From one hospital, or former hospital, to another… the gal drove six miles south to St Helena. There, . Immediately past the Culinary Institute of America and Beringer Vineyards, and at the junction of Main Street and Spring Mountain Road, is Los Alcobas, sibling of Los Alcobas Mexico City. Both are Luxury Collection, both are managed by Mexico City-born Sam Leizorek. Here, in California, he bought into a development already under way by Presidio Companies: the 1907 main building, Acacia House, which has a total of three acres of land, has, with three, three-floor 2010-vintage bedroom blocks, a total of 68 rooms, designed by Yabu Pushelberg in soft greys that beautifully complement the vista of wine country outside.
I was met on arrival by the hotel’s GM, Alain Negueloua (above), who feels he is back home – fortunately he kept his home here, from his days running Meadowood, a few miles away. Now, in a way it is almost as though he has never left. He told me, over dinner at Acacia House restaurant, how all food here is overseen by Oliver Wharton, including room service and events (there is a gorgeous outdoor space, right in the centre of the development, that is really popular for weddings). Former F&B guru for SBE, Oliver Wharton heads Las Vegas-based A Perfect Bite Inc: one of its divisions is Delicious MFG & CO, a partnership with Chris Cosentino. It is he, Cosentino, who is the ‘celebrity chef’ fronting Las Alcobas. and he who attracts locals to the restaurant.
We started with a bowl of crudites, and hommus dip. I went on to burrata, covered with summer fruits, and mitsuba pesto, and then to whole roasted eggplant with cherry tomatoes, capers, chili, pistachios (why does a carnivore choose this? primarily because Negueloua’s wife always chooses this, apparently). The restaurant, which has outside seating on Acacia House’s original patio as well as tables in the bar, and the main restaurant, with window through to the working kitchen behind, is in Yabu Pushelberg colouring, soft greys, with texture. We drink Beringer Single Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon 2009, from the vineyard just outside corner room 338.
This is gorgeous, up 40 wood steps, or elevator, from the ground. As the videos below show, I have two all-wall windows, leading out on to an L-shaped balcony, with seating, and an electrically-operated fire pit. One side I look down to the pool. The other side looks straight into Beringer vineyards, with mountains beyond. Luxury is such views, and the feel of the bed’s comforter, and the Sarah Horowitz toiletries, and the fact that my car, ready and waiting, had a bottle of Los Alcobas-labelled chilled mineral water in it – the reverse of the label shows blue sky above those Beringer vines outside my room. There are so many touch points at this unforgettable hotel, and I did not even have time, on this visit, to look at Acacia Barn, for indoor events, or the nearby tasting room and wine shop, or the spa. I did, of course, have time for the really outstanding 24/7 gym. NOW SEE MY ROOM, AND THEN A MORNING VIEW