Southern California

7 Temecula Winery Hotels Where You Can Taste the Best of the Valley

From on-site wine tasting to a hot-air balloon ride, your best California vacation yet awaits at these Temecula winery hotels.

The last of the sunlight dances across the vines, tickling the leaves and casting its warm orange glow against the steep slopes beyond. It draws a gilded outline on the mountains in the far distance, and it bounces off the amber-hued Riesling in my glass. Perhaps my wine has even captured some of the sunshine; each sip sings with warm, summery flavors, from Meyer lemons to apricots soaked in honey.

There’s certainly something special about the Temecula Valley, a serene wine region tucked between Los Angeles and San Diego. Its charming Old Town, where rustic architecture blends with a dynamic, hyper-local dining and shopping scene, is surrounded by mountains and hillsides striped with vines. Visitors can taste the fruit of this valley at the 30-plus wineries, often while chatting to the owner or winemaker.

The valley’s best hotels make the most of their location, from onsite wine tasting to floating in a hot-air balloon at sunrise or simply watching them drift right by your room’s balcony or terrace. Plan a stay at one of these seven Temecula winery hotels and you’re bound to head home with a fresh batch of lifelong memories.

Rooms for Romance in a High-Perched Chateau

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Evocative of a grand French chateau, the Inn at Churon Winery perches atop one of the highest hills in the Temecula Valley, gazing down at a patchwork of vine-etched fields and forested slopes. Not that all that splendor has gone to its head. In keeping with the area’s laid-back vibe, this place is more interested in relaxing and soaking up its serene surrounds than showing off.

You don’t have to go far to enjoy some of the region’s best wines–just to the bar. In fact, eight varieties, including the award-winning estate Syrah, are poured each evening for wine hour, a perk that’s reserved exclusively for guests.

The rooms themselves are unabashedly romantic. All of the details, from cozy fireplaces to enormous, two-person bathtubs surrounded by marble, have been carefully curated to make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside. Want to dial up the luxury even further? Book an in-room massage to be lulled into a dreamlike state in the comfort of your suite.

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Inn at Churon Winery

8.2 Very good (373 reviews)
Excellent Location 8.8 / 10
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Vin-spired Massages and Vineyard Views

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Pretty much everything at South Coast Winery Resort & Spa is infused with wine, from the plum and mulberry decor of the Syrah Suite to signature massages at the spa, where grapeseed extract is used for its exfoliating and brightening properties. At Happy Hour (which actually lasts 2.5 hours), estate-grown wines are poured on a terrace right by the vines and paired with a selection of delicious appetizers.

The main building itself looks good enough to eat, too, washed with shades of peach, apricot, cream, and burnt orange. It stands amid 63 peaceful acres in one of the most peaceful pockets of the Temecula Valley, east of the Old Town. It’s so deliciously quiet and tucked away, a feeling of serenity wafts over you like the gentle, warm breeze that occasionally shimmies through the vines.

There are some tough choices to make, though: should you book an enormous tower suite with fireplace and double-sized bathtub, or stay in one of the villas, whose patios jut right over the vineyards? Should you venture out to charming Old Town Temecula, join a tour around the valley’s boutique wineries—or just soak in your private hot tub?

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South Coast Winery Resort & Spa

Top rated
9.1 Excellent (3356 reviews)
Excellent Location 9.4 / 10
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Balloons and Bubbles Without Leaving Your Room

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Being located on a flight path may not sound like a desirable quality when it comes to your vacation. But when the flying objects in question are slowly drifting hot-air balloons, it’s a somewhat different story. It’s all part of the scenery when you’re staying in one of the bungalow suites at Carter Estate Winery and Resort. Each morning, around sunrise, billowing, boldly colored balloons float gracefully above 109 acres planted with Malbec, Chardonnay, and Pinot Noir.

Many of the grapes are used to produce the winery’s award-winning bubbles, made to méthode champenoise. Sip them in the sleek tasting room, paired with delicious bites prepared by the chef using ingredients from the onsite kitchen garden. Or enjoy a glass poolside in a private cabana.

It’s all suitably decadent, though the network of hiking and running trails that weaves around the property might help to offset the extravagance a little. Exercise doesn’t feel like a chore when you’re jogging down paths flanked by rows of gloriously green grapevines. Having a huge, marshmallow bed to flop onto afterward helps too, of course, as does having a front-row seat to gaze over the vines. (All suites have private balconies or decks, so you can really make the most of those views.)

