Destination Meadowood in Napa Valley

by Rona Berg

After a $60 million renovation, this iconic Napa Valley getaway features insanely delicious three-star Michelin dining at The Restaurant, wellness programs, refurbished rooms and suites, an impeccable nine-hole golf course and a new world-class spa. There is still a bit more work to be done, but the verdict is already in: Meadowood is a stunner!

Designed by St. Helena-based architect Howard Backen, and overseen by Director of Spa and Wellness Michael Conte, the property’s spacious new all-suites spa fuses
elements of a traditional Japanese ryokan with the rustic elegance of the Napa wine country. Eight suites (two doubles) feature airy outdoor views of trees and sky, and incorporate reclaimed redwood, felled from the property. (The Treehouse Retreat, with its woodsy views, crackling fireplace and copper bathtub—with a seasonal bath menu—is the one you’ll want to request.) Orchard ladders, sourced from nearby vineyards where they were used to harvest grapes and tree fruits, perch in the suites, and petrified wood is built into lamps, dishware and decorative pieces.

My signature treatment begins with a consultation with my spa therapist, Annette, who asks about my desired outcome: I want a balancing and restorative treatment. She suggests a range of essential oils, and I choose geranium for its nourishing properties. (I could have gone with a more traditional lavender/peppermint blend, or rosemary/pink grapefruit, but I wanted something more subtle.) Annette turns on the delicious aromatherapy steam shower in my suite, instructs me to massage the oil blend onto my chest and kidney area and I pop into the shower for six minutes. Heaven! Wouldn’t it be great if everyone could take one of these home with them?

Now I’m ready for an exfoliating body scrub with aloe, sugar and shea butter, followed by an algae body mask by Glycelene, a lovely new local skincare brand with botanical ingredients in a base of Chardonnay grapeseed oil and glycerin. I’m wrapped up in biodegradable, compostable, non-GMO “plastic” sheets, and, while in the wrap, Annette massages my neck, shoulders, face and head. Desired outcome: achieved!

Next I head to the “Living Room” in my suite, and sit on a cozy banquette with a friend to share the sumptuous new Spa Menu, designed by Chef Victoria Acosta, who also oversees the menu at The Grill. “We wanted to follow the spa treatment menu categories,” says Acosta, “which are Field, Vine, Earth and Air.”

Each category features two smaller plates and two larger ones, like Orange Blossom, a divine creation made with avocado, white miso and nori dressing; salmon with flax, seaweed and market peas; beets with bulgur wheat, bronze fennel and pomegranate. “I asked myself what grows on a vine?,” says Acosta, “and I pictured things like grapes, peas, squash. Then I thought about what I could pair with them.” Almost everything is locally sourced or grown in the Meadowood garden down the road. (Foodies will also want to experience Chef Christopher Kostow’s 12- or 20-course three-star Michelin tasting menu, which can be enjoyed in The Restaurant or, if you prefer a peek behind the scenes, in the kitchen.)

To complement the exquisite spa meal, guests can choose from a range of delicious, healthy elixirs—the spicy Ginger Elixir, with orange, Meadowood honey and cayenne, was my favorite—or indulge in a local Napa wine pairing. “It was important for us to stay true to the spirit of Napa Valley and offer a true wine and food experience,” says Conte. “That’s why we have a beautiful wine menu for the spa.” Let’s all raise a glass! meadowood.com

Beet and Grain Salad Recipe

Roasted Beets

5 Pounds Assorted Baby Beets (reserve one of each color for shaving raw) Water to Cover Beets Half Way

3 Tablespoons Sugar

3 Tablespoons Kosher Salt

¼ Cup Olive Oil

Preparation:

We use three to four different types of beets including: Chioggia, Golden, White and Red. Remove leaves, reserve small ones for the salad and wash beets well.

In a roasting pan, add beets, salt, sugar, olive oil and cover half way with water.

Cover pan with foil and cook in a 400˚F oven for approximately 35 min, depending on size. Test to make sure they are fork tender. Let cool until able to handle.

Carefully remove peels using gloved hands or a kitchen towel, leaving the “tails” intact. Leave beets whole or cut them in halves and quarters.

Lemon-Orange Dressing

¼ Cup Freshly Squeezed Orange Juice

¼ Cup Freshly Squeezed Lemon Juice

1 Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Kosher Salt to Taste

Preparation:

Combine all ingredients in an air tight container. Seal and shake until emulsified.

Grains

1 Cup Bulgur Wheat, Rinsed

1 Cup Peal Barley, Rinsed

4 Cups Water or Vegetable Stock 1 Large Shallot, Minced

¼ Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil Kosher Salt to Taste

Preparation:

In two separate pots, heat olive oil over medium-high heat.

Add half the minced shallot to each pot and season with salt.

Stir occasionally and allow shallot to sweat.

Add grains to separate pots, toasting slightly in the olive oil.

Cover with water and allow to simmer until grains are just tender or al dente. Strain out any excess liquid and allow to cool over ice.

Fennel Puree

1 Head Fennel, White Bulb Only, Rough Small Chop

1 Vanilla Bean, Scraped

2 Tablespoons Olive Oil

Kosher Salt to Taste

Preparation:

In a sauce pot, heat olive oil over medium-high heat.

Add chopped fennel, salt and vanilla bean.

Stir occasionally and allow to sweat.

Reduce heat to low, cover the pot and allow to steam until very tender. Combine in a blender and strain through a fine chinois.

Cool in an ice bath.

Other Garnish

½ Head Fennel, Fronds Reserved, Shaved Root Fennel Flowers

Other Edible Flowers

1 Pomegranate, Seeds Removed

To Assemble:

Dress roasted and raw shaved beets and shaved fennel with dressing and a touch of sea salt, separating red beets to avoid bleeding of color.

In another bowl, combine grains, pomegranate, dressing and season with sea salt.

On the plate, spread a spoonful of fennel puree along desired area. Add a base of grain mixture. Begin to build layers of roasted beets, shaved beets, fennel and grains.

When you have reached desired portion size, finish the plating with reserved garnish.

Fennel fronds, flowers and beet greens.

The Meadowood Spa Elixirs

Each recipe makes approximately 24 ounces

Wheat Grass Elixir

12oz Pineapple Juice

6oz Wheat Grass Juice

3oz Turmeric Juice

3oz Cider Vinegar

Ginger Elixir

10oz Orange Juice

6oz Ginger Juice

6oz Honey Water*

2oz Cider Vinegar

¼ Tsp Cayenne

Carrot Elixir

10oz Carrot Juice

6oz Ginger Juice

4oz Honey Water*

2oz Cider Vinegar

1oz Lime Juice

½ Tsp Coriander Seed (toasted & ground)

*Honey water is one part honey dissolved in one part warm water

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