce, cheese, and meat.
Meat is the operative word here, as Balestrieri's house-made salume is something else. A selection of eight varieties, six of them cured on premises is a must-eat unless, of course, you're vegetarian. In which case the local muscles and other seafood are given similarly inspired attention.
Both Cantinetta Piero and Hotel Luca have plenty of modern flourishes tucked within the trappings of tradition; floor-to-ceiling sliding doors can be used to open the restaurant out to the courtyard, which features a Scottsdale-style outdoor fireplace lounge. The rooms feature large flat-screen TVs, walk-in rain showers, and many have soaking tubs big enough for two.
The spa at Hotel Luca is decorated with the same unerring attention to detail as everything else, with glinting iridescent tile-work round the extra-deep lavender-scented seawater soaking pool and an elegant cascading water wall shielding the lounge area. Treatments available include massages, facials, body wraps, and a variety of couples' treatments -- just one more way Hotel Luca puts romance front and center in all it offers.