The Carneros Inn
Down the street from Artesa is The Carneros Inn, a Plumpjack Resort that has been rated one of the best places to stay in North America. I couldn’t agree more. When we arrived we were swarmed by employees – maybe five of them, no joking – all of whom knew exactly how to be of optimal service without being annoying. I don’t know how they did it. ‘I can only imagine the screening process for this place,’ I thought. It was that impressive.
My first real image from The Carneros Inn is following one of these employees as he drove a golf cart down the hill to our cottage. As we were following on our bikes, his left hand held the glass of red wine offered me upon my arrival. It was a beautiful feeling, being escorted to our cottage this way.
When he opened the room and began explaining all its features we couldn’t help but gush. There was a complimentary bottle of wine next to a cheese plate and basket of bread. The bed was made to exquisite taste. There was a cappuccino machine in our bathroom, by Jove! And the patio should rightly have been shared by half a dozen cottages. Seriously, I think small African villages could have hidden from us while we were out there. Maybe they would have hidden behind the outdoor fireplace, or in the outdoor soaking tub. Or in the outdoor shower, which connected to the indoor shower. There was plenty of flora to hide behind, too.
The cottages are secluded and quiet – we could not hear a thing – but not so remote. Part of the property is adjacent to Highway 12, and locals make use of their amazing lounge and restaurant for a hip place to spend the night out. There was a bocce court (we knew, once we saw this, that we were dreaming), and running down the first half of the outdoor lounge was a long fireplace that constantly illuminated faces in the darkness. This was like an ideal luxury sleep-away camp: we could leave our cabin for any number of recreations, and did. After leaving the lounge we made our way for their main pool – they have two, both of which are 24 hours – set high above the valley and not so far from the stars, either. The view was phenomenal as we called the evening successful, sipping one final drink in the hot tub.
I have to confess: I knew this would be a nice place, but I was “wowed” by its every aspect. I felt royal, pampered, lucky. The concierge made sure several times to ask if we needed anything additional, and we took him up on it. Traveling as light as possible, we had each only brought one change of clothes. Although not offered as a regular service, the staff came to our cottage, picked up our laundry, and brought it back to us before we even returned from the hot tub. If you want your experience to be better than your dreams, go to The Carneros Inn. Stay there. Do not ever leave!