London Calling: Rosewood Hotel

Rosewood London

While I travel quite a bit throughout the year for work, outside of our trip to Napa Valley earlier in the summer, it has been a good long while since I have had a real vacation of a week or more. I wouldn’t trade owning my own business for anything in the world, but it definitely makes it more challenging to truly unplug and get away. I am hoping that Fabian and I can take a true vacation next spring. We haven’t been to Europe since we were last in London in September of 2013 and have instead traveled closer to home. When I was younger, I always wanted to visit new places, but for the past few years, I have been drawn to the places that I know and love. For the past several weeks, I have been craving a trip to London again. It is such a beautiful, elegant, and inspiring city. I have enjoyed it so much each time we have gone and can’t imagine I would ever tire of visiting. There is inspiration everywhere one looks in London–a designer’s dream! I think we would likely spend part of the trip in London and then cross over to Paris or possibly Barcelona. Paris makes more sense, but Fabian is dying to go back to Barcelona. Maybe we will do a trip to Barcelona and Seville in the future.

Rosewood London

London is a definite must on our next trip because I can’t stop thinking about the stunning Rosewood London. Housed in Holborn which was once home to Sir Frances Bacon and Charles Dickens, the elegant Edwardian building at 252 High Holborn was designed by H. Percy Monckton and completed in 1914, serving as offices for decades. Eventually, the impressive building was lovingly restored and converted into the Rosewood London Hotel. The restoration pays homage to the building’s defining features such as its Renaissance-style, seven story grand staircase and cupola. The new interiors were designed Tony Chi and Associates with the exception of Scarfes Bar which was designed by Martin Brudnizki. Chic details abound throughout the property from the common areas to the guest rooms and signature suites. You’ll find that the aesthetic is very much in keeping with my own– a modern touch of traditional style infused with glamour. I must admit, design is such a driving force in nearly every decision I make, so when I came across this hotel, I knew that London was calling my name!

Rosewood London

Rosewood London

Rosewood London

Rosewood London

Scarfes Bar with paintings 960x598

Rosewood London

Rosewood London

Rosewood London

Rosewood London

Rosewood London

Rosewood London

Rosewood London

Rosewood London

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The Best of Napa Valley

LDV in Napa: Our Stay at Auberge du Soleil | Luxury Travel | Napa Valley | California

{The Spectacular View from the Restaurant at Auberge du Soleil}

Yesterday, I shared a recap of our recent stay at the marvelous Auberge du Soleil in Napa Valley. As I mentioned in that post, the concierge there crafted a completely customized itinerary for us and made all of our dinner reservations and winery and spa appointments. Today, I’ll share a bit more on some old favorites along with some new ones that we discovered on this trip. It was such a lovely luxury to have someone so well-connected and with so much insight on Napa take the reigns and plan activities that were tailored to our tastes and preferences. The result was nothing short of perfection as we loved every minute– along with each sip and bite!

SIP

The Best of Napa Valley | La Dolce Vita | www.ladolcevitablog.com

{Fabian and I at Alpha Omega}

We left our itinerary completely open on the afternoon of our arrival and it worked out that our dear friends, Jeni and Robbie came down from Sacramento to spend the day with us. We had lunch, visited Alpha Omega which is a favorite winery of ours, then had drinks on the terrace at Auberge du Soleil. We love Alpha Omega for several reasons– the striking architecture, beautiful grounds overlooking the St. Helena Highway and Mayacamas Mountains, and the fact that you can pop in without an appointment, which made it perfect for us that day. We’ve returned to Alpha Omega on our last three visits to Napa and always purchase wine to have shipped home because it’s so good. Alpha Omega is fantastic for large groups and sitting outside overlooking their reflection pool and vineyards is a must. Be sure to try their Proprietary Red Blend which is excellent.

The Best of Napa Valley | La Dolce Vita | www.ladolcevitablog.com

{Catching up with our Dear Friends at Alpha Omega}

Auberge du Soleil Bar

{The Bistro & Bar at Auberge du Soleil}

With over 1,500 wines on its wine list, the Auberge du Soleil boasts the most comprehensive wine program in the Napa Valley. As guests of the Auberge du Soleil, we had the distinct pleasure of experiencing a very rare treat– a personal wine tasting lead by Wine Director, Kris Margerum. Everyone in the wine industry knows who Kris is because he has the most impressive knowledge of the region’s wines and holds the keys to the most sought-after wine list in Napa. Our tasting was based on the various Napa Valley AVAs, or American Viticultural Areas, such as Rutherford, Oakville, and St. Helena and the subtle differences in taste and color between them.  We had such a great time and learned so much during our tasting with Kris in the Bar at the Auberge du Soleil.

