We knew before we arrived at the Auberge that we were staying at one of Napa’s finest, when the people we told gasped out loud. We soon learnt why – set into the cliff-face at Rutherford, the property overlooks the panoramic valley. The view, not to mention the sunset, is spectacular from the deck of the hotel’s restaurant, or the luscious pool, or from the balcony of our enormous villa – pretty much everywhere. We noted a French accent throughout, from the pool deck, ‘La Plage’ to its Michelin-starred eatery – and the whole property wouldn’t be out of place in the South of France, yet still so distinctly Napa. Back in our drive-up house for the night, wood and earthy decor provided a homely, resort vibe, complete with fireplace and luxurious plush furnishing. French doors (of course) showcased what is obviously the unique selling point of the hotel, the view. The rest of the property oozed with informal elegance and the clearly wealthy, but super-friendly crowd picked up on the ambience, with guests stopping to chat and exchange pleasantries; and the staff perfectly poised, but equally convivial. Breakfast was a particular treat – the perfect way to relax and enjoy the morning sun, cantilevered over the hillside. This is escapism at its best.