Humans love wine. We’ve been making it since around 6000 BC, and have spread vines to all corners of the earth. But while everyone loves a nice glass at the end of a long day, true appreciation and enjoyment of wine and its production process is often thought of as the purview of the wealthy, the elite, those who have the time and money to travel, sip, and truly understand wine. The wine-focused hotels around the world usually follow suit and, while gorgeous, are often extravagantly priced, far out of reach of most wine lovers’ wallets.
Yet a wave of up-and-coming winemakers and people working in the wine tourism industry have recently started showing the world that enjoying wine and having a boozy wine-filled vacation doesn’t have to conform to old norms. From constructing a hotel out of wine barrels to making wine in the hotel’s basement, here are the coolest wine hotels around the world.
1. Winebox Valparaiso — Valparaíso, Chile
Stacked shipping containers? Check. Eye-catching street art and murals? Check. Killer view? Check. Tons of wine? Absolutely. Despite being located a short drive from several of Chile’s finest wine valleys, the coastal city of Valparaíso — famous for its street art, bohemian vibes, and steep hills cluttered with colorful houses — was for years lacking a wine hotel until Winebox Valparaiso.
The dreamchild of winemaker Grant Phelps and designed by his partner Camila Ulloa, Winebox is constructed out of discontinued shipping containers from the local port. Each is a spacious and light-filled room with a bedroom, bathroom, kitchen, and ocean view terrace and window. In keeping with Phelp’s waste reduction goal, decommissioned or old elements of the wine-making process find new life as decor and furniture: bottles become light fixtures, barrels become stools.
The outside and walls of the 21 rooms are covered in splashy artwork by local and international artists, and the rooftop bar offers an unbeatable panoramic view of the city and bay. Wine tastings are practically an everyday occurrence. It also has the distinction of being Chile’s first urban winery, preparing and aging its wine in the basement. In the future, Phelp hopes to offer tours to the nearby wine valleys and other wine-oriented activities and amenities.
2. The Yeatman — Porto, Portugal
Portugal also has a long history with vinho, though it’s often overshadowed by its more famous wine-making cousins like France and Italy. Grapes for wine have been grown there since 2000 BC, and in the 1700s, the world became obsessed with port wine, a fortified dessert wine that helped Portugal gain international prestige. With the vineyards and wineries of the Douro Valley a short distance from town, Porto embraces its wine legacy in many aspects of its culture, including hospitality.
There’s a dearth of wine-themed hotels in Porto, but the Yeatman stands apart for its unique incorporation of wine-making paraphernalia into the design and decor, keeping it classy but still interesting. Stacked on grassy terraces overlooking the Douro River and the city, the exterior design of white walls and red stucco tiled roof may seem pretty standard, but look closer. In the Master and Presidential suites, the beds are set inside giant hollowed out wine barrels that stretch from floor to ceiling, the outdoor pool is shaped like a wine decanter, and in the spa, you can relax in a barrel bath filled with red wine extract. It’s not every day you get to bathe and sleep inside of a barrel, and of course, wine activities like classes, tastings, and other spa treatments are also available.
3. Entre Cielos — Mendoza, Argentina
Mendoza is Argentine wine country and the home of silky malbec growing in the shadow of the imposing Andes. Drawing a huge crowd for wine tourism, there’s no end of wine hotels, but the boutique outfit Entre Cielos knows how to rise above the rest — literally.
The main body of the hotel is a low-slung building on the outskirts of the vineyard, but out in the middle of the vines themselves is the hotel’s prized Suite Loft. The suite itself looks like a space capsule: a circular white tube elevated above the vines on stilts, with a minimalist white interior. There’s a queen bed, living area, skylight, and back terrace with a hot tub. Set apart from the main hotel and isolated in the vineyard, there’s peace and quiet to sip glasses of wine from nearby wineries. In terms of activities, there’s wine tastings and tours of Mendoza and the surrounding wine country, as well as a spa and hammam.
4. Jackalope — Mornington Peninsula, Australia
To find this slick and ultra-modern wine hotel on the Mornington Peninsula in Australia, just keep an eye out for the giant sculpture of a jackalope in the front yard.
In a nod to the distinctive stylings of film director David Lynch, Jackalope is all about keeping it surreal. The suites are referred to as “lairs,” the hallways are moodily lit by blue neon, the ceiling of the restaurant is lit with 10,000 bulbs, and the lobby’s glass wine vault is illuminated by golden lights exuding a sci-fi aura. Sharp angles, asymmetrically shaped walls and windows, starkly minimalist decor, and a black and white color palette with gold and copper accents complete the slightly off-kilter vibe. The two-story hotel, with a back patio and infinity pool, looks out over the immaculate Willow Creek Vineyard, and the onsite restaurants and bar serve excellent vintages from the surrounding vineyards. The hotel also features rotating art installations from acclaimed artists. Currently, it hosts the Rain Room, a giant interactive room where rain falls from the ceiling all around you but not on you, thanks to sensors that detect and respond to your movements. An extremely dynamic space, Jackalope is a great fit for wine lovers who crave the bizarre and vaguely sinister.
5. Schlafen im Weinfass — Sasbachwalden, Germany
Schlafen im Weinfass is a winery, farm, and hotel that sits on a hill overlooking the village of Sasbachwalden in the Black Forest region of Germany. Giant barrels — each of which used to hold 8,000 liters of wine — have been converted into rooms spaced out along roads running through the vineyard. Each has a cozy bedroom, bathroom, and windows looking out over the vines and valley. The different barrel rooms are named after the wine they used to hold, and guests are treated to complimentary bottles of wine, breakfast, and other amenities during their stay. It’s also easy to drive around the valley to see the sights and visit nearby vineyards along the historic Baden wine route.
6. Campera Hotel — Valle de Guadalupe, Mexico
Ever get the sense you’re living in a bubble? At this new hotel in the Valle de Guadalupe wine-growing region of Mexico, that’s not a bad thing — the rooms are literally giant bubbles overlooking the vineyard.
The inflatable, eco-friendly bubble rooms each have a large circular window that looks out onto the Docepiedras vineyard. Each Martian-esque bubble comes with a four-poster queen bed, bathroom, and amenities like AC. The minibar is stocked with red and white wine from the nearby vineyard. Campera Hotel’s prime location right in the heart of Valle de Guadalupe makes it easy to drive to the different wineries for tours and tastings.
7. Quinta da Pacheca — Douro Valley, Portugal
Located in the Douro Valley, the heart of Portuguese wine country, the Quinta da Pacheca winery and vineyard has been a fixture of the area since the 16th century. In addition to producing excellent wines and olive oil, it also has a luxury hotel, but for guests seeking a more “immersed” experience, they can sleep in one of the property’s 10 wine barrel rooms.
Made from pine, the interior furnishings are sparse but refined: a circular bed facing a circular window that opens up onto a private back patio with chairs looking out over the vineyard. The views from the back patio are sublime. The vineyards fan out along the hills, and, to complete the scene, the tranquil Douro River glides by next to the vineyard, visible from the barrels. Each barrel also has a modern bathroom with a walk-in shower, AC, skylight, and Wi-Fi. In addition, there are wine tastings, a wine-making room where guests can learn about the process, and an onsite restaurant.