Suite Dreams: Napa’s Milliken Creek Inn and Spa

3 03 2011

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Story and image by Louise Rafkin; originally published in GPS.OutTraveler.com

Above and beyond – but not far from Napa’s wineries and quaint downtown, the Milliken Creek Inn and Spa delivers everything expected in a luxury hotel– and then some. This former stagecoach stop has been designed and appointed with the highest end traveler in mind.

The spacious twelve modern suites lining the shore of the Napa River provide elegant bedding, gas fireplaces, walk-in showers, and spa tubs big enough for two that bubble and swirl.  Outfitted in greens and browns, extra touches include fresh orchids near the double-sink washbasins, a separate WC, and plush rugs on the bamboo floors.  Most rooms sport private balconies or patios with outdoor furniture and umbrellas at the ready, and the meticulous grounds are spotted with towering redwoods and colorful maples.  Though just minutes from Napa’s center, the rooms open to a stunning view of California’s natural landscape and you feel like you’ve really gotten away.And that’s a caveat.  Although a Napa vacation calls for wine tours and at least one a trek into town for a Michelin-starred meal, know this: this is a room you will find hard to leave. 

With all amenities in place, Milliken’s attention to thoughtful particulars truly makes it a stand out.  Upon arrival, local wines are offered in the lobby, and a port bar is available even after the office closes.  During the nightly “Magic Hour” the Inn invites a local vintner to pour and provides an ample spread of breads, cheeses, olives and relishes.  True confession, adding up calories during “Magic Hour” should be discouraged.  Or, take the attitude of my girlfriend who claimed “magic” meant everything consumed during those sixty minutes doesn’t count.

Back at the room, we discovered more magic: lights were down, a splay of candles glowed, fabulous local Woodhouse chocolates were at the waiting, and classic music was set to fuel the mood.  Not surprising that several of the couples we met were either honeymooning or revisiting the scene of their engagement, and many traveler reviews cite the romantic turndown as a high point of their stay.  If all that doesn’t provide enough sexy vibe for you, the helpful concierge can help with “pillow talk” services, arranging anything from hot air balloon rides to the release of live butterflies at breakfast.

My own perfect moment came the next morning. I was jolted from a ridiculously sound sleep by the delivery of a basket of strong coffee, orange juice, and our deliciously prepared breakfasts. After a gorge on sugary morning buns and muffins, my fantastic omelet, with bacon, leeks and spicy salsa, was more than I could manage – or was it the bites I stole from my partner’s waffle that put me over?  Breakfasts can be served anywhere on the property, but neither of us could bear the idea of leaving the crazy comfortable bed. Sated from breakfast I eventually wandered to the spa where a 90-minute Grapeseed Body Polish left me glowing, scrubbed, and as if I’d been through my own personal crush.

Our mid-week getaway was exactly that: we’d been completely lifted from our busy Bay Area lives.  After a stop at Napa’s Oxbow Public Market where several dozen local vendors tempted with local oysters, breads, cheeses and homemade ice creams, we were back in the city in well under an hour. Though we had planned hiking in nearby Skyline Wilderness Park, we were just too relaxed to make the effort.

That’s a retreat.

Rooms start at $350 and go upwards; internet packages include spa treatments are available, check the website for more details.

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