As the age of the cruise ship and the Disney resort fades, two values dominate the desires of the modern traveler: direct experience and cultural authenticity.
These travelers are giving up the engineered and pampered environment of tourists of the past for a more natural, enhancing experience beyond a simple visit. Add to this another overbearing trend in travel, that of the epicurean armed with an iPhone, and the attraction of the wine resort becomes clear as glass.
Indeed, the wine resort intersects with many modern travel preferences. Located inside or adjacent to the vineyards, guests experience the mechanisms of wine production up close; even better, they can taste it. By definition, therefore, these locations are located in areas off the beaten track, in the unspoiled hinterland where tourists rarely venture.
Here is a selection of the most exciting properties in the world in this emerging travel trend. Spanning from the United States to Argentina, all of these resorts artfully blend modern luxury with rustic charm, balancing local authenticity with ornate opulence. And, of course, a lot of wine.
Chateau L’Hospitalet-Narbonne, France
Gérard Bertrand, a rugby player turned wine baron, renovated this charming resort last year. A firm believer in growing grapes in an environmentally friendly, pesticide-free manner, the resort’s aesthetic reflects his environmental ethics. Imposing trees shade the park around a pretty castle while a small pool near the dining room collects ample Mediterranean sun. Beyond the green hills of the Languedoc, the sea is easily visible from the vast vineyard. There are 41 well-equipped rooms on the 1,000-acre site, including 28 suites.
Unlike crowded Cannes on the east side of France’s sweeping southern coast, the Languedoc region where Bertrand grew up is one of pristine landscapes, friendly people and medieval ruins (the 11th-century Abbey of Fontfroide, where Ridley Scott shot his recent film, The last duel, is a short drive away). In addition to vineyard tours, an on-site art gallery, spa, and yoga classes, the resort has also just opened a small beach resort nearby with a shady bar and restaurant.
Six Senses Douro Valley: Samodães, Portugal
The Douro Valley, in the sunny peak of Portugal, is considered one of the most underrated wine regions in the world. Port, a sweetish red wine and the country’s most famous alcoholic export, dominates the production and the varieties used for it – Tinta Barroca, Tinto Cao, Touriga Nacional, Tinta Roriz and Touriga Franca – account for most of the vineyards.
This valley of verdant hills, fed by the Douro River, which the hotel overlooks, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site: it is the oldest delimited wine region in the world. This 60-room oasis, famous for its aesthetic design, occupies a 19th-century manor house surrounded by vineyards. Like the spectacular nearby city of Porto, the resort offers unpretentious style and luxury. With a wonderful spa, a sunny pool, and unlimited wine, this is a place of rejuvenation.
Meneghetti Wine Hotel & Winery – Istria, Croatia
Newly opened in March, this 40-room, century-old stone boutique hotel is located in the westernmost part of Croatia, Istria, a predominantly Italian-speaking region. The Istrian peninsula on which it is located, which the Romans knew magical land, boasts pristine beaches, which guests of the Meneghetti can enjoy in a private bathing establishment. The new resort is a Relais & Chateaux property, a lauded French hotelier. Beyond the vineyards and a cavernous cellar located in a military hangar, the property produces award-winning olive oil.
Grace Cafayate — Salta Province, Argentina
Salta province, in Argentina’s mountainous northwest, is like a mix of Arizona and Washington state, with high-altitude fern forests and deserts pepper-filled yawns of cactus. Grace Cafayate luxury hotel is located in Calchaquies Valley, a kind of greener Sedona.
The resort, which features vineyards, a spa, a large swimming pool, a wine bar and a stunning restaurant, is part of “La Estancia de Cafayate”, a 1,360-acre estate popular with equestrian sportsmen, all backed by mountain peaks. sandy. Wine is the largest industry in the valley, which at 5,500 feet above sea level receives little rain and a lot of sun; at night, galaxies enchant. In the charming 19th-century town of Cafayate, there are many wineries open for guided tours, with excellent walking and horseback riding in the mountains.
Farm Inn: Sonoma County, California
For a more intimate experience, there’s the refined rusticity of Sonoma’s acclaimed Farmhouse Inn, a 25-room venue full of charm and luxury. There’s a pool and spa on-site, along with a Michelin-starred farm-to-table restaurant (grab the antelope fillet), but most of your time is spent in the countless vineyards beyond.
The award-winning inn, which is located on a wooded property dating back to 1872 and is now run by a pair of brothers and sisters, collaborates with dozens of vineyards and artisans around Sonoma County for special tastings and tours reserved for hotel guests only . Drivers can be booked in advance or guests can choose to drive themselves in a Volvo SUV available on site. The rooms, with fireplaces, sliding doors and large luxurious beds, blend rural charm with modern sophistication.