Readers' Choice 2015: Top 20 Food and Wine Resorts


As in 2014, Auberge du Soleil and Blackberry Farm jostled for the top spot. Here, too, California dominated the list, claiming five of the top six rankings. Notably, all but one of the properties in the top ten are in the United States; only the Villa d’Este on Lake Como managed to break into that tier. Though I no longer recommend Chicago’s Trump Hotel (#16), its gourmet restaurant, Sixteen, is beyond reproach.

1. Auberge du Soleil

Rutherford, California — Cosmopolitan resort terraced into a hillside overlooking Napa Valley vineyards in Rutherford. The superb restaurant offers a menu of Wine Country cuisine, essentially a combination of California ingredients and Mediterranean techniques and flavors.

2. Blackberry Farm

Walland, Tennessee — Country house hotel of 69 rooms owned by the Beall family since 1976, set on a 9,200-acre estate bordering Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Award-winning The Barn serves exceptional “Foothills Cuisine” that borrows from both classic haute cuisine and foods indigenous to the region.

3. Calistoga Ranch

Calistoga, California — Tranquil 157-acre resort of 50 freestanding guest lodges in a wooded canyon at the northern edge of the Napa Valley. The property features a superb lakeview restaurant and small spa complex with a natural spring-fed mineral pool at the other.

4. Meadowood

St. Helena, California — Distinctive resort on a 250-acre estate in the heart of the Napa Valley. A clubhouse provides casual grill luncheons, while dinners are served in a separate formal restaurant. There, chef Christopher Kostow has deservedly garnered three Michelin stars.

5. Post Ranch Inn

Big Sur, California — Unique coastal resort set along a bluff directly above the Pacific in Big Sur, 45 minutes south of Carmel. The Sierra Mar restaurant is backed by an impressive wine cellar. The property features two clifftop basking pools, a full-service spa and guided nature hikes.

6. Château du Sureau

Oakhurst, California —This Provençal-style manor sits on a knoll above the small Sierra town of Oakhurst near the southern entrance of Yosemite National Park. A fine gourmet restaurant serves seasonal California produce in sophisticated Mediterranean-inspired dishes, backed by the region’s wines.

7. The Inn at Little Washington

Washington, Virginia — This smartly appointed country inn and gourmet sanctuary occupies an unassuming white building in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains. The celebrated restaurant specializes in New American/French cuisine and includes a 14,000-bottle wine cellar.

8. San Ysidro Ranch

Santa Barbara, California — Sophisticated 500-acre cottage-style resort in the leafy foothills of Montecito. Landscaped grounds contain 41 handsome lodgings in peaked-roof cottages. Dining venues include the award-winning indoor/outdoor Stonehouse restaurant.

9. Villa d'Este

Lake Como, Italy — Renowned palace resort-hotel amid 25 acres of gorgeous gardens at the edge of Lake Como. Dining options include an indoor/outdoor restaurant for Italian haute cuisine, and a casual grill, plus poolside, lakeside and indoor bars.

10. Twin Farms

Barnard, Vermont — Intimate country retreat amid 300 acres of meadows and woodlands in an unspoiled valley with an exceptional restaurant. Twenty distinctive lodgings feature king-size feather beds and sitting areas with fireplaces that open onto screened porches.

11. Bernardus Lodge & Spa

Carmel Valley, California — Recently renovated resort in the peaceful Carmel Valley amid oak-covered hills with a backdrop of the Santa Lucia Mountains. A rustic main building contains new Lucia restaurant overseen by chef Cal Stamenov and serving “California country cuisine."

12. Grand-Hôtel du Cap-Ferrat

Saint-Jean Cap-Ferrat, France — Palace-hotel overlooking the Mediterranean at the very tip of Cap Ferrat, 20 minutes east of Nice and just six miles from Monte Carlo. Built in 1908 and now listed as a French national monument, it is surrounded by 17 acres of lavender and citrus trees.

13. Ballyfin

County Laois, Ireland — Restored 1826 Regency mansion, widely regarded as one of the architectural gems of Ireland. Set in 600 acres of parkland, the splendid house is the embodiment of sumptuous comfort. The kitchen is overseen by Michael Tweedie, and meals are served in the exquisite State Dining Room.

14. Otahuna Lodge

Christchurch, New Zealand — Evocative seven-suite Queen Anne manor amid century-old estate gardens. Magnificently appointed public areas contain a richly paneled dining room, library and guest lounge. The property offers tennis, croquet, day spa, cooking classes and stable for horseback rides. 

15. Shutters on the Beach

Santa Monica, California — Casually elegant 198-room hotel overlooking Santa Monica Beach. Seaside dining at One Pico restaurant, as well as casual beachfront café and bar Coast. The Living Room offers small plates, wine and cocktails in a cozy, couch-and-fireplace setting. 

16. Trump International Hotel

Chicago, Illinois — Contemporary 339-room hotel occupying the first 28 floors of a 92-floor steel-and-glass tower. Formal restaurant, Sixteen, on the 16th floor with 30-foot windows framing the Wrigley and Tribune towers, offers American seasonal cuisine. 

17. Belmond Le Manoir aux Quat'Saisons

Oxforshire, England — Chef Raymond Blanc’s gourmet retreat in a transformed 15th-century stone manor set amid 27 acres of gardens, 75 minutes northwest of London. Thirty-two individually designed rooms and suites are in the main house and a garden wing. 

18. Triple Creek Ranch

Darby, Montana — Romantic mountain resort in the Bitterroot Valley of western Montana. Twenty-three log cabins overlook a rushing creek and fir forest. Each comes with a woodburning fireplace and massive king bed. 

19. Farmhouse Inn

Forestville, California — Sophisticated, family-owned country-style inn in the Russian River Valley, offering 25 rooms in an 1873 clapboard-sided farmhouse, adjacent farmworkers’ cottages and a barn. The menu of the inviting Michelin-starred restaurant draws on agricultural diversity of the area.

20. Domaine Les Crayères

Reims, France — Grand château housing 20 exquisitely appointed guest accommodations and gracious public salons, surrounded by a pretty 17-acre English-style park. Le Parc restaurant offers an extraordinary wine cellar boasting more than 200 varieties of champagne alone.

1. Auberge du Soleil - © Trinette Reed Photography 2. Blackberry Farm - © Beall + Thomas Photography 5. Post Ranch Inn - © Kodiak Greenwood 8. San Ysidro Ranch - © Peter Malinowski/Insite 10. Twin Farms - © Claude-Simonlanglois 11. Bernardus Lodge - © Rachel Weill 13. Ballyfin - © James Fennell 14. Otahuna Lodge - © Stephen Goodenough 16. Trump International Hotel - Steve Hall © Hedrich Blessing 17. Belmond Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons - © Chris Taylor Photo 20. Domaine Les Crayères - © Apicius

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