The Best of Napa Valley | La Dolce Vita | www.ladolcevitablog.com

One of the new wineries we visited on this trip was Arkenstone high atop Howell Mountain in St. Helena. The drive up the mountain is worth the trip alone! Even better, the building is beautiful, the wines are wonderful, and we had the loveliest tasting and visit with the mother and son who own and run the winery. We were thoroughly impressed to visit such a stunning winery that is completely family owned and does not sell through retail at all.

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The next winery we visited was Vineyard 29, one of the most high-tech wineries in the Napa Valley which counts the legendary Heidi Barrett and Phillipe Melka as its top-notch winemakers. We were hosted in the lovely cellar inside the wine caves by Austin Gallion, the winery’s Director of Hospitality. Austin also happens to be a trained chef, so we were treated to a delicious food pairing. This particular winery is not open to the public and does not sell through retail either. We were fortunate to have a tasting because Auberge du Soleil arranged it for us. If you can manage to visit, you absolutely should. Their wines are spectacular and unlike anything else I’ve ever had– robust, yet completely smooth. Their spectacular Estate Sauvignon Blanc is my favorite wine of all right now. Believe me when I say it will blow you away!

The Best of Napa Valley | La Dolce Vita | www.ladolcevitablog.com

The most impressive winery we have ever visited is Kenzo Estate, which was also arranged for us by Auberge du Soleil. The concierge at the hotel, Yahell Peralta, knew that I am a huge admirer of architect, Howard Backen’s work, so she made sure that we would be visiting a few places that he had designed. Kenzo Estate is stunningly beautiful. It is owned by one of the wealthiest entrepreneurs in Japan and spans 4,000 massive acres. Just imagining the property value in this part of California is enough to make one’s head spin! The estate is located high on Mount George in a part of Napa we had never visited before. It is near Yountville, for reference. The grounds, from the perfectly manicured vineyard, to the private lake, and bird sanctuary are extraordinary. By the way, the wines are exceptional as well! In fact, I am awaiting my shipment to arrive as we speak. The winemaker, Heidi Barrett is now at Kenzo full time. She is essentially the Queen of Napa Valley and is married to Bo Barrett of Chateau Montelena fame. Have you seen the movie, Bottle Shock? He was part of the team that made the world take notice of Napa Valley for the first time.

The Best of Napa Valley | La Dolce Vita | www.ladolcevitablog.com

Evidently, if you walked for six hours over the mountain in the distance, you would still be on the grounds of the Kenzo property.

EAT

The Best of Napa Valley | La Dolce Vita | www.ladolcevitablog.com

Archetype is the most charming restaurant, right in the heart of St. Helena. The restaurant was designed and is owned by Howard Backen and is managed by the Auberge Resorts group. Naturally, it is completely chic and features incredible food and service. The space is just gorgeous, which is why I have so many photos to share. It looks like the set of a Nancy Meyers movie and I always secretly hope that Ina Garten will walk in because she certainly belongs in this beautiful setting.

The Best of Napa Valley | La Dolce Vita | www.ladolcevitablog.com

Are you familiar with Sand Dabs? They are fish from Half Moon Bay and taste like a cross between shrimp and lobster. Archetype is famous for them and they are so delicious! I’m so glad I tried something that is only available in Northern California. We also had the most delicious salad of baby lettuces, beets, and avocado toast. The produce in Northern California is the best there is. I think at one point, I exclaimed “Mmm! This lettuce!”. Who gets excited about lettuce? I do, but only in California. My husband had a reuben that he raved about and the manager sent us an order of the Tater Tots which were a fun treat!

