Asia-born hotel company Alila made its first steps across the Pacific with Ventana Big Sur in 2017, and quickly discovered that the Californian sunshine complemented its trademark laid-back luxury rather well. Since then, Hyatt’s lifestyle brand has expanded across the state. In addition to a new beach resort in on the outskirts of San Diego, which is due to open imminently, the company has just taken over management of a boutique escape in the Napa Valley, creating a trio of Californian resorts that have all the makings of an unforgettable road trip.
Set on the edge of pretty little St Helena, Alila Napa Valley is built around a Georgian-style guesthouse that was originally built in 1907. All of the 68 guestrooms and suites – designed, like the rest of the resort, by Yabu Pushelberg – feature oversized balconies or wraparound terraces with fireplaces; some have outdoor bathtubs, and some boast spectacular views of the vineyards of neighbouring Beringer Estate.
Chef Chris Cosentino is the man in charge at Acacia House, the which uses fresh produce from the Napa Valley to create a seasonal and sustainable menu; while Spa Alila and Fitness Centre is set in a modern farmhouse offering customised therapies, daily yoga classes and creative fitness activities, as well as complimentary bike hire – perfect for a leisurely pedal around the surrounding vineyards.
Nestled among the clifftops north of San Diego, Alila Marea Beach Resort Encinitas is also due to open this month, completing Alila’s Californian trio. Sustainability and community will be at the core of the offering, with low impact design that blends into the landscape courtesy of San Diego-based Joseph Wong Design Associates and interior design by Brooklyn-based Mark Zeff Associates.
An ocean-view restaurant with rooftop patio looks out towards the Pacific, while a pool bar and infinity-edge hot tub will make it tempting to linger over sundowners. As well as the indulgent treatments available at Spa Alila, wellness activities including surf and paddleboard lessons will be on offer, as well as cycling, hiking and beachside yoga. Further sustainable touches include a bike valet and electric vehicle charging station, and a public access staircase leading from the clifftops to the beach below.
Door to door, with an overnight stop-off at Ventana Big Sur in between, the journey between St Helena and Encinitas is 650 miles: perfect for a week-long road trip through the best of California.