Cool, refreshing patches of aquamarine shimmer on the landscape throughout wine country, inviting visitors and locals alike to dive in. Escape. Relax. Invigorating morning laps, or the tranquility of night swimming, nothing compares to simply lounging in a pool on a hot summer day. Here’s Zippertravel’s guide to Napa’s Best Pools.
While casting the spotlight on pools, we immediately thought of an odd but fascinating cult movie from 1968, The Swimmer, based on a short story by John Cheever. Burt Lancaster (looking fit and fantastic at 55) plays Ned Merrill, a man who after a long absence from his home town shows up at a friend’s swimming pool. Looking out over the valley from the pool, Ned sees that pools dot the landscape, connecting in what he calls a “river” of pools. He decides to swim home to his wife and daughter along this river. On his journey from pool to pool he stops and talks with his neighbors and the story turns progressively darker. One of the movie poster taglines for the film was, “When you talk about The Swimmer, will you talk about yourself?” Watch it and see.
Carneros Resort & Spa
The Carneros Resort and Spa is set back from Highway 121 in the southernmost part of Napa Valley, surrounded by the wineries of the Carneros appellation. With sophisticated modern farmhouse cottages and suites, Carneros Resort & Spa offers two pools to its guests. But the real story here is the Hilltop adults-only pool, our personal favorite topping the list of Napa’s Best Pools. The expansive vista that spreads out before you as you relax in this infinity pool and its adjoining hot tub will make you feel like pool time should — and will — go on forever. Adjacent to the grazing land of a local farm, this bucolic country picture is completed when a horse or a cow moseys up to the fence to stare at you.
The spa and pool facilities are usually exclusively reserved for hotel guests, but...Mon-Thurs during non-peak times, day trippers may be able to schedule spa treatments and enjoy the pool for a minimum of $550 in services (can be divided between 2 people) and a resort fee of $50pp. Contact the hotel for further information.
A popular eating, drinking and meeting place for locals, Napa visitors and guests, the Carneros has two excellent restaurants: Boonfly (casual dining open from 7am to 9pm daily) and the Farm, serving brunch on Sundays, dinner 7 days a week, and a bar menu in the Pavilion from 4-10 daily.
Silverado Resort & Spa
Just a few minutes northeast of downtown Napa, the Silverado Resort & Spa is a 1,200 acre luxury hotel “neighborhood” surrounding the historic Miller Mansion built in the late 1800’s. Known for its PGA golf course, the hotel has two swimming pools, an exercise pool at the spa, and another one behind the tennis courts with cabanas. The latter is pictured above and is perfect for soaking, lounging and relaxing after a round of the links. All resort facilities are reserved for hotel guests, but it is possible for locals to pay a $50 resort fee (to gain access to the pool, steam room, lockers, whirlpool and sauna) along with a reservation for a spa treatment. Call the hotel the day of to make a reservation, based on availability.
For a quick pick me up when you’re feeling peckish, stop by the onsite Market — the breakfast cruffins from Bouchon are a fantastic treat to enjoy while warming up around the outdoor fire pit after a foggy morning swim.
Solage Calistoga boasts the largest pool in Napa Valley, measuring 130 feet in length. An Auberge resort with gorgeous mountain views, beautiful gardens and landscaping with a generous helping of succulents and towering palm trees, as well as oak groves and a wide variety of flowering trees and plants, the resort defines the phrase “approachable luxury.” The brilliant blue pool sparkles and challenges you to dive in for a competitive swim (though it is still 34 feet short of an Olympic pool) or dreamily float under the Calistoga sun. The spa offers healing geo-thermal pools and mineral-rich mudbaths, as well as 14 private treatment rooms. The pool and spa are for Solange guests only; however, the hotel hosts pool parties throughout the summer which are open to local residents. The next pool party celebrates the summer solstice on Wednesday, June 21st from 3-6pm. Tickets are $25 per person, including food and drink specials. For reservations call 707 226 0806.
The hotel’s Michelin-rated restaurant, Solbar, has a gorgeous outdoor patio and is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, as well as Sunday brunch and a Champagne and Oysters Happy Hour.
North Block Hotel & Spa
Located in downtown Yountville, North Block is a smart and sophisticated boutique hotel with 20 comfortably modern rooms. The prestigious Francis and Alexander Spa is the perfect accompaniment to the Moroccan inspired pool, creating a hidden oasis. Small but choice the North Block pool, like the hotel itself, is a gem, sporting impeccable, evocative design and understated elegance. If you’re not staying at the hotel, not to worry, simply call to schedule a spa treatment and use of the pool is included without an additional fee; however, it is best to make a spa reservation at least two weeks in advance during the peak season.
The restaurant associated with North Block is James Beard Award nominee Richard Reddington’s Redd Wood, one the SF Chronicle’s “Top 100” restaurants. A casual, stylish Italian-inspired restaurant, their wood-fired pizzas are craveable. The stunning interior is designed by the incomparable Erin Martin.
Nestled among 33 acres of olive groves in the Rutherford Hills above St. Helena, the celebrated Auberge du Soleil is a world-class hotel and spa. The panoramic view from the crystal clear La Plage adults-only swimming pool — vineyards, mountains, silver olive trees, and a sculpture garden — captures the essence of Napa Valley. The pool and spa are strictly exclusive to guests of the hotel, so you’ll have to rent a room, a suite, or perhaps one of the 50 luxury maisons to take a dip in this beautiful pool.
Founded more than 35 years ago by legendary restaurateur Claude Rouas as Napa’s first fine-dining restaurant, Auberge du Soleil is still known for its exceptional cuisine as well as its accommodations. The restaurant terrace is one of the valley’s best spots for breakfast, lunch or dinner and is open to the public. Reservations are highly recommended.