New owners spent two years renovating this two-story hacienda-style property near Inglenook winery and the Rutherford Grill into a romantic under-the-radar getaway that may well be the Napa Valley's best value in its price range. The inn's aesthetic and name pay homage to the Rancho Caymus land grant from California's early-19th-century era of Mexican rule—the grant encompassed much of what's now Yountville, Oakville, and Rutherford—but the overall effect is contemporary upscale boutique hotel.
Guests at the two-story inn enter their rooms off exterior hallways overlooking the courtyard that contains the pool. Rooms, most of them split-level and all with patios, come in three principal sizes from about 400 square feet to 600-plus. Done in warm browns and decorated with art that evokes the area's Latin heritage, all the accommodations have exposed-beam ceilings (many of them vaulted), textured-plaster walls, brown leather furniture, and contemporary variations on stovepipe fireplaces. The lone one-bedroom suite, 800 square feet, has living and dining areas, a wet bar with a wine refrigerator, and a Juliet balcony overlooking the courtyard.
YOU SHOULD KNOW In keeping with the inn's orientation toward couples and romance, all rooms have king beds; none have sofa beds, but a few rollaways are available (call ahead to request one).
Spacious bathrooms clad in white ceramic tile get plenty of light. Because the hotel received its makeover during a severe drought, the owners had to choose between a courtyard swimming pool or soaking tubs in the rooms; they chose the former, so all bathrooms have only showers (albeit nice ones).
Mexican rugs, plaster walls, padded leather furniture, and an exposed-beam vaulted ceiling evoke Mission-era California in the Rancho Caymus lobby. A grand foyer with a fireplace and monochrome wall friezes, it's a comfortable hangout. To the back lies the front desk.
Hanging plants, ceramic-tile friezes, a mass of wrought iron, and a series of graceful arches contribute to the movie-set glamour of the brick-lined interior courtyard that contains the rectangular wading pool and adjacent, also rectangular, hot tub. The pool isn't huge, but it'll cool you off on a hot Rutherford summer day, and the courtyard is a peaceful spot to enjoy lunch or a snack you can order steps away.
The inn has no spa, but guests receive discounts on treatments at the Health Spa Napa Valley (6-minute drive) in downtown St. Helena. The spa's most popular treatment, the Harvest Signature Mud Wrap and Massage, begins with a rosemary-mint exfoliating scrub, followed by grape seed–oil massage and a Cabernet grape-seed mud wrap.
Guests can bill spa treatments directly to their rooms.
There's no gym at the inn, but for $20, also billable to their rooms, guests can purchase a day pass to the Health Spa Napa Valley, which has a fully equipped fitness center and a lap pool.
The inn's room rates include an expanded Continental breakfast, served buffet style in the dining room. Among the typical offerings are a sandwich of scrambled eggs, avocado, and bacon in a Model Bakery English muffin (Oprah's a fan of these buttery muffins). Granola made in-house, fresh fruit, meats, cheeses, and pastries are also laid out. From noon to 6:30, guests can order snacks like marinated olives, cheese and charcuterie plates, and guacamole, along with burgers, shrimp cocktail, and various salads prepared by the inn's chefs.
For $5 you can have breakfast delivered to your room.
Guests can purchase wine by the bottle or glass and beer by the bottle to enjoy on in the courtyard, a nearby terrace, or in their rooms. On Thursday, Friday, and Saturday between 5:30 and 6:30, representatives of local wineries—often from Rutherford's Round Pond, Honig, Provenance, Grgich Hills, or Beaulieu—pour wine in the inn's dining room, and hors d'oeuvres are served.
The inn sits just east of Highway 29. Most guests arrive by and get around by car, but VINE Bus 10, which serves the entire valley along Highway 29, stops nearby. Although you can walk to Inglenook, Elizabeth Spencer, and a few other wineries close by, a car will come in handy.
Rutherford's splurge is the valley-view restaurant at Auberge du Soleil (8-minute drive), where at dinner each of the prix-fixe meal's several courses can be paired with a wine from the extensive cellar (lunch and brunch, à la carte, are also a delight). The Rutherford Grill (2-minute walk) is a local hangout for steaks, burgers, fish, succulent rotisserie chicken, and barbecued pork ribs from an oak-fired grill. Other guest favorites include Mustards Grill (5-minute drive), south almost to Yountville, for Cindy Pawlcyn's contemporary fare and updated "deluxe truck stop classics." To the north in St. Helena, Harvest Table (5-minute drive), Farmstead at Longmeadow Ranch (6-minute drive), and Goose & Gander (7-minute drive) serve Modern American farm-to-table cuisine.
The convenient Rutherford Grill (2-minute walk) has a full bar helmed by skilled bartenders. Head up to Farmstead at Longmeadow Ranch (6-minute drive) or Goose & Gander (7-minute drive) for artisanal cocktails along with the classics.
WHY WE LIKE IT
The attention to both gracious service and architectural detail has charmed guests since this inn, run by the former owners of the exclusive Hotel Yountville, reopened in mid-2017. Rancho Caymus over-delivers on just about every count, from the expanded Continental breakfast to the romantic rooms and hacienda-away-from-home ambience. It's a steal of deal, especially in the off-season.