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Therese Iknoian

Traveler | Photographer at HI Travel Tales
Little did her parents know that a short trip to Europe in high school would launch a lifetime love of travel, languages and cultures. Trained as a news journalist, Therese Iknoian spent a decade as a daily newspaper journalist before launching a freelance writing career specializing in outdoor, fitness and training. All the while trotting the globe, her focus finally turned to travel. Fluent in German, Therese runs a translation business (www.ThereseTranslates.com) working primarily with companies in the outdoor/sports/retail industry. Also a French speaker, she loves to learn a bit of the language wherever she goes -- gdje je kupaonica? Мне нужна помощь! -- often embarrassing herself in the quest for cross-cultural communication and the search for great travel discoveries.
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The wine country can feed your soul – literally. The food and drink from world-class restaurants to top-rated wineries is endless. A stay at a spa can help you “detox” from all that indulgence. We selected the Villagio Spa in Napa for a short retreat that was more about the bliss than the bounty of Napa Valley.

The Villagio Inn & Spa, which was built approximately 18 years ago and has been family owned until it was sold in March 2016, is a centerpiece of the community of Yountville. Yountville is a not much more than a blink in the road, with only about 3,000 residents. But it has become a “foodie mecca” in the Napa and Sonoma valley wine country areas with the likes of Michelin-starred French Laundry and Bouchon, both by chef Thomas Keller, and an array of others recognized by food lovers everywhere.

Chasing spa relaxation at Villagio Inn & Spa

But the spa life is what we were chasing and it was to be purely luxurious. So nothing less than a private suite, a specialty at the Villagio Spa in Napa, on the grounds of the Villagio Inn, was our choice. After consultation, we opted for the so-called “Detox Duo” for four hours. At first, we were a bit skeptical, since we thought we really just wanted a good massage and a little pampering, but we were convinced of the merits of this and were told we could get some massage therapists who were able to really get into our muscles too. Plus, the suites are private, and your time there includes about an hour of “private time,” plus bubbly and a snack (more on that later).

Villagio spa suite.

The expansive and yet intimate private suite, with our two massage tables.

HITT Tip: If you don’t want to spend the money or time on a suite, you can also choose from the regular menu. Villagio spa clients get access to a rather spectacular spa area with steam rooms, saunas, whirlpools, etc. You can create your own spa experience!

The suites are stunning, huge, outfitted with private whirlpool tubs, fireplace, a private outdoor patio, and another patio in ours with two side-by-side whirlpool tubs and a fireplace. When we arrived the massage tables were set and ready to go.

Although Michael and myself were about 10 feet apart, we were able to exchange comments, if desired, but also could just lay quietly or chat as needed with our own therapist.

Villagio spa massage tables.

Magnus and Dr. Whoo eagerly awaiting their personal fur and feather treatments.

Detox Duo at the Villagio spa in Napa

We “detoxed” with lengthy massages, scrubs and warm whirlpool baths and, in between it all, “retoxed” a little bit sipping some bubbly. All in all, this was the best of bliss, and our therapists were outstanding. One drawback is that it was chillier weather and sprinkling so sitting out on our private patio wasn’t going to happen – too bad really. We will definitely try to make a return trip when the weather is nicer to enjoy that amenity.

Villagio spa outdoor baths

Therese soaking in a hot outdoor bath filled with special aromatic oils and essence to help in the detox process. Fresh fruit and water to refresh the palate.

The therapists cleaned up the room while we lounged in robes in the waiting area seated in front of a huge and very warm fireplace. Then we were ushered back into our suite – where we found a full spa meal set up!

Villagio spa "snack" was anything but.

If this is Villagio’s idea of a snack, we’re wondering what defines a meal?

This was no simple snack. It was a spectacular poached chicken on greens with vegetables, with a dessert on the side (ours happened to be chocolate cheesecake). Oh, and more bubbly. All of this was set on a small table in front of our own fireplace, where we then nestled in to toast our spa getaway. Then we took another restful dip in the indoor whirlpool.

Villagio spa indoor hot baths.

How fast four hours of spa relaxation does fly by. We also made a pact to get back to Napa Valley for a spa retreat much more often!

HITT Tip: You certainly do not have to stay at the Villagio Inn to enjoy its amazing spa facilities. However, if you do want stay for a few nights, and if you want a good rate (of course you do) and are flexible, after you input preferred dates and click “check rates,” click on “view full calendar” to see rates from day to day. Rates can change dramatically and are generally higher on weekends (of course) and around Napa festivals and school holidays. March can be a good time to have a chance for better weather and better rates. The fall harvest season is busy in Napa and thus normally has much higher rates. You can take advantage of specials and can also often get a 15% discount if you stay three nights or more.

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Map of California

In the map below, pins mark the exact location of all the sites mentioned in our articles on California. Zoom in or out on the map using the controls. Switch easily from map to satellite view. Click on each pin to pull up a tooltip with the name and any additional information.

Villagio Inn and Spa

Feather River Fish Hatchery

Black Diamond Mines Regional Preserve

http://hitraveltales.com/rose-hill-cemetery-at-black-diamond-mines-regional-preserve/

Table Mountain Preserve

http://hitraveltales.com/table-mountain-preserve-boasts-wildflowers-and-waterfalls/

Liberty Cemetery

http://hitraveltales.com/liberty-cemetery-california-a-ghost-town-burial-ground/

Michigan Bluff

http://hitraveltales.com/historic-gold-rush-town-michigan-bluff-off-beaten-path/

Spring Wildflowers - Foresthill Divide Loop Trail

http://hitraveltales.com/sierra-foothills-wildflowers-hike-abundance-hidden-places/

Mozzeria Pizzeria

http://hitraveltales.com/mozzeria-pizzeria-provides-diners-with-much-more-than-extraordinary-food/

Lynch Canyon Open Space Preserve

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Apple Hill

http://hitraveltales.com/apple-hill-yummy-visit/

Wofford Acres Vineyards

http://hitraveltales.com/apple-hill-yummy-visit/

Apple Ridge Farms

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Larsen Apple Barn

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Rainbow Orchards

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Smokey Ridge Farmstand and Charcuterie

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Allez French restaurant

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UC Davis Arboretum

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Pacific Grove Museum of Natural History

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Crema Restaurant

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Alhambra Theater Historic Site - Sacramento

Today, the former movie showplace is not much of a show. And not many folks seem to even be aware of the meaning of these palm trees, and non-functioning fountain as they dash in and out of the store for groceries. A plaque that was said to be placed there was nowhere to be found when I visited. Read our story here.

Palo Corona Regional Park - Carmel

South Yuba River State Park - Bridgeport

Underground Gardens - Fresno

The Underground Gardens is what it sounds like: A weaving labyrinth of caverns, rooms and passages all dug underground and filled with fruit trees, vines and plants in spaces that open to the sky. This oddity was built – or shall we say, dug – by Italian immigrant Baldassare Forestiere for about 38 years starting in 1906.

Heads up! This information on the Villagio Spa was accurate when we published it on HI Travel Tales, but, as we know, traveling is all about changes (and inflation, sadly). Please be sure to confirm prices, transportation schedules, hours of operation, safety and health considerations, request for perfect weather during your entire visit, and any other important details before your adventure.