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The Best of Napa Valley | La Dolce Vita | www.ladolcevitablog.com

The Best of Napa Valley | La Dolce Vita | www.ladolcevitablog.com

The Best of Napa Valley | La Dolce Vita | www.ladolcevitablog.com

The Best of Napa Valley | La Dolce Vita | www.ladolcevitablog.com

{I could move right in. Archetype is a must for lunch or brunch!}

The Best of Napa Valley | La Dolce Vita | www.ladolcevitablog.com

Farmstead is another favorite destination for us in Napa. It is the restaurant at Long Meadow Ranch which is a completely sustainable farm, vineyard, and winery. Their model is completely farm to table. It is so fun to see things come from circle, from tasting organic strawberries out of the ground to seeing them on your plate. On our last trip to Napa in November, we did a very cool wine tasting at Long Meadow Ranch during which we visited their Rutherford Estate, 650-acre Mayacamas Mountain Estate, and organic farm. It was one of my favorite Napa experiences, which I would highly recommend. The grounds are simply beautiful and Farmstead itself is housed in a very cool, modern farmhouse-style building.

The Best of Napa Valley | La Dolce Vita | www.ladolcevitablog.com

The food is what I would describe as California Comfort Food. The burger at Farmstead is probably my favorite I’ve ever had, just don’t tell my dad. I seriously long for it sometimes. If you love a good burger, you simply must try the one at Farmstead. You can thank me later.

The Best of Napa Valley | La Dolce Vita | www.ladolcevitablog.com

Another of our favorite restaurants in Napa Valley is Redd. With the exception of one trip, I have eaten at Chef Richard Reddington’s restaurant on every visit to Napa. The dining room is modern and hip and the food is always beautifully executed and absolutely delicious. We usually start with the Yellowfin Tuna Tartare and the Lobster Risotto, both of which are out of this world. On this visit, Fabian ordered a halibut special atop the most beautiful carrot puree, while I ordered the Caramelized Diver Scallops. I always recommend Redd when anyone asks for Napa suggestions. It never disappoints.

The Best of Napa Valley | La Dolce Vita | www.ladolcevitablog.com

On the actual evening of our anniversary, July 10th, we had dinner at the spectacular Restaurant at Auberge du Soleil. Chef Robert Curry’s menu draws upon the regional flavors of the Napa Valley and executes fine cuisine with a Mediterranean accent. To start, I had the Sweet White Corn Soup with Maine Rock Crab. It was one of the most delicious things I’ve ever had. It was like summer in a bowl. For my second course I had the English Pea Risotto with Gulf Shrimp, which was delicate and prepared to perfection. For my main course, I opted for the Prime Beef Pave, which was also delicious. Finally, I capped it off with the scrumptous Garden Mint Ice Cream dessert. Throughout the meal, we enjoyed the most perfect wine pairing and enjoyed the incredible views as the sun set over the Napa Valley.

The Best of Napa Valley | La Dolce Vita | www.ladolcevitablog.comIsn’t the view from the terrace at Auberge du Soleil amazing? We were lucky enough to enjoy this everyday at breakfast and again on our anniversary dinner.

The Best of Napa Valley | La Dolce Vita | www.ladolcevitablog.com

Finally, on our last night, we had dinner at Press in St. Helena, which was also designed by Howard Backen. I love this restaurant as much for the architecture as I do for the food. By the way, they have the delicious Vineyard 29 wine I mentioned earlier on the list here! Press is famous for its steaks, so knowing that I was in for a heavy dinner, I opted for lighter meals earlier that day. This is another example of a restaurant that serves the finest quality meat and produce, prepared to perfection.

The Best of Napa Valley | La Dolce Vita | www.ladolcevitablog.com

We usually sit in the main dining room at Press, but they also have a great bar and patio.

SHOP

The Best of Napa Valley | La Dolce Vita | www.ladolcevitablog.com

{One of my Favorite Shops in St. Helena, Acres Home & Garden}

We didn’t have a chance to do very much shopping on this trip, but St. Helena’s charming Main Street, whose buildings date back to the 1800s, is usually our favorite destination. Everything is privately owned and the town is so distinctively charming. A few of my favorite places to shop are Acres Home & Garden, Napa Valley Vintage Home, Pennyweight, Flats, and Pearl Wonderful Clothing. Jan de Luz and the Olive Oil shops are also a must, as is a visit to Erin Martin‘s cool showroom. There are plenty of art galleries and jewelry stores, along with some favorite restaurants and bakeries including Cook, Giugni’s (ask for the Giugni Juice), and Model Bakery with its out-of-this-world English Muffins.

