Here is a short list of hotels, resorts, and private villas that top the charts and are less than three hours away by car.
One of the most attractive things about living in San Francisco is the incredible selection of the finer things in life. Our city boasts some of the best museums and an endless list of award-winning restaurants. We also have an impressive A-list of local destinations that are as luxurious as any you can find on the French Rivera or Lake Como. The best part is that you don’t have to board a plane to reach them.
Heaven Hill in Glen Ellen: 48 Miles from Nob Hill
Rarely is an estate of this caliber available for rent, but we found this hidden treasure tucked away in the Valley of the Moon and awaiting your arrival. From the moment you set foot in the 7,170-square-foot home, beauty surrounds you. Velvet green meadows filled with wildflowers hug the property. The back yard is home to a beautifully appointed swimming pool and gazebo. The kitchen is perfect for a private chef to create a fantastic meal created from locally sourced ingredients. And, in the morning, burn off extra calories in the small gym and workout room, complete with mirrored walls, an overhead fan, and windows with blinds. Also available (at an additional cost) are private spa and fitness services—which could include an escorted hike or a yoga class. Follow that with a poolside facial or a private couples’ massage on your private terrace. The villa has four bedrooms, four bathrooms, and sleeps eight guests.
To book this private estate contact BeautifulPlaces
Auberge du Soleil in Rutherford: 65 miles from Nob Hill
Inspired by the sun-drenched South of France, the new eight-room Maison Saint-Tropez at Auberge du Soleil is the newest member of the local luxury retreats. Just opened, the Maison features dramatic custom-designed, hand-carved wooden headboards, which extend to the ceiling for a decadent combination of French opulence and California dreaming. You’ll have to decide what you like best: the floating fireplace or the outdoor soaking tubs and showers. Privacy is key, so you can indulge in room service from the comfort of your terrace—with lounge chairs, ottomans, and a dining table—which gives you sweeping hillside views of the valley. If you do want to step out of your Maison, you can walk to the Michelin-starred Restaurant at Auberge du Soleil, or Bistro & Bar.
“The Inn of the Sun”
180 Rutherford Hill Road
Rutherford, CA 94573
Castello Ninni in St. Helena: 67 Miles from Nob Hill
“Darling, meet us at the castle, al fresco dinner at 7 p.m.,” is exactly what you’ll be saying when you rent Castello Ninni in St Helena. When it comes to luxury, this slice of heaven takes the cake. It brings together all that you could possibly desire in a wine country experience: a castle, a secluded setting within a vineyard, a private pool, and incredible options that include dinner with a winemaker or private cooking classes. It is a marvelous property that has eight bedrooms and eight bathrooms, which can easily accommodate you and 15 of your best friends. The only drawback is a one-month minimum stay requirement due to Napa County restrictions.
To book this private castle contact BeautifulPlaces
La Playa Carmel in Carmel: 110 miles from Nob Hill
Back to its turn-of-the-century grandeur, the famed La Playa Carmel hotel is once again receiving privileged guests. The 75-room historic luxury boutique hotel has been newly restored to preserve its old-world opulence and no detail has been overlooked. The grounds encompass meticulously tended gardens, intimate patios, secluded courtyards, and a tranquil terrace swimming pool. For ultimate luxury, ask for the Premier Ocean View Room and, at more than 900 square feet, you’ll have plenty of room to lounge, while overlooking the Pacific Ocean—or daydreaming about the celebrities who once enjoyed staying here when it was a private residence.
La Playa Carmel
Camino Real at Eighth Ave., Carmel, CA 93921
Carmel Valley Ranch: 120 miles from Nob Hill
Nestled on a dramatic hillside of the Santa Lucia Mountains, and tucked away among ancient oak trees, is the beautiful Carmel Valley Ranch. Ranch is not the word you’d use to describe this enchanting place when you get there. Nirvana or paradise would be more apropos. It is a remarkable property filled with blooming lavender fields and secret hideaways. The most luxurious hideaway is the two-bedroom Carmel Suite. Two master bedrooms feature their own fireplaces and very spacious spa-like bathrooms, with separate glass showers and decadent, jetted soaking tubs. There is also a 42-inch TV, a relaxing club chair, and a wall of windows that lead to your large private deck, where you will love watching the clouds float by or taking a nap. The wonderful bath amenities are Carmel Valley Ranch’s own line and include fresh-pressed lavender harvested on the property.
Carmel Valley Ranch
1 Old Ranch Rd, Carmel, CA 93923
Post Ranch Inn, Big Sur: 140 miles from Nob Hill
Famously known for its ultra-luxurious accommodations, breathtaking views, and super-secluded location, Post Ranch Inn has been a world leader in five-star service for years. It is a magical place with only 40 guest rooms, hidden on 100 acres of lush hillside shrouded in oak trees and giant redwoods. While there, you can gaze at the endless Pacific Ocean, soak in your room’s private tubs, enjoy the cliffside infinity pools, hike the many trails, or dine in the award-winning Sierra Mar. Although most of the accommodations offer incredible views, for the most over-the-top luxurious experience, book one of the Pacific Suites. A circular, two-story building features two suites. Each offers 960 square feet of indoor and outdoor space, with private entrance, custom-built furniture, wood-burning fireplace, and radiant-heated floors. The curved interior opens up to glorious ocean views, which can be enjoyed from your living room, bedroom, shower, and large soaking tub. Each suite has a stainless steel outdoor hot tub on a private deck. Please note that the minimum age for guests is 18 years old and pets are not allowed.
Post Ranch Inn
Teresa Rodriguez is a travel expert and the founder of TangoDiva.com. She is also the author of several books, including Fly Solo: The 50 Best Places on Earth for a Girl to Travel Alone and Body, Mind, and Solo: 7 Keys to Conquering the World Alone.