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Carter Estate Winery And Resort

9.3 Excellent (1143 reviews)
Excellent Cleanliness 9.6 / 10
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A Mission-Inspired Resort Surrounded by Wineries

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California’s wine-making traditions began with the Spanish missions, with vine cuttings planted outside each religious outpost as they were established throughout the state. So it feels appropriate that Ponte Vineyard Inn, nestled amid 310 acres of vines and ranch land, was designed to reflect the style of those California icons.

The creamy white, orange-roofed building is arranged in a horseshoe around elegant lawns, which meander towards a teardrop-shaped lake. Inside, it’s a far more modern story. Each of the 90 rooms is impeccably decorated in shades that reflect the wine swirled in glasses in the sleek tasting room: hues of Champagne and Chardonnay are complemented by luxurious textures of wood, wool, and leather. Some have balconies or patios with views that stretch beyond the vineyard to Palomar Mountain, whose forested slopes and wildflower meadows beckon you out o explore and breathe the crisp alpine air.

Or you can find adventure a little closer by taking a tour around the vineyard on the resident electric bus, beginning with a glass of Moscato bubbles and ending with a wine and cheese flight. Refreshingly, several wineries are within walking distance, so you can explore without wheels—and end a tough day’s wine tasting with a dip in the outdoor pool, gazing at those views between lengths.

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Ponte Vineyard Inn

Top rated
9.5 Excellent (672 reviews)
Excellent Cleanliness 9.4 / 10
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A Golfing Getaway with Farm-to-Table Cuisine

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The Temecula Creek Inn may not come with its own vineyard, but don’t let that put you off—there are dozens of wineries close by and, in-between tours and tastings, plenty of ways to unwind on the 300-acre grounds of this charming hotel. There’s the 27-hole golf course, for one, prized for its oak-lined fairways and dramatic elevation switches.

There are two idyllic wedding venues on the grounds: a 19th-century stone cottage, clad in creeping greenery, and The Meadows, a tucked-away area with lawns and an arbor with swing chairs and fire pits.

Of course, there’s wine too. Temecula wines are served alongside European vintages and varieties from other California regions. They’re also poured in Cork | Fire Kitchen to complement executive chef Matthew Steffen’s field-to-fork menu. Many dishes, from grilled baby romaine lettuce to roast chicken with barley and corn risotto, are made using ingredients sourced locally (and often from the kitchen garden). Or take a bottle back to your room to sip on your private patio, overlooking the green.

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Hotel Temecula Creek Inn

8.0 Very good (1524 reviews)
Excellent Location 8.6 / 10
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An Adult Playground in the Heart of Wine Country

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Prefer your wine served with a dash of glitz and a flash of glamour? Pechanga Resort & Casino brings a bold, bright slice of Vegas to wine country. Aside from taking a tour of nearby wineries, maybe, there’s really no need to leave this adult playground–nor will you want to.

The casino floor itself is huge, with slot machines and table games for all levels (and wallets). There’s a comedy club, 13 restaurants, a rooftop nightclub, and even designer shops on site. One of the biggest draws is The Cove, a seemingly endless stretch of pools and hot tubs lined with sunbeds, cabanas, and skinny palm trees. There’s no need to leave the water to get your taste of Temecula wine; just drift lazily over to the swim-up bar.

None of the rooms skimp on size or comfort, but for the ultimate indulgence, book a corner suite with rainfall showers and square bathtubs. There’s no need for art on the walls when you have floor-to-ceiling glass, perfectly framing the manicured golf greens and Temecula hills.

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Pechanga Resort & Casino

Top rated
8.6 Excellent (1136 reviews)
Excellent Cleanliness 9 / 10
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An All-Suite Hotel Next to Old Town Temecula

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Like to be right in the center of the action? You can stroll into Old Town from SpringHill Suites Temecula Valley, to browse boutiques and antique shops or follow the urban wine trail. There are enough tasting rooms and bars here to get an overview of the area’s vast variety of wines. Though, with all those vines just a short drive away, you’ll probably want to explore a little further afield.

The all-suite hotel is right on the edge of the Temecula Valley. Drive out and explore at your leisure or ask the concierge for tour recommendations. But make sure you’re back for the manager’s reception, where complimentary regional wines are served each weekday between 5 pm and 7 pm. There’s also beer and soft drinks on offer, just in case you do want a break from wine.

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SpringHill Suites Temecula Valley Wine Country

Top rated
8.6 Excellent (3021 reviews)
Excellent Service 8.9 / 10
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Feature image courtesy of Kelsey Knight, Unsplash