One of the best hotel experiences I ever had was when I stayed at The Cosmopolitan in Las Vegas. While there, we dined at the hotel’s famous restaurant, D.O.C.G., and got the chance to sample some of its 500 Italian wines. There were dozens of wines on that list that I had never heard of before, and the sommelier on staff had that perfect combination of knowledge, warmth, and an astute palate. Every wine he suggested to us, from the blends of Tuscany to the Sangiovese of Abruzzo, was absolutely delicious and paired perfectly with our meal. That experience alone made the trip worthwhile.
If you frequently travel for work or play, staying at a hotel that knows and cares about wine not only makes your trip more enjoyable, it can help you improve your collection. The best hotels for wine lovers usually have at least one of the following amenities: a particular wine specialty, luxury wine-related service, or winery tours.
What makes The Cosmopolitan’s D.O.C.G. so ideal for wine collectors is that it focuses primarily on Italian wines. This specialization forces sommeliers and chefs to think outside the box with their wine lists, since they only have a limited number of producers to choose from. At a hotel like this, you can sample a wide range of lesser-known wines and find new producers or varietals that you haven’t considered before. I recommend staying in a hotel with a specialized list if you’re stuck in a wine rut and want to spice up your personal collection.
The only downside is that it’s not always easy to identify excellent specialized hotels at first glance. Just because a hotel only serves Australian wine doesn’t mean their selection will be inherently interesting. First, research the wine lists at the hotel’s restaurants before you book your stay. Next, do some research on the wines you’re not familiar with. How do critics rate them? What is the terroir like? Most importantly, is the hotel’s price reasonable, or are they charging you $50 for a wine that normally sells for $8? The best hotels for wine lovers will offer excellent, lesser-known wines for prices that suit their quality.
Here are a few great hotels for specialty wine lovers, based on regional focus:
Italy: The Cosmopolitan in Las Vegas or L’Andana in Tuscany
Bordeaux: Hotel Lisboa in Macau or Le Boutique Hotel in Bordeaux
Burgundy: The Surrey in New York City or Château du Petit Musigny A Chambolle in Burgundy
California: Rancho Valencia in Santa Fe or Blackberry Farm in Tennessee
Luxury Wine Hotels
Modern luxury hotels go above and beyond changing your sheets every morning and leaving a mint on your pillow. At some of these hotels, you can get anything from a psychic reading for your dog to a Chardonnay-based facial at the hotel’s spa. Here are a couple luxury hotels with unique wine-related amenities:
The Carneros Inn in Napa Valley: This hotel, set amid rolling vineyards, is calibrated to appeal to hard-core wine enthusiasts. Here, the concierge service can set up wine tours and tastings at nearby wineries, and they even offer wine grape-related spa treatments, like a grape skin wrap.
The Relais San Maurizio in Piedmont: At the Relais, you can hire a private butler to bring you a wide selection of wines without leaving the comfort of your room, or go on a hotel-sponsored truffle hunt to find fungus to pair with your wine.
Although these luxury services aren’t essential for improving your collection, they can help you reconnect with your love of wine. As a wine enthusiast, I know I can get too focused on statistics, research, and tasting notes, and I sometimes forget to enjoy the experience. Wine-themed amenities allow you to enjoy your wine without getting wrapped up in trivia, and you can come back to your cellar fully refreshed and eager to find your next great vintage.
Winery Perks and Packages
Your collection will benefit most from hotels that offer exclusive wine tours or tastings. While a great wine list can help you find new wines, the information you can learn is going to be limited. On exclusive wine tours, you’ll get in-depth information about the wineries and see firsthand how the wine is made. This allows you to become an expert on one particular producer or area, and it also gives you the chance to sample a range of vintages so you can find the perfect one to lay down for a few years in your cellar.
Here are a few hotel/winery packages worth considering:
Calistoga Ranch in Napa: You get a tour of the vineyard, plus special classes on pruning and crushing grapes. This is ideal for collectors who are considering a wine career.
Estancia La Jolla Hotel in San Diego: Take classes on food and wine pairing. This is perfect for collectors who want to become sommeliers.
Owhanake Bay Estate in New Zealand: The Island of Wine package includes free wine, tours of the estate, private tastings, free food pairings, and dinner reservations at the hotel restaurant. This is would be a good option for collectors looking to learn more about New Zealand wines.
A great wine collector is able to hunt down lesser-known gems, has a strong passion for the wine drinking and tasting experience, and also has in-depth knowledge of the winemaking process. A good luxury hotel should be able to help you develop these qualities, and send you home with some great wine, too.
Whether you are starting your high-end wine collection or adding to an established portfolio, Vinfolio is your partner in buying, selling, and professional storage. Contact us today to get access to the world’s best wine.