I hope I haven’t overloaded you with information and have instead inspired you to experience Napa Valley. It truly is my favorite place and holds such a special spot in my heart. Everyone in the Napa Valley is so passionate about what they do, whether it is winemaking, cooking, or curating a lovely shop. Being around that kind of love and passion for one’s craft is energizing and inspiring. If you search for “Napa Valley” on La Dolce Vita, you’ll find plenty of information and recommendations. If you’re planning an upcoming trip and have any questions, please don’t hesitate to ask because I am passionate about Napa.

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And don’t forget– in honor of another anniversary– La Dolce Vita’s 8th since I started the blog in 2007, Auberge du Soleil is offering a very special treat to LDV readers!

Enjoy a $250 resort credit to enjoy during your stay at Auberge du Soleil in August or September of this year. The credit is applicable towards dining, spa treatments, merchandise at the boutique, or anything at this incredible property.

Offer is valid for stays of two nights or more, Sundays through Thursdays in August and September 2015. Holiday weekend excluded. Valid for NEW reservations only. To book, guests should call (800) 348-5406 and use booking code PALOMA when making their reservation.

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The Gold Standard of Luxury in Napa Valley: Our Stay at Auberge du Soleil

LDV in Napa: Our Stay at Auberge du Soleil | Luxury Travel | Napa Valley | California

{Auberge du Soleil’s Chic “La Plage”}

A couple of weeks ago, Fabian and I spent our tenth wedding anniversary in one of our favorite places in the world, Napa Valley. If you’ve read La Dolce Vita for some time now, chances are, you know all about my love for Napa. As we were beginning to plan our trip a couple of months ago, I was contacted by the Auberge du Soleil, Napa Valley’s first luxury hotel and resort, who is also celebrating an anniversary this year– their 30th year as the premier, most awarded hotel property in Napa. In honor of their 30th anniversary, the hotel’s maisons– or suites– have been completely redesigned by lauded San Francisco interior designer, Suzanne Tucker, who had a hand in designing the hotel in its first iteration in the 1980s when she worked for the iconic Michael Taylor. Suzanne has taken a fresh approach this time around, embracing the special light in the Napa Valley with warm, clean palettes and floor to ceiling steel windows to frame each maison’s special view of the Valley.

LDV in Napa: Our Stay at Auberge du Soleil | Luxury Travel | Napa Valley | California

{Perched in the hills above the Silverado Trail in Rutherford, Auberge du Soleil offers unparalleled, sweeping views of the Napa Valley.}

You can probably imagine how thrilled I was when Auberge du Soleil invited us to stay in one of their newly-unveiled maisons. The timing worked out perfectly with our anniversary. We usually make it a point to have lunch on the terrace at Auberge du Soleil when we are in Napa, so we were very excited to stay there and really experience the magic of the Auberge du Soleil that I had heard about for years from some very well traveled people.

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I am the first to admit that I am extremely blessed to have a unique career that allows me to do what I love and to travel to the extent that I do. As a result– and in part because I am a hotel snob– I’ve had the good fortune of staying in quite a few beautiful, well-regarded hotels. However, I was completely blown away by the level of service at Auberge du Soleil. Weeks before our stay, Yahell Peralta, the lead concierge, was in frequent contact with me. After getting a good understanding of our favorite wine varietals, favorite places, restaurants, and activities, she crafted a completely customized itinerary for our stay and made all of the reservations for us. This service is available to all Auberge du Soleil guests and certainly comes with perks. Because of its standing as the premier luxury property in Napa, guests are given access to wineries that don’t typically open to the public and are able to get reservations at highly sought after restaurants. Having everything taken care of for us was a huge relief and allowed us to focus solely on enjoying our trip.

From the moment we checked in, every staff member greeted us by name each time they saw us. Auberge du Soleil’s location, beautiful grounds, and stunning views are all part of its charm, but the staff is paramount in creating an experience unlike any other. The staff is incredibly thoughtful and accommodating without ever being imposing. Many luxury hotels can run the gamut from extremely formal and stuffy to having a very downtown, “too cool for school” aloofness. It is extremely difficult to replicate what Auberge du Soleil has achieved, which is what makes it so rare and special. Auberge du Soleil is a singular, beautiful property with sumptuous, comfortable accommodations and a top-notch staff, yet it maintains an effortless ease. The overall vibe is relaxed, welcoming, and distinctly Californian.  As a guest, you feel completely at home.

