For business travelers and others who spend an inordinate amount of time in the skies en route to or fostering the wheels of commerce, the idea of flying – even for a well-deserved holiday – is often about as appealing as a trip to the dentist minus the Novocain. Here is where evoJets comes to the travelers’ aviation rescue.
The premier on-demand jet charter brokerage and private aviation resource has partnered with several luxury brands, one of which is Napa’s Carneros Resort and Spa, in order to provide unparalleled ready made travel “evoExperiences.”
I recently had the pleasure of enjoying one such evoExperience flying from LAX. The first thrill was arriving to Atlantic Aviation on the southern perimeter of LAX that allows travelers to avoid the bottleneck to the consistently clogged departures and arrivals terminals. Easily parking my car, I walked precisely 20 steps to Atlantic’s elegant terminal and check-in desk where I was immediately offered coffee and breakfast pastries. A few minutes later I was happily perched on blissfully comfortable, large leather seats inside a Hawker Beechcraft 800SP Midsize Jet with six colleagues.
The flight attendant served us drinks and moments later we were wheels up. Fresh fruits and French bakery pastries followed and an hour later – nearly too soon – we arrived at Napa County Airport to continue the evoExperience. While what followed was fantastic, if truth be told, evoJets had me at Atlantic Aviation.
Arriving to Napa County Airport was in and of itself is a game changer given that flying instead into San Francisco or Oakland would tack on an additional hour of unwanted drive time. Ten-minutes later we arrived to Carneros Resort and Spa for the “Wine & Away” evoExperience.
The Wine & Away package includes round trip private jet transportation from LAX – but can be booked from other locations where evoJets has a partner – Carneros amenities waiting on board, a two night stay in a two or three-bedroom private residence at the resort, full day Cabana rental with a bottle of bubbly and snacks, two 60-minute facials and two 90-minute body treatments at the newly renovated Carneros Spa. And last, but most certainly not least, a culinary extravaganza hosted in your private home with Carneros’ talented Executive Chef Aaron Meneghelli. A caviar and sparkling wine flight will be hosted by the resort’s charming and knowledgeable Sommelier, Zion Curiel.
Carneros Resort and Spa sits on 28 verdant pastoral acres and contains 94 cottages, suites and six private homes, all of which have been renovated. Accommodations are a marriage of California chic and rustic elegance that reflect the homage of the region’s viticultural and farming legacy. It is also a drone free zone, so privacy is assured.
Cottages are set in quaint walking “neighborhoods” with floral and horticultural names like Verbena and Sycamore. The large, private homes that are part of the Wine & Away experience are set off to the side and contain high ceilings, indoor-outdoor showers, heated bathroom floors, full kitchens with Viking appliances and large, enclosed outdoor living spaces.
There are several dining options at Carneros Resort, all of which are under the direction of Chef Meneghelli. With the resort boasting a half-acre vegetable garden, Meneghelli is able to source the freshest ingredients.
Tasting menus showcase one seasonal ingredient that makes cameo appearances in each of the courses. When we visited, it was “A Taste of Carrot.” So the braised octopus had a small dollop of carrot gel, house made pasta was paired with black trumpet mushrooms and carrot foam, carrot ginger glazed the pork belly, and miso carrot purée graced the prime filet mignon.
The marvelous dessert, was a deconstructed carrot cake that despite my long and happy marriage, nearly caused me to propose to Pastry Chef Jerome Maure. Each course was perfectly paired with wines selected by Sommelier Curiel.
Fortunately for my waistline, there is also a 3,000 square foot fitness center. And from Thursdays through Sundays there are fitness classes such as Pilates, core fusion and yoga. The resort is also picture perfect bucolic location to kick up your heels and go for a run or to borrow a bicycle and take a ride.
Carneros Resort’s nearly 6,000 square foot renovated Spa has nine indoor treatment rooms including a couple’s suite. It was here that I had one of the best massage experiences I can recall in recent history and departed the Spa feeling two inches taller.
Stressors of 21st-century living make the end of every escape just a bit melancholy with thoughts of the homeward journey. Not so with the evoExperience. The peaceful ease and convenience of the departure was mirrored on the return. As the captain brought the wheels of the Hawker 800S smoothly down on the runway at Atlantic Aviation, I realized two things. First, I needed to get back to Napa sooner rather than later. And second, I had been forever ruined for regular commercial air travel.
The “Wine & Away” evoExperience starts at $18,900 for trips originating from Los Angeles.
Julie L. Kessler is MoneyInc’s Travel & Luxury Editor and writes travel stories for various major media outlets. She is also an attorney and legal columnist based in Los Angeles and the author of the award-winning book “Fifty-Fifty: The Clarity of Hindsight.” She can be reached at Julie@VagabondLawyer.com