Plan your personalized
itinerary with our concierge
To give you inspiration, Relais & Châteaux presents the Routes du Bonheur: suggestions for travel itineraries that you can fully personalise according to your wishes and the experiences you would like to discover. Our consultants are available to help customise your route and assist you in making reservations at our properties. It is up to you to reserve any recommended activities on-site or nearby that might interest you.
*Total price provided for information only, based on accommodation for two people in a double room for the number of nights per property as indicated on this page, exclusive of recommended activities, properties that cannot be reserved online and restaurants.
Hotel and restaurant in the country. In December of 2016, chef Kyle Connaughton and his wife Katina, a farmer, opened SingleThread. The restaurant’s eleven course tasting menu is driven by the couple’s farm produce and personalised to meet the preferences of their guests. With five guest rooms above the restaurant, overnight guests can enjoy luxurious amenities and an exclusive breakfast. Authentic hospitality is a driving principle at SingleThread. “When you come here, whether you’re dining in our restaurant or spending the night upstairs, we want you to feel like a guest in our home,” says Kyle. ... Learn moreless
Hotel and restaurant in town. This exquisite gem of a hotel is located in Healdsburg, a small town offering all the magic of the Sonoma Wine Country. Enjoy superb cuisine, art galleries and boutique shopping. Meticulous attention to detail sets Hotel Les Mars apart, from the limestone facade and wrought ironwork of its exterior to its dramatic interior finishes and antique furniture. A 17th-century Flemish tapestry hangs in the lobby, and walnut panels and leather-bound books line the library. Nearby, country roads meander through vineyards and rolling hills to more than 100 world-class wineries, including Chalk Hill, Alexander Valley, Dry Creek Valley and Russian River Valley. ... Learn moreless
Back in Healdsburg, dinner at the Dry Creek Kitchen is recommended. Celebrity chef Charlie Palmer, who first made his name at Manhattan’s Aureole restaurant, is behind this sleek new spot in the Hotel Healdsburg. The kitchen’s inventive, modern American cuisine features local, seasonal ingredients often in unexpected combinations. Wine lovers are spoiled for choice here with a list that offers some 600 labels from the Sonoma region alone.
Back on the coast, Jenner-by-the-Sea is a sleepy seaside hamlet at the mouth of the Russian River, off Highway 1. This is a place to relax, walk on the beach, and savor the natural setting. Whale watching runs from December through April, and seal watching is available year round.
Head south on Route 101 to view the craggy Sonoma coastline. With more than 30 miles of sandy beaches and coves hidden beneath rugged headlands, you will be seduced by stunning sunsets and a wide variety of sea, plant and bird life. Sonoma Coast State Park is one of several parks and beaches along this route. If you venture onto the beach, however, beware of sudden “sneaker waves” that can carry off the unwary.
Nine miles from the hotel, off Route 101S is the sprawling Chalk Hill Estate, in the rugged foothills of the Mayacamas Mountains. The property is planted with 350 acres of vineyards and surrounded by 1,000 acres of scenic terrain. Cooling Pacific breezes and a range of soil types make it ideal for growing several varietals including their well known chardonnay, sauvignon blanc, syrah and more. Visitors can take a tour of the estate’s culinary gardens, striking equestrian dressage pavilion and the winery. In the tasting room with its sweeping views, you can sip current releases as well as library wines.
Restaurant and hotel in the country. Meadowood invites you to embark on a unique tasting journey in the heart of Napa Valley’s prestigious wine country. Learn about and enjoy local wines while relaxing on the estate or going on private tours and tastings at the legendary wineries in the area. The Restaurant at Meadowood, headed by three-star young Chef Christopher Kostow, is one of the best in the region. Activities include golf, tennis, hiking, swimming and Meadowood’s signature activity: croquet. In the cozy lodges, rooms and suites, with decks and views of the fairways or forested hills, everything comes together to create memories that will last a lifetime. ... Learn moreless
Plan on a visit to Harlan Estate Vineyards, 15 minutes away in the hills of Oakville, which produces some of the most sought after red wines in the area on a 240-acre property. Founder Bill Harlan had a successful career in real estate before starting his own cult wineries. Two different red blends, made with Bordeaux varietals, comprise the output of fewer than 2,000 cases a year. These rare wines can cost several hundred dollars per bottle.