LDV in Napa: Our Stay at Auberge du Soleil | Luxury Travel | Napa Valley | California

{Each distinctive maison is luxuriously appointed and maximizes Napa Valley’s unique and singular light.}

We stayed in one of the Maisons that was recently redesigned by Suzanne Tucker. Our Maison, Mougins 3, was very spacious with a huge living room, a separate powder bathroom, master suite, and a large terrace with beautiful views of the valley. I was so inspired while staying here. Suzanne Tucker is one of the greatest interior designers working today and her level of expertise and passion for her work was evident in every detail. Our Maison was beautifully appointed and was so comfortable. The space planning made perfect sense and we had everything we could possibly want or need. No detail was spared and the quality of the furnishings was top notch.

LDV in Napa: Our Stay at Auberge du Soleil | Luxury Travel | Napa Valley | California

{A View of our Living Room Looking Towards the Fireplace and TV}

LDV in Napa: Our Stay at Auberge du Soleil | Luxury Travel | Napa Valley | California

{Looking Toward’s the Entrance of the Maison}

LDV in Napa: Our Stay at Auberge du Soleil | Luxury Travel | Napa Valley | California

{We were greeted with a beautiful charcuterie plate, a sweet little “Happy Anniversary” bundt cake, fresh fruit, and a bottle of wine. Each room at Auberge du Soleil also comes with a fully stocked, complimentary mini bar.}
LDV in Napa: Our Stay at Auberge du Soleil | Luxury Travel | Napa Valley | California

{The Maisons at Auberge du Soleil feature warm palettes and beautiful fabrics by Suzanne Tucker.}

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{The entire Maison featured chic, light wood finishes like cerused and limed oak. I am obsessed with the decor of our beautiful powder bath. It is perfectly neutral, but features so many incredible textures including the wood paneled walls.}

LDV in Napa: Our Stay at Auberge du Soleil | Luxury Travel | Napa Valley | California

{Our bed and bedding were extremely comfortable. You can’t tell in this photo of the chic bed, but the bedroom also has a soaring, beamed ceiling like the living room. It created such a nice, airy effect.}

LDV in Napa: Our Stay at Auberge du Soleil | Luxury Travel | Napa Valley | California

{The master bathroom was simply divine. We each had our own vanity.}

LDV in Napa: Our Stay at Auberge du Soleil | Luxury Travel | Napa Valley | California

{The master bathroom also features a sculptural Waterworks tub and a stylish vanity complete with a Frances Elkins Loop Chair.}

LDV in Napa: Our Stay at Auberge du Soleil | Luxury Travel | Napa Valley | California

{My favorite thing about the bathroom was the shower with a skylight which makes it feel as if you are showering outdoors. The water pressure was also fantastic. One of my pet peeves about hotels is bad lighting. So often, the lighting in bathrooms, even at luxury hotels, is so dim and poorly placed that it makes getting ready in the morning a chore. Naturally, Auberge du Soleil gets the lighting right, too. It is beautiful and perfectly placed. As a couple of lighting aficionados, Fabian and I really appreciated this!}

LDV in Napa: Our Stay at Auberge du Soleil | Luxury Travel | Napa Valley | California

{Our Fabulous Terrace}

LDV in Napa: Our Stay at Auberge du Soleil | Luxury Travel | Napa Valley | California

{The View from one Side of our Terrace}

LDV in Napa: Our Stay at Auberge du Soleil | Luxury Travel | Napa Valley | California

{This is the View from Our Front Door in the Perfect, Early evening Light}

LDV in Napa: Our Stay at Auberge du Soleil | Luxury Travel | Napa Valley | California

{Our Wonderful Home Away from Home in Napa: Mougins 3 at Auberge du Soleil}

LDV in Napa: Our Stay at Auberge du Soleil | Luxury Travel | Napa Valley | California

{The grounds at Auberge du Soleil are beautiful and are meticulously maintained. La Plage, the pool area, is particularly beautiful.}

