Evolving from a wild Prohibition town to a quiet spa haven, Saratoga, California, is lately making its mark as a favorite weekend-getaway destination. Named after the historic upstate New York hamlet, this Silicon Valley bedroom community has served as a retreat for the CEOs of Google, Apple, and Lockheed over the years—but its charming appeal is no longer a secret. It offers vineyards and boutiques aplenty and a serene setting rooted in rich history yet with modern relevancy, so with that in mind, we bring you this edition of Little Black Book—the Saratoga escape.
Where to Stay:
Saratoga Oaks Lodge, 14626 Big Basin Way, Saratoga, CA 95070, (408) 867-3307
The Oaks Lodge is a cluster of quaint cottagelike accommodations with services aimed to help make your stay in Saratoga as peaceful and stress-free as possible. For starters, there's a complimentary continental breakfast. Then there's the location—right on the main street in Saratoga Village, the lodge is walking distance from the town’s must-see shops and best restaurants.
Where to Eat:
Sent Sovi, 14583 Big Basin Way, Saratoga, CA 95070, (408) 867-3110
From UCLA engineering student to master chef, Josiah Slone turned his love of cooking into a calling, and we're benefitting from the career transition. Slone has revamped Sent Sovi, once owned by David Kinch, into a Saratoga gem. Focusing on French and California cuisine, he carefully chooses natural, fresh ingredients relevant to the season with the help of his chosen purveyors: farmers, ranchers, fishermen from the surrounding area. Duck, a chef favorite, tends to consistently appear on the ever-changing menu in one form or another, from exquisite patés to melt-in-your-mouth confit. Other things to complement your experience: Slone's famous gruyere cupcakes, his specially curated list of local wines, and the welcoming, unpretentious warmth and sophistication of his cozy restaurant.
Where to Drink:
Cooper-Garrod Estate Vineyards, 22645 Garrod Rd, Saratoga, CA 95070, (408) 867-7116
The Cooper-Garrod Vineyards is a family-run estate and working ranch with 120 picturesque acres of organically grown grapes. Originally fruit farmers, the Cooper-Garrod families came to the area in the 1890s and eventually established themselves as among the best winemakers in the valley. Before you indulge in the tasting room’s whites and reds (the cabernet franc is a must), plan on taking a 90-minute guided horse-trail ride through the vineyards. You'll learn the history and growing process of this special place—and, on the right day, have a clear view of San Francisco along the way.
Mountain Winery Vineyards, 14831 Pierce Rd, Saratoga, CA 95070, (408) 741-2822
This well-known winery offers a peaceful escape from reality with its old-world ambience and charm. Though many come exclusively for entertainment—the amphitheater on the grounds has hosted top performers, from Ella Fitzgerald and Billy Idol to Justin Bieber—there's so much more to be enjoyed. If exquisite wine alone is not a selling point, consider the history. The estate, once owned by Paul Masson, was a haven for wild parties during the Prohibition era, many of which drew the likes of Ansel Adams, John Steinbeck, and Charlie Chaplin. And that's only the start of Masson's antics and business ventures—request "the Mayor" to give you a tour of Mountain Winery history on your visit.
What to Do:
Shop on Big Basin Way
Deja & Co Exquisite Jewels, 14567 Big Basin Way, Saratoga, CA 95070, (408) 872-1177
Founded in 1974, Deja and Co offers pieces from in-house and local jewelry makers as well as world-renowned names like Peter Storm, Tacori, and Parade. But the long list of luxurious designers is only the start. Deja and her brilliant staff are experts in making each guest's visit personal, accommodating, and stress-free. Grab the girls and head down for an evening of diamonds and drinks while the Deja and Co ladies help you try on pieces and fill out a wish list of your favorites. Drop enough hints and your special someone may just check out what shiny confection you're craving. Tip: Ask the lovely Deja to show you the secret wonder of a natural alexandrite ... and prepare to swoon.
Treat yourself to a spa treatment (or two)
Preston Wynne Spa, 14567 Big Basin Way, Saratoga, CA 95070, (408) 741-5525
Facials, massages, manis, and pedis—whatever your spa needs, Preston Wynne is keen to provide. Founder Peggy Wynne Borgman has created more than just a place for pampering—the wellness expert and author aims to create a fully rejuvenating body-and-mind experience for clients, with all-natural beauty products, a serene setting, and a knowledgeable, helpful staff.
Visit the Hakone Gardens
Hakone Estate and Gardens, 21000 Big Basin Way, Saratoga, CA 95070, (408) 741-4994
Hakone is the oldest Japanese and Asian estate in the Western Hemisphere. Say farewell to stress as you stroll the 18 acres of magnificent landscape, taking in the whimsical waterfalls, magical koi ponds, and tea and bamboo gardens.