Editor’s note: The 2020 Glass Fire destroyed several structures on the upper areas of the Meadowood property, including the Restaurant at Meadowood, the Grill at Meadowood, events and conference spaces, and several cottages. The resort is currently taking reservations for when the southern expanse reopens, with a new restaurant and grill in the summer of 2021.
Triple Five-Star status is the luxury lodging world's answer to the Triple Crown—a massive accomplishment—and on February 20 Meadowood Napa Valley became one of just 13 properties on the planet to receive the Forbes Travel Guide honor. With best-in-class rankings for its restaurant, spa, and hotel, it's safe to say that the iconic St. Helena resort is at the top of its game.
The Forbes review team lavished praise on every aspect of the property: "The resort is nestled into a charming valley surrounded by mountains, and it’s just about as picturesque a scene as you’re likely to find. It’s also, of course, in the heart of California’s famed wine country, and right near chic boutiques and great outdoor activities."
The acclaim did not come all at once, certainly. Meadowood Napa Valley's eponymous restaurant, led by the visionary chef Christopher Kostow, earned its five-star rating from Forbes in 2013. The spa followed suit four years later. The hotel caught up with the other two departments this year, completing the perfect score.
"The restaurant and spa have extremely strong leaders in Director Nathaniel Dorn and Director Michael Conte, respectively," said Meadowood General Manager Patrick Nayrolles. "Both are consummate professionals and place a high value on gracious service. The rest of the staff saw the discipline and dedication it took from the members of those teams to earn their fifth stars and with hard work and passion the 15th star was achieved by the hotel. Today we are thrilled to have the continuity of five stars for each of these distinctive entities."
Did the hotel staff feel pressure to keep up with their colleagues elsewhere at the resort?
"We like to think of it as a healthy competition," Nayrolles said. "Meadowood staff members genuinely enjoy being in service and they want to work at the highest level. So, they welcome the opportunity to challenge themselves and to be positively challenged by their colleagues."
Three of the 13 Triple Five-Star properties are located in California—the Fairmont Grand Del Mar and the Montage Laguna Beach also received 15 total stars. All told, 20 Golden State hotels achieved Five-Star status in 2018, including Belmond El Encanto in Santa Barbara, Four Seasons Hotel Los Angeles at Beverly Hills, and Rosewood Sand Hill in Menlo Park. A very select group of eight California restaurants and nine Golden State spas received five stars from Forbes.
The secret to success, Nayrolles said, is an obsessive commitment to excellence.
"It really comes down to having a passion for being among the best in the world. Is it harder? Yes. Does it require more discipline, more dedication and more heart and soul? Yes. The team here will tell you, if you don’t enjoy being in service, if you don’t love being part of a team and working toward a common goal, and if you don’t want to work hard, don’t come to work at Meadowood."
But if you're a discerning traveler looking for a consummate luxury experience, definitely do go to Meadowood—it has officially distinguished itself as one of the finest resorts in the world.