All the rooms at this splurgeworthy hillside retreat have full vistas of the lower Napa Valley from their westward-facing balconies. Indoors, the discreet, polished service, comfortably chic decor, and amenities that include a private spa and a fully stocked wine cellar only add to the exquisite pleasure of a stay here. Winery architect Howard Backen designed the inn and the winery buildings for the associated Cliff Lede Vineyards, which sits just across the Silverado Trail.
Savvy, personalized concierge service is an inn hallmark, with staffers reaching out to guests even before they arrive to assist with winery, restaurant, and other plans.
The three rooms and two suites, each named for a famous writer, are decorated in beiges and browns, with accents like red mohair throws and colorful pillows. All the accommodations, none of which share a wall, have deluxe beds, some of them four posters, positioned to make the most of those glorious valley views. When the weather's right, breakfast is served on the outdoor decks, from which early risers may spy hot-air balloons making their ascent.
For the ultimate in privacy and grandeur, book the 1,450-square-foot Robert Louis Stevenson suite. On the inn's top floor, it has its own entrance, a wrap-around deck (a breathtaking spot for taking breakfast or afternoon wine), a wood-burning fireplace, a flat-screen TV that pops up from the foot of the four-poster bed, an indoor steam shower, and an outdoor shower.
All the bathrooms have heated floors, soaking tubs, and steam showers, and some have outdoor showers—the view from the one in the Emily Dickinson room is particularly sublime. The towels are plush, and the bath products are top-notch.
The innkeepers enjoy nothing more than watching the stress of guests' travel melt away within moments of arrival, and the awe-inspiring valley views from the living-room-like entry area's floor-to-ceiling windows kickstart the process. Because guests announce themselves at the gate halfway up the hill, one of the hosts is always outside the lobby entrance ready to share a hearty hello and a glass of wine or other beverage.
YOU SHOULD KNOW According to its website, "access to Poetry Inn is reserved for guests 16 years and older" to preserve the adult-oriented environment.
The kidney-shaped pool and Jacuzzi occupy a knoll below the inn that overlooks Poetry Vineyard and its Cabernet Sauvignon vines. A few chairs and lounges are placed around the pool deck area, and there's a hammock.
A softly lit, cocoonlike space on the floor below the lobby contains the small spa area. The spa is open only to inn patrons, who can book everything from foot and prenatal massages to aromatherapy sessions and hot-stone and deep-tissue massages. If you prefer, treatments can take place in your room or on its deck.
There is no gym, though some guests in need of a bracing workout head down the hill from the inn to Silverado Trail and then back up, a 500-foot rise in elevation in about ½ mile.
Customers return year after year for low-key pampering that starts at sunrise with pastries from Yountville's Bouchon Bakery, followed by a three-course gourmet breakfast cooked by the on-staff chef. Eggs Benedict, a granola and yogurt parfait with fresh fruit, Belgian waffles with maple syrup, and a poached egg on lightly sautéed greens are among the possible menu items. With notice, the chef will prepare a private lunch or dinner as well.
There's no bar here, but guests can visit the wine cellar and select for purchase Lede Family Wines, which include Poetry Cabernet Sauvignon, whose grapes are grown in the vineyard below the inn. In the evening, spirits and digestifs—whiskey, amaretto, Pernod, brandy, port, and the like—are laid out in the living room for guests to help themselves.
The inn is up a steep hill from the Silverado Trail, making a car convenient if not essential. Downtown Yountville is a 3-mile drive away.
The inn's clientele tends to favor Yountville's fancier restaurants (all a 7-minute drive), including The French Laundry for chef Thomas Keller's intricate French cuisine and Redd for east-meets-west Modern American from chef Richard Reddington. Rutherford's Auberge du Soleil (12-minute drive) is popular for its chef's tasting menu at dinner and over-the-top weekend brunch.
For a cocktail, head to the bar at upscale-casual Redd Wood (7-minute drive) restaurant, in Yountville, or the Rutherford Grill (12-minute drive). Auberge du Soleil (12-minute drive), also in Rutherford, is a pleasant perch, especially during the day, for a cocktail with a valley view.
WHY WE LIKE IT
Up and down the Napa Valley you'll see the vast hillside palaces of vintners and other monied folks—architect Howard Backen even designed some of them. A stay at Poetry Inn offers the chance to bask in the low-key elegance that defines the Wine Country. The feel here is not bustling resort or boutique hotel—and definitely not old-school bed-and-breakfast. Perfect for special occasions, particularly romantic ones (honeymooners and couples celebrating anniversaries are a mainstay), the inn is a place of unpretentious luxury and relaxation.