Photo courtesy of Hotel Yountville
By Deirdre Bourdet
The Altamura family has invested some serious time and energy in coaxing
the contemporary Hotel Yountville
out of the 50-room, country-chic
Yountville Inn. The construction of several new buildings, conference
center, restaurant, spa, swimming pool, and outdoor lounging areas is
almost complete, though, and the place has shaped up rather
spectacularly into one of Yountville’s sexiest resorts.
Designed by the same team that transformed Milliken Creek Inn, the
remodeled Hotel Yountville blends sleek modern design with luxurious
comfort. Subtle details and rich textures create an inviting
environment full of plush seating and contemporary comforts. When I was
invited to tour the property in early February, it was all I could do
not to sink into every seat we passed. Fortunately, I had been invited
to sit down for breakfast at the guests-only Hopper Creek Kitchen, which
has been making waves since the soft opening in December 2010.
Chef Adam Clark joined the Hotel Yountville team after stints at Calistoga Ranch and Aqua, and has brought a level of technical rigor and modern creativity to breakfast that no other wine country restaurant attempts. Clark said his guiding principle in creating the menus is to identify the dishes people naturally gravitate towards for breakfast, then put his own spin on them. The resulting menu exhibits impressive variety, originality, and straight up decadence.
Each guest receives a playful amuse-bouche to take the edge off, and simultaneously whet the palate for the delights in store. The morning I was there, we received a shot of frothy apricot smoothie, and a toasted mini English muffin (housemade), spread with bacon butter. Coffee service was extraordinary, using Equator Coffees’ plantation-direct beans from prime locations around the globe. The “Coffee Experience” brought precision brewing tableside, with porcelain drip cones, gleaming silver teapots of water heated to exactly 201 degrees Fahrenheit, and carefully timed pouring to extract the finest fragrance of the beans–all done right under your nose.
During my visit, the breakfast menu included à la carte options like housemade muesli, consisting of red quinoa, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, pecans, and dried strawberries with choice of organic milk or yogurt; a breakfast risotto with lavender mint, preserved strawberries, apple vincotto, and caramelized Asian pears; smoked Loch Duart salmon with house-made black pepper and Meyer lemon flatbread, caperberries, whipped mascarpone, and mustard; and a variety of egg dishes made from local Barrett Farm eggs, several of which are slowly poached at 63 degrees for forty-five minutes to attain a uniquely silken texture with warm liquid gold centers.
If you’re feeling particularly indulgent (as I was), spring for the Chef’s Tasting Menu, which includes the aromatic Coffee Experience as well as three dishes that showcase the chef’s technical prowess with simple, intense flavors in creative combination. The “Duck ‘n’ Donuts” dish I scored from this menu embodied all that is good about confit… tender, succulent, perfectly seasoned meat, with edges crisped by a quick pan sear, paired with a tangy quince agrodolce compote that both cut and complemented the richness. Three yuzu cream-filled donut holes dusted with 5-spice rounded out this indulgence with spiced, tarted-up, yeasty fried carbs. And then for dessert we got a French toast soufflé so impossibly delicious that we couldn’t help but devour it all. No joke. Leave the diet at home, and just go with the gluttony.
With the exception of the lobby bar (which should have its liquor license in mid-March), all of the hotel’s amenities are reserved for guests’ use only, so if you want to experience Hopper Creek Kitchen or the spa’s signature hot stone treatments, you will have to book a beautiful room first. The rooms are certainly no chore, though, with the hotel’s inviting “Dream Beds,” Italian linens, rain showers, spa tubs, and macaroon turndown service, among many other delicious perks.
Room rates are currently discounted to pre-opening levels, but will rise in April with the completion of the construction work and grand opening festivities. Book in February or March for the best deals, and to beat the springtime crowds.Hotel Yountville
, 6462 Washington Street, Yountville. 888.944.2885.