Especially for U.S. travelers, California's Napa and Sonoma are the go-to, go-to-the-source regions for sampling delicious wines and staying on hotel properties where the vineyards and wineries are responsible for producing some of the best bottles in the world. So of course we'd be remiss to exclude them from our list of gorgeous winery properties. Still, there are many places far beyond California and the United States, both known and not-so-known, that are home to beautiful wineries -- and thus beautiful wines. Here are eight hotels sitting on vineyards around the world that have us feeling light-headed -- even before the first sip.
Castello Banfi Il Borgo is an 18th-century farmers village that was born around the medieval Banfi Castle. The village (in Italian “Il Borgo”) has been restored and transformed into a luxury resort, and is part of a 7,100-acre property where high-quality red wines are produced. The hotel’s 14 rooms and suites reflect this heritage, and each is named after one of the bottles produced by Banfi. Expect plenty of charming historical character throughout the property; picturesque stone buildings have wood beams, bricked archways, and terra-cotta tiles inside. The chic pool has stunning views of the vineyards, and there are also two restaurants, a wine shop, and a glass museum. Those looking to explore the region should note that destinations such as Siena and Montepulciano are nearly an hour away by car.
The 110-room Red Cliffs Lodge delivers a unique Wild West experience in a picturesque red-rock setting on the banks of the Colorado River. Cabins have whirlpool tubs, kitchens, and riverfront patios, while Suites offer flat-screen TVs and wet bars. The lodge offers a horse ranch, riverside dining, an outdoor pool, two tennis courts, meeting rooms, outdoors activities, and a movie museum. And the on-site winery — producing 6,000 bottles of wine a year — has private tastings and tours. However, its remote location on a dark winding road make venturing out at night burdensome.
Set along the Liesbeek River, the Vineyard Hotel is known for its historic charm and esteemed restaurants. Its sprawling garden grounds are planted with wine-producing grape vines. Far from downtown and the waterfront, the property is in a pleasant residential area and most of its rooms are large and luxurious with extras like espresso machines. Still, beware of older rooms that haven’t been updated. Like at so many hotels in Cape Town, Wi-Fi is limited to a daily allotment, but breakfast and wonderful views of Table Mountain are free.
The 13-room, luxury boutique B&B Honor Mansion in Healdsburg may look like little more than a charming Victorian house from the street, but it actually sits on four acres of beautifully landscaped grounds that include tennis courts, a lap pool, a PGA putting green, and a small vineyard. In addition to its luxury resort amenities, the intimate inn is filled with thoughtful extras, such as afternoon wine tastings, coffee at your door each morning, and snacks available all day long. Guest rooms are romantic and cozy, with fireplaces, memory foam mattress toppers, and ornate, tiled bathrooms. And, to top it all off, the hotel is within walking distance of downtown Healdsburg’s shops and restaurants, and Napa and Sonoma’s wineries — many of which Honor Mansion’s owners have relationships with — are within easy driving distance.
Opened in 2013, Capri Wine Hotel is a charming, family winery turned hotel run by warm and knowledgeable owners. The pleasant, mid-range property has a sea view garden and a small yard. There’s a wine bar with a wide variety of bottles and free breakfast is provided with indoor and outdoor seating areas offering gorgeous Bay of Naples views. Its 10 smallish rooms are simply furnished and include flat-screen TVs, minibars, and bathrooms with rain showerheads, and all rooms but one have sea views. The hotel is a 10-minute walk from the Piazzetta, but guests find the curvy, narrow roads challenging after dark. Note that the hotel is open only from April through November.
Banner Elk Winery & Villa is an upscale bed-and-breakfast nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains, just a five-minute drive from the small town of Banner Elk. This working winery is romantic, and each of the eight spacious suites has mountain views — two even have fireplaces and most have jetted tubs. However, some rooms have tube TVs. Free breakfast gets high marks from guests, who can hang out around the fire-pit, stroll around the pond, or kick back in the outdoor hot tub. The fancy barn also makes this a popular spot for weddings. Unfortunately, the hotel lacks a restaurant and breakfast service may start too late for early risers.
The mid-range Agriturismo Fattoria Lavacchio provides a quintessential Tuscany retreat with vineyards, olive groves, a windmill, a winery, horse stalls, and a ceramics workshop. There are also a beautiful modern pool, a restaurant and poolside snack bar, and a kids’ club. The property has an assortment of 25 rooms, suites, villas, and apartments, with antique exposed beams, minibars, flat-screen TVs, free Wi-Fi, and views of the Tuscan hills. Rooms in the main house, though, are reportedly noisy. Apartments and villas — removed from the main house — offer more privacy.
In a region known for its intimate inns, this upscale 322-room property stands out for its size and extensive features. Despite the location in an unattractive business park, the resort is still an excellent Wine Country Pick with large, elegant rooms featuring classic decor, plush beds, and modern amenities, plus free bottles of wine. The luxury spa, intimate wine tasting room, beautiful on-site vineyards, and fine-dining restaurant and wine barmake it possible for guests to have a real Wine Country experience without leaving the property. In this price range it’s also worth considering the Westin Verasa, Napa (closer to downtown) and the Silverado Resort and Spa (which has its own golf courses).
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- 5 Cool Hotel Properties on Working Farms