It’s been more than a little while since my last blog post but Chris really wants us to get back into writing these reviews, so here we are! As we start this back up, rather than reviewing points properties that are already heavily reviewed by major travel bloggers, we want to focus on non-points properties that might not have much coverage in other reviews.
We are starting with a review of the brand new Stanly Ranch in Napa, California. Stanly Ranch was a much-anticipated 2022 opening as part of the Auberge Resorts Collection and opened on April 29, 2022. We visited the weekend of May 14, 2022, so the resort had only been open for two weeks by the time we visited. While a physically stunning property, it was clear that service has quite a ways to go and I’ll share more on that below. Of course, because the property is brand new, we came into this stay expecting that service would be a bit of a miss, so our expectations were tempered, but it was still unfortunate given the overall cost of our stay.
Stanly Ranch is located just south of downtown Napa and while it’s relatively close to downtown, it still feels secluded and very quiet. The resort's location will either be a hit or a miss for you depending on what you're in Napa Valley to do and see. It's quite far from most Napa Valley vineyards and tasting rooms (Yountville, the approximate start of what visitors will normally consider "Napa Valley", is 25 minutes farther North, but if you're planning to visit Napa and also head west to Sonoma, you'll be well-positioned).
After walking around the resort, I realized that Stanly Ranch reminds me of an updated version of Carneros Resort, which also offers single story bungalow rooms throughout the property, but Stanly Ranch has a bit more of a modern and polished aesthetic.
We pulled up to Stanly Ranch and skipped the valet to park in the lot beyond. With a single lot at the front of the property, the hotel doesn’t charge for parking, which is appreciated. As we walked up to the lobby, we were greeted by one of their “ranch hands” who asked for the name our reservation was under and then escorted us to the lobby, AKA "Ranch House". We skipped the actual front desk, were seated at one of the couches, and offered welcome drinks (a choice of Pinot Noir, Chardonnay or lavender lemonade) while our check in was processed.
Once we had finished our welcome drinks, we were reunited with our ranch hand and she drove us in a golf cart to our bungalow. This is where we experienced our first "miss" with service. The ranch hand was probably 18-20 years old and it was pretty clear that this was her first time working at a luxury property. She made a silent drive to our room, showed us how the light switches worked, and left. After she left, I realized I had no idea where anything at the resort was, no idea what time breakfast was (or where it was) and generally no idea of what to expect from the hotel. When I’m staying at a five star property and paying $2K+ per night, I would hope to be given a tour of the resort while being brought to my room and I expect the person showing me to my room to make sure I know absolutely anything and everything I need to know to make my stay comfortable. For now I’ll chalk this up to the resort being newly opened and the staff still being trained. I ended up calling the front desk to ask all of my questions and make sure I knew what was where. That said, I still wonder what else I might have been missing that could have been helpful to know for my stay. Are there free bikes on property for guests to use? Was there anything particularly special I should know about the property? No idea.
Regardless, the best part of the resort is hands down the physical rooms combined with the beautiful setting. They are truly beautifully appointed and are just my aesthetic. Each room features an outdoor shower and a private patio to truly enjoy the stunning surroundings. The bathroom was lovely with a standing tub next to the shower, which also opens to the outdoor shower. The best part of the bathroom was the heated floors, which was an amazing touch. Oddly, they didn’t extend the heated floors into the toilet room, which seemed like a miss to me.
A fun touch you'll notice throughout the room and resort are the sprigs of fresh lavender. They are added on top of the hand soap in the bathrooms, sprinkled in various places in the room, and included with turn down service. The resort property has hundreds of lavender plants and I thought this was a great touch.
The room's minibar offered a good selection, with various spirits, bottles of wine, snacks, sodas, waters, some cheese and even fresh milk (which I assume was for your morning coffee). There was also a Nespresso machine and capsules. I'm not certain if the water or milk was complimentary given we weren't told anything when we arrived and I couldn't find a price list, but I might assume they were? To be safe, I just didn't touch any of it.
While the rooms were beautiful and largely very well-done, there were a couple of misses that we noticed throughout our stay. First, given that remote work is huge these days, it was strange to me that there was no place in the room I could really work from. I could sit on the couch or bed and have my laptop on my lap, but I had to take a work call on our last morning, and struggled to figure out how to configure myself so I could have my computer on a flat surface and still be able to take notes throughout the call. I realize most people visiting will be on vacation, but given that Stanly Ranch opened during a post-Covid world, some sort of workstation is necessary.
