NAPA VALLEY, CALIF.—Mark Harmon, Founder and Managing Partner of the Auberge Resorts Collection, was honored by the Napa County Historical Society and inducted into its Lodging Hall of Fame on Thursday, November 12. Named for the company’s Napa Valley flagship hotel, the five-star Auberge du Soleil, Auberge Resorts Collection has played a pivotal role in putting Napa Valley on the map as a destination that is world-renowned for hospitality and culinary excellence. Harmon, who formed the company in 1998, has led Auberge’s growth in Napa Valley and beyond, to destinations as far-flung as Fiji and Costa Rica. The group’s resorts have garnered the highest accolades, and Auberge was recently recognized in Travel + Leisure as one of the top 10 hospitality brands in the world. Auberge Resorts’ Planet Auberge program ensures that the company’s resorts minimize their property footprints while making positive and meaningful contributions to their local environment and communities.
Nearly 300 celebrants gathered at Silverado Resort’s historic General Miller Mansion to recognize Harmon and nine other Napa Valley hotel icons, including Shelley Post of the Four Sisters Inns, Harry Price of the Napa River Inn, Jim Treadway of the Bardessono and Mark and Carolynne Wilkinson of Dr. Wilkinson’s Hot Springs Resort. Five other Napa Valley lodging pioneers of the past were inducted: Sam Brannan of the Calistoga Hot Springs, Sven Alstrom of White Sulphur Springs, Colonel Jackson of Napa Soda Springs, Owen Kenney of the Hotel Calistoga and Len D. Owens of Aetna Springs.
“Lodging and agriculture have always been the two pillars of prosperity and well-being in the Napa Valley, since the very beginning,” said Don Winter, Board Member, Napa Valley Historical Society. “With Auberge du Soleil, Auberge brought high quality, once again, to the Napa Valley, similar to our grand resorts of the 1800s. Today, we really do have a worldwide reputation. Many brands have entered the marketplace. But only Mark and the Auberge team have exported Napa style and luxury brands to the rest of the world.”
Lifestyle ‘Focused on the Land’
“This is a tremendous honor for me—one I share with the entire Auberge Resorts Collection team,” Harmon said. “Napa Valley has been a source of great delight to our family throughout the years, both personally and with our hotels. I’m incredibly fortunate to be able to share my love of this place with our guests. The lifestyle that is simply focused on the land is what inspires me. Our Napa Valley projects are, and forever will be, the benchmarks for everything we do as a company, wherever in the world we may be.”
The pioneering boutique luxury resort Auberge du Soleil, which first opened as a restaurant in 1981, was conceived and built by Claude Rouas and Bob Harmon. Intimate and elegant, the “Inn of the Sun” was unlike anything the hotel industry had seen before—a modern interpretation of a French country inn, infused with the relaxed spirit of Napa Valley. The only hotel in the Valley to have earned a Forbes Five Star rating, it tops nearly every list of best U.S. hotels and is acclaimed as an essential part of any wine country visit. The Auberge du Soleil was the inspiration for Mark Harmon’s launch of Auberge Resorts Collection in 1998.
Harmon formed Auberge Resorts Collection to bring the Auberge du Soleil experience to new destinations. In 2004, he oversaw the launch of an equally spectacular second Napa Valley property, Calistoga Ranch, a glamorous cabin-in-the-woods resort in a private canyon setting. While stylistically different, the Ranch shares the signature elements that make each Auberge property such a success: a spectacular natural setting infused with indigenous inspiration, a commitment to excellence in every regard and genuinely gracious service.
In 2007, Auberge opened Solage Calistoga and introduced sustainability and Michelin-starred casual dining to Napa Valley. Soon, the company will break ground on its newest project, VieVage Napa Valley, at Stanley Ranch. Conceived as a gathering place for families and friends, VieVage will celebrate contemporary themes of design, community, locally sourced food, sustainability, fitness and wellness together in a fresh, active and social environment.
Go to the Auberge Resorts Collection.