Founded in France in 1954, Relais & Châteaux (www.relaischateaux.com) represents the highest benchmark in hotel accommodations and fine dining, with a select group of privately owned hotels and restaurants worldwide. The concept grew from the vacationing traditions of well-heeled French society, who traveled to a variety of "relais" (lodges) and "châteaux" (castles) which, while different in architecture, scenery and cuisine, presented consistently high standards.
Why Relais & Chateaux?
Relais & Châteaux is an exclusive collection of 500 of the finest charming hotels and gourmet restaurants in 60 countries. From the vineyards in Napa valley to the beaches in Bali, from the olive trees in Provence to the lodges in South Africa, Relais & Châteaux offers all the stops on the finest route for discovering each special place and country.
About Relais & Chateaux
The essence of Relais & Châteaux lies in its "5 C's": charm, courtesy, character, cuisine, and calm. The association refers to its members as disciples of simplicity, repeating simple gestures and drawing on individual secrets to enrich guests' lives during their stay. The mission statement of Relais & Châteaux is "to further the cultural and economic stature of our unique hotels and restaurants throughout the world by collectively promoting our members while recognizing their diversity, spirit and heritage".
"For me a visit to California’s famous wine country is much more than just an opportunity to explore premium wines. The lifestyle and rolling, vine-clad hills of Sonoma and Napa Valley - home to over 700 wineries - remind me of Tuscany in many ways, although they are very Californian. Imagine a place where you can travel by balloon over a misty valley, nibble artisanal breads and cheeses at the source, and dine in a world class restaurant with that perfect bottle of wine you’ve just discovered. And yet this captivating experience is all just over an hour’s drive north of San Francisco. Time spent here will enrich your palate and indulge your senses - a true getaway. Although some areas have become quite touristy, you can find less traveled, insiders’ spots with a little help from your hotel’s knowledgeable concierge. Biking, golf and hiking are popular activities here, but the less energetic can spend time at a spa or at one of several wineries that double as art galleries - from pop art at Cliff Lede Vineyards to the Hess Collection’s extensive display of contemporary art."