Additionally, one of the other things that seemed like a miss was the temperature control. It didn’t work super well during our stay (we couldn’t get the room cold enough at night) but the worst part was that every time the fan kicked on throughout the night, the panel would light up. All. Night. Long. And that panel was bright. This woke both of us up several times and will absolutely be a problem for other sensitive sleepers.
While we were visiting (again, two weeks into the resort being open), the wifi throughout the resort was completely broken. We tried to connect several times, and after calling for help the first time we realized the issue, we were given a separate login for it, but that still didn’t work. Eventually, I walked to the lobby to see what my options were because I had that work call and they ended up just giving me the login for the employee network because there was no other way to get things working. That network worked great and I have to assume these issues have since been resolved.
The resort’s spa, Halehouse, is located at the top of the property on a bit of a hill. Halehouse includes a separate pool and the fitness center, Fieldhouse. I didn’t spend any time at the spa, so I unfortunately have no point of view on it, but the facilities looked like they would be very nice.
The fitness center, known as Fieldhouse, was very well-appointed with plenty of free weights, a bench, two Peloton bikes, plenty of treadmills and ellipticals, and a separate yoga studio for classes. We found a selection of snacks available, including dried fruit and protein bites, which was a unique and appreciated offering. There was a cold water tap available along with stainless steel cups for use while in the gym. There were also plenty of dry and chilled towels.
Stanly Ranch has two swimming pools on property - the spa pool and the “Lavender Pool” which is actually two pools - a larger one presumably for adults and a small kids wading pool off to one side. The Lavender Pool is thusly named due to being completely surrounded by lavender plants, which will be really incredible in a few years once they mature.
The Lavender Pool was large and offered quite a few lounge chairs. While we were visiting, the pool sat largely empty likely due to the resort not operating yet at full capacity. In addition to the main pool and the kids pool, there was a large jacuzzi off to the left side with other seating options nearby. While at the Lavender Pool, we experienced the best service of our stay from the wonderfully friendly pool attendant who was extremely quick to greet us as soon as we stepped into the gate and got us all set up with three towels each, plus an ice bucket with our choice of sparkling or still water.
Both pools had Supergoop sunscreen available for guest use and the Lavender Pool offered a full menu from their pool restaurant, Basin Bar, of savory and sweet items, plus plenty of cocktails.
In addition to offering food at Basin Bar, Stanly Ranch has two beautiful food and beverage offerings on property, Bear, and Gavel.
Bear is Stanly Ranch’s signature restaurant and is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. You can find the menu here. We had dinner at Bear on our first night and unfortunately had a bit of a disappointing experience with our server. He didn’t explain anything about the menu and certainly didn’t mention that most dishes were sharing sized, so we ordered far too much food without realizing what we were doing. We later heard another table being told by a different server a lot more about the restaurant concept and that main dishes were for sharing, but by that point, it was too late. Overall, I personally wasn’t super excited by the menu and I don’t feel like I need to return, but others might really enjoy it.
Like the rest of Stanly Ranch, Bear is stunningly designed and offers both indoor and outdoor dining. The kitchen is open to the restaurant, so you can see what’s going on.
In addition to dinner, we also ate breakfast at Bear both mornings. Again, the food was fine, but nothing that I was that excited about.
Gavel is the property’s coffee shop, onsite market, and gift shop. Gavel offers a wide selection of beverages and picnic-focused foods, with the idea that you can go in there and buy everything you could need for a picnic in the vineyards, including a high-quality picnic basket. It was very cute and offered a great selection of souvenirs, including some really beautiful locally-made glassware.
Each night for turndown service, housekeeping would leave a tray with a beautiful glass pitcher of water, two water glasses, sprigs of fresh lavender, and on the first night, a jelly treat. I became enamored with the glassware and was excited to see it was for sale in Gavel.
Overall, Stanly Ranch is a stunning addition to the resort options in Napa Valley and it’s one of the more beautiful properties you’ll find. As the property ages and the landscaping matures, it will be even more beautiful. I had high hopes when visiting and was excited to be able to stay at the property, but the service across the board was quite disappointing for the price. I hope this improves (and I assume it will with time). Would I stay at Stanly Ranch again? Maybe in several years once the property has matured. If I’m spending $2000+ per night, I want a five star experience and this wasn’t it - yet.
Just a girl with a full-time job and a full-time obsession with traveling. It's best to LiveTraveled.