LDV in Napa: Our Stay at Auberge du Soleil | Luxury Travel | Napa Valley | California

{Striped Lounges and Terracotta Pots are Ultra-Chic}

LDV in Napa: Our Stay at Auberge du Soleil | Luxury Travel | Napa Valley | California

{So beautiful!}

LDV in Napa: Our Stay at Auberge du Soleil | Luxury Travel | Napa Valley | California

Effortless luxury is the foundation of the DNA at Auberge du Soleil. We honestly did not want to leave at the end of our stay and I worry that no other hotel will ever compare! It is truly heaven on earth. Our tenth wedding anniversary was so special, thanks to the Auberge. The staff made us feel like royalty and there were so many wonderful touches from the fleet of Mercedes Benz E350 convertibles available to guests, perfect wine pairings at the phenomenal Michelin-starred restaurant (more on that soon), and our relaxing treatments at their fabulous spa with the most amazing views. Auberge du Soleil is certainly a splurge, but it is among the finest, highest ranked hotel properties in the world and is absolutely worth it. If you have a special celebration coming up or want to treat yourself to an effortlessly luxurious experience in Napa Valley, the Auberge du Soleil is an absolute must.

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In honor of another anniversary– La Dolce Vita’s 8th since I started the blog in 2007, Auberge du Soleil is offering a very special treat to LDV readers! 

Enjoy a $250 resort credit to enjoy during your stay at Auberge du Soleil in August or September of this year. The credit is applicable towards dining, spa treatments, merchandise at the boutique, or anything at this incredible property. 

Offer is valid for stays of two nights or more, Sundays through Thursdays in August and September 2015. Holiday weekend excluded. Valid for NEW reservations only. To book, guests should call (800) 348-5406 and use booking code PALOMA when making their reservation. 

Be sure to come back tomorrow, when I will share all of my top recommendations for wineries and restaurants on this trip!

 

Paloma-Signature

{All Photography by Paloma Contreras for La Dolce Vita}

Jet Set: Auberge du Soleil in Napa Valley

Auberge du Soleil Day

Next week, Fabian and I will be celebrating our tenth wedding anniversary. It is hard to believe that ten years have already flown by! I couldn’t be more grateful for the most amazing husband, friend, and partner. He truly makes my life complete.

If you’ve read La Dolce Vita for a while now, then chances are, you know that Napa Valley is our happy place. We decided that it would be wonderful to celebrate our special milestone anniversary there. It just so happens that Auberge du Soleil, Napa Valley’s first luxury hotel and resort is also celebrating an anniversary this year– their 30th year as the premier, most awarded hotel property in Napa.

auberge maison

In honor of their 30th anniversary, the hotel’s maisons– or suites– have been completely redesigned by lauded San Francisco interior designer, Suzanne Tucker, who had a hand in designing the hotel in its first iteration in the 1980s when she worked for the iconic Michael Taylor. Suzanne has taken a fresh approach this time around, embracing the special light in the Napa Valley with warm, clean palettes and floor to ceiling steel windows to frame each maison’s special view of the Valley. Each distinctive maison is luxuriously appointed and maximizes Napa Valley’s unique and singular light.

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“We’ve re-envisioned the lifestyle at Auberge du Soleil and infused it with a lightness of spirit that is very fresh, young and very sexy,” said George Goeggel, Managing Partner, Auberge du Soleil. “With private terraces, custom-designed beds and more than a little glamour, our new rooms are a seductive retreat within a retreat.”

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Suzanne Tucker says, “my updated design retains the spirit of the Auberge’s hillside allure, the private, romantic ambience and brings the interiors forward with a more contemporary approach. We are after timeless qualities here, and this thoughtful approach has felt very natural and organic, just as the Auberge and its surroundings are.”

