Napa Valley, California
November is the start of “Cabernet Season” in Napa Valley, meaning that the wines have been harvested and the pace slows down. November is one of the best times to visit, as it’s easier to nab a restaurant reservation, get behind-the-scenes access at wineries and enjoy one-on-one time with winemakers. The foliage turns to reds and golds and the musty smell of grape crush is still in the air. In a place known for its cuisine, many of the valley’s best restaurants prepare a special feast. Hotel rates on average also offer a savings of $100 per night during this time period. Stay in Downtown Napa – once a drive-through town, the region continues to transform with more than 65 restaurants and 27 tasting cellars. (Two decades ago there was only one tasting room and half the number of restaurants.) Plus, it’s walkable, so no car is needed for date night. Hotels like the Westin and the Andaz offer affordable starting rates, $228/night and $252/night respectively.
A Roman Holiday and All That Jazz
While hordes of tourists tend to mob the city and its ancient monuments in the summer months, the best time of the year to visit Rome is actually the month of November. October is considered the last month of peak season, and hotels dramatically dropping their rates after All Saints Day on November 1. In November, the temperatures are still mild, the city streets are less crowded, and artichoke season begins. (Carciofi alla romana season starts in late November). In addition. November is the perfect month for music lovers to visit, as Rome Jazz festival runs all month. The Jazz festival in Rome has been running from more than 40 years and has seen some of the most amazing jazz artists in history from Ray Charles and Miles Davis to Abdullah Ibrahim and Chris Potter. This year, travelers headed to Rome can stay in some of the most stunning, historic apartments of the Italian capital thanks to a brand-new hospitality player, The Grand House. A hybrid between a luxury hotel and a home rental service that exemplifies the glamour and ebullience of Italian style, The Grand House features a portfolio of 12 maisons particulières situated in central Rome.
Winter is Coming… Island-hop in the Caribbean
Flying to St. Barth is easier than ever now that Tradewind has expanded its service from San Juan, Puerto Rico. St. Barth Commuter has also added flights, with new routes from Guadeloupe, plus additional scheduled options from St. Martin and Antigua. With new restaurants, reconstructed roads, and the last of the major hotel renovations wrapping up this season, this island has more than bounced back. As hurricane seasons fades, the island gears up for the sixth annual Gourmet Festival held November 6-10, 2019. Located above the rocky shoreline of the sought-after neighborhood of Pointe Milou, The Christopher has long been a refuge for those in-the-know on St. Barth for its understated elegance. The Christopher is hosting the festival’s patron chef, Arnaud Faye, Meilleur Ouvrier de France (MOF) and two-star chef at Château de la Chèvre d’Or in Eze. He will be joined by seven top French chefs, each working at a restaurant on the island during the festival and creating special multi-course menus for both residents and guests.
St. Martin + Anguilla
With over 200 new restaurants already operational and almost 40 more on the way, a 30% flight routes increase from 2018, and stay-over arrivals up 144% over 2018 year to date, St. Martin is coming back as an even more effervescent culinary destination following 2017’s hurricane devastation. Belmond La Samanna sits on the French side of the island – crisp white villas are dotted along the coast of Baie Longue’s mile-long white sands. Reopening for the season on November 8, the property embraces its French savior faire more than ever with its seaside restaurant, L’Oursin, serving fresh seafood and French cuisine. A treasured piece of the property that withstands the weather and remains true to its history is the La Cave Wine Cellar, which was built in 1972 two stories below sea level. As the largest private wine cellar in the Caribbean, 12,000 bottles of wine and champagne can be found, including 150 varieties of Bordeaux and the property’s own private label. The cellar can even be booked for a private Thanksgiving dinner.
After a few days of exploring St. Martin, Belmond Cap Juluca awaits just 25 minutes across the Caribbean Sea in Anguilla, reopening on October 31 for its 2019–2020 season. Each of the 108 rooms has private access — and dedicated butler — to Maundays Beach where guests can soak in the Caribbean sun in complete privacy or sway to live calypso and reggae at the Cap Shack, a laid back beach bar with an 80s vintage food truck serving up everything from fish tacos to rum punches to poke bowls. Belmond will take care of all the transportation between St. Martin and Anguilla (including airport transfers and ferries) and accommodations with the ‘Island to Island’ package (also including $100 resort credit per stay and daily breakfast), allowing guests a holiday weekend with minimal planning and responsibilities.