Hotel and restaurant in a vineyard. In the midst of the famous vineyards of Napa Valley, French restaurateur Claude Rouas and his business partner Robert Harmon have created an elegant boutique hotel hidden away in an olive grove reminiscent of Provence. The secluded, romantic maisons with private terraces, custom furnishings and fireplaces are perched on a hillside, framing one of California wine country’s most spectacular views above the renowned vineyards below. The Restaurant’s Mediterranean-inspired cuisine showcases the best seasonal ingredients of the region, while the Auberge Spa incorporates natural ingredients indigenous to Northern California and the region into each customized treatment. The 15,000-bottle cellar features an award-winning selection of domestic and international wines for guests to enjoy on the terrace as the sun sets on the horizon. ... Learn moreless
Restaurant in the country. Chef Thomas Keller’s technique has become so famous that Pixar studios asked him to create the ratatouille featured at the end of the film “Ratatouille”. In the heart of Napa Valley, this emblematic three-star Chef, whose restaurant Per Se is a New York culinary landmark, has created one of California’s finest dining spots. Working closely with fellow Chef David Breeden, Keller and his team serve minimalist cuisine using products like oysters and truffles in “sequenced meals”: in order to maximize surprises, no single ingredient is ever repeated in a meal. There is a new menu every day, and the herbs and vegetables come straight from the culinary garden. ... Learn moreless
Back near St. Helena, up a winding lane on rugged Pritchard Hill, is the family-run Chappellet Winery. Founded in the 1960s, this was one of the first in Napa to grow grapes on high elevations. The specialty is age-worthy cabernet sauvignons with concentration and finesse. Pritchard Hill has been dubbed “Napa’s Grand Cru.” Appointments are recommended for the winery’s 90-minute tours and tastings.
In Rutherford, Swanson Vineyards Salon is the upscale, French-inspired hospitality and tasting room of this handsome winery. Here, by appointment and for a fee, up to eight guests can sample about six wines along with artisanal cheeses and other local products at a tutored tasting. Swanson is the largest bottler of estate-grown merlot in the area, and also produces pinot grigios and cabernet sauvignons.
When the traffic backs up on busy Highway 29, Napa’s main thoroughfare, go off piste and take the Silverado Trail, a 30-mile long route on the pastoral, eastern side of the valley. You’ll discover about 40 vineyards - from Andretti to ZD - many of which produce small batches of wines that you probably won’t find back home. Regularly scheduled tours are offered at Monticello, Mumm Napa Valley, Rutherford Hill and a few others.
Restaurant in town. Joshua Skenes has made fire his signature. He has transposed the campfires of his childhood to Saison, his restaurant in San Francisco, where he refines the art of cooking over hot coals. For him, it’s the best way to bring out the flavor of the ingredients. His menus highlight the finest products that exist, even aging them if necessary, as with game and certain vegetables, to concentrate the flavors. His cuisine is the result of know-how, an art that cannot be rushed, and he wants his diners to know that he takes all the time necessary. But the ambience is always relaxed and casual — after the meal, there’s nothing like a cup of buckwheat tea amidst the flaming hearth. ... Learn moreless
Restaurant in town. The cuisine of Gary Danko, the ambassador of contemporary American fine dining, draws on traditions from around the world. Using seasonings from Asia, he adds a pinch of audacity to his French-style technique, creating dishes like the sublime buckwheat blini with smoked salmon, Kendall Farms crème fraîche and Black Sea Osetra caviar. Danko only uses what’s in season. Sea scallops are served with asparagus-pea purée in the spring and paired with butternut squash and caramelized apples in the winter. In the heart of one of San Francisco’s trendiest districts, his restaurant offers an intimate, inviting atmosphere, with modern paintings standing out against taupe walls. ... Learn moreless
Restaurant in town. In Jackson Square, one of San Francisco’s oldest and most charming districts, a century-old landmarked building houses one of the finest restaurants in the city. Chef Michael Tusk prepares Italian- and French-inspired Californian cuisine using only fresh local ingredients procured by a carefully selected local network of small farmers and producers. The same care is applied to the selection of wines suggested for each dish. In an elegant, art déco-inspired setting, you can savor dishes like whole roast duck for two with black garlic and green gage plums or risotto with cardoons, porcini mushroom and white truffle. ... Learn moreless
Farther southeast off Route 101, Muir Woods National Monument is part of the National Park Service and of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area. Its star feature is the 240 acres of towering, old-growth Coast Redwoods (Sequoia sempervirens).
Fisherman’s Wharf, on San Francisco’s northern waterfront, is a bustling tourist attraction that started as the dock for the Italian emigre fishermen in the 19th Century, who set out to catch the local specialty, Dungeness crabs. Although it is now lined with hotels and visitors’ attractions, the Wharf is still home to some of the local fishing fleet. From this area visitors can take boat tours of the harbor including visits to infamous Alcatraz Island.
Food lovers should check out the Ferry Building Marketplace, a conversion of the old ferry terminus on the Embarcadero. There’s a sustainable farmer’s market, as well as shops for cookware and local artisan foods, coffee shops and restaurants. The Wine Merchant here offers wine tastings and classes.
Alamo Square is a residential neighborhood of Victorian wood townhouses and a park on a hill with wonderful views of San Francisco. The row of colorful, large houses facing the park on Steiner Street, nicknamed the “Painted Ladies”, is often featured on postcards and in films. A wonderful place to visit during the day.