Meritage Resort and Spa, as one might expect of a Napa, Calif., property, pays homage to the area’s most famous product, wine. It’s hard to miss the onsite private vineyard and wine cave. But Napa, with its sunny skies and mild temperatures, is also known for an obsession with food, wellness, and relaxation. With last year’s opening of sister hotel Vista Collina Resort on the property, the integrated resort can now check off all those boxes with an expanded scope of activities, accommodations, and event spaces for meeting attendees.
The addition of 145 luxurious Tuscan-inspired guestrooms and themed suites at Vista Collina raises the total room count to 467. The expanded resort now contains 80,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor event space scattered across 44 venues; combined, it represents the largest meeting space in Napa Valley. Reflecting the area’s distinctive climate and history, group spaces include an open-air event deck tucked into the vineyard, a 16,000-square-foot lawn designed to host outdoor receptions and team-building games, a rooftop terrace, a vintner’s room equipped with two large community tables that can seat up to 120 guests.
The venues cater to a variety of tastes: At one end of the spectrum are two typical ballrooms (7,358 and 10,490 square feet, respectively); at the other end is the estate wine cave, built into the hillside beneath the vineyard, a memorable and intimate setting for dinners of 50-100.
Meeting planners seeking an environment that stresses wellness will appreciate the Meritage Resort approach. The clear star of the show is the spa, also incorporated into the hillside beneath the vineyard. The serene facility includes a relaxation lounge, eucalyptus steam room, jacuzzi, and 12 treatment rooms capable of handling up to 100 locally inspired treatments a day. A menu of activities takes advantage of the setting and ranges from yoga on the vineyard event deck to sound healing, meditation, and Pilates in the estate cave. The two resorts recently rolled out a “Mindful Meetings” program designed to encourage happier and healthier lifestyles.
Thanks to the mild climate, outdoor group activities abound in the surrounding area. Kayaking, hiking, biking, and running tours can be arranged; less active but adventurous group members can book hot-air balloon trips nearby. A free resort shuttle transfers guests keen on shopping and dining excursions to downtown Napa, four miles away.
On property, both Meritage and Vista Collina have well-equipped fitness facilities, jacuzzis, and pools with private cabanas. Vista Collina’s front lawn provides a variety of lawn games, picnic tables, blankets, and Adirondack chairs for relaxing and savoring a picnic meal delivered by butler service. Groups can also organize lawn game tournaments. And Crush Lounge, a sports-themed bar and grill, is home to six bowling lanes—and a beverage menu with plenty of alternatives to wine, including a selection of craft beers and cocktails.
Wrapped around the lawn is The Village, designed to add a distinctive Wine Country flair to the resort. It includes a microbewery, a gourmet grocery spotlighting local products, and a collection of eight boutique wine tasting rooms. Using a voucher system, groups can participate in curated tasting experiences at the tasting rooms. The tasting rooms can also host dine-arounds with courses paired with wines at each stop. And the resort offers groups the chance to try out winemaking, providing basic instruction for teams to create their own blends.
The Village is also home to the Food and Wine Center, a chef-led hands-on classroom kitchen with capacity for up to 40 students. Classes are designed to encourage home cooks by providing culinary tips and tricks and inspiring more confidence. Wine and beer making, healthy trends, and timeless classics are among the class themes, and groups can add wine or cocktail pairings to the meals they prepare. Several team-building activities are possible in the center: a group “kitchen takeover” for up to 20 guests, with teams preparing a multicourse dinner paired with local wines; and an “Iron Chef takedown,” in which groups have half an hour in a competition to produce the dish most suited to accompany the chef-prepared dinner. Aprons and kitchen towels customized with an organization’s logo can also be provided.
The Meritage/Vista Collina’s formula of wine, wellness, and typically fair skies makes for a relaxing and restorative event destination.