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 {The Courtyard at the Auberge du Soleil’s Extraordinary Spa}

You can probably imagine how thrilled I was when Auberge du Soleil invited us to stay in one of their newly-unveiled maisons. The timing worked out perfectly with our upcoming anniversary. We usually make it a point to have lunch on the terrace at Auberge du Soleil when we are in Napa, so we are very excited to stay there and experience everything this legendary property has to offer. 

auberge restaurant terrace{The Terrace at the Auberge du Soleil’s Michelin-Starred Restaurant Offers Sweeping Views of Napa Valley}

Perched on the hillside above the Silverado Trail in Rutherford, the Auberge du Soleil offers unparalleled views of the Napa Valley. I always recommend that friends traveling to Napa have lunch on the terrace to enjoy the delicious food Chef Robert Curry creates, reflecting the natural diversity and rich ingredients of Napa Valley and of course, to take in the spectacular views.

auberge hillside

We haven’t even arrived yet, and I already know that our stay will be nothing short of fabulous. Auberge du Soleil prides itself on its personal service, taking into account the preferences and desires of its guests prior to and during their stay. Their incredible concierge has unparalleled knowledge of and access to the best that Napa Valley has to offer. I am usually in charge of the planning for all of our trips (I am a type A control freak), so it has been an incredibly nice luxury to have the Auberge du Soleil take the reigns and craft a personalized itinerary for us. They made suggestions and reservations for us based on our favorite wine varietals, regions of the Valley, and restaurants. The concierge at Auberge du Soleil also has access to a lot of private wineries that are not usually open to the public, so we will be checking out some wonderful wineries that are new to us on this trip.

auberge day pool

It is such a nice luxury to know that all we have to do is show up and enjoy, especially after the difficult past few weeks we’ve had at home with our sweet Tate. He will be at his neurosurgeon’s for medical boarding while we are away, so he will have the most capable care. Hopefully, we will be able to recharge from what has been an incredibly taxing time and enjoy our anniversary and the beautiful experience that awaits us. We will be heading to Napa next Tuesday and I will be sure to share images from our trip on Instagram while we’re there. I will also share a recap here on LDV when we return, so stay tuned!

Paloma Signature

Hotel Urso: A Chic New Hotel in Madrid

hotel urso facade

If you have been reading La Dolce Vita for a while now, chances are, you know how special Spain is to me. I am completely enamored with everything about my ancestral country– the culture, language, people, art, history, architecture, music, design– I could go on and on. I have been fortunate to visit Barcelona along with Madrid and several towns in the Castilla y Leon region such as Salamanca, Avila, and Segovia a few different times. The other day, Fabian and I were talking about the places we would like to go on vacation and where our work will likely take us in 2015. We would love to go back to Italy, but I would especially love to visit Madrid again for work. I always feel completely enchanted and inspired when I am in Spain. Design inspiration abounds everywhere you turn from the elegant boulevards and palaces to tile work and architectural details. Not to mention, many of my favorite interior designers hail from Spain.

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{The Chic Lobby at the Hotel Urso}

Of course, Madrid has plenty of beautiful hotels including the recently opened Hotel Urso. Housed in an elegant palacio, or residential palace from the early 19th century between the Chamberi and Chueca neighborhoods, the hotel’s design pays tribute to the building’s neoclassical roots while providing all the earthly comforts experienced travelers have come to expect in luxury accommodations. Designed by Pablo Obrador, the accomplished Spanish designer behind such projects as the stunning Cap Rocat in Mallorca, the mission for the building was to restore as many of its beautiful original details as possible. Artisans and craftsmen were brought in to restore the building’s facade, ironwork, and plaster details. In addition, you’ll notice the use of gorgeous Chinoiserie wallpaper panels used in several spaces throughout the hotel. It is a reproduction of an original paper found in a neighboring palace. The hotel also features a full service spa and The Table– an innovative dining concept with rotating pop-up restaurants housed at the Hotel Urso throughout the year.

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{Pretty Details}

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 {The hotel’s dining room features a vertical garden. The wallpaper and lush greenery give it such an airy feel in combination with the glass ceiling. It’s worth a visit to the Hotel Urso’s website to see this particular photo in a larger size. This room is so lovely!}

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{A Close-Up of the Stunning Chinoiserie Panels}

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{The guest rooms are well-appointed in neutral palettes.}

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{Sitting Area in a Guest Room}

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{A Suite’s Sunny Terrace}

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{Original Details can be Found throughout the Property}

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{Beautiful Plasterwork Inlaid with Azulejos, or Hand-Painted Blue and White Tiles}

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{The Charming Hotel Urso}

I would love to go back to Madrid in 2015 and experience the city through my perspective as an interior designer as opposed to just seeing it as a tourist. Where would you like to travel in the new year?

Paloma-Signature