Where to Stay in Napa, California, for a Local Experience

Many of Napa’s stylish hotels offer a local experience (and views) you won’t soon forget
Many of Napa’s stylish hotels offer a local experience (and views) you won’t soon forget | Courtesy of Auberge du Soleil / Expedia
Photo of Casey Hatfield-Chiotti
29 January 2021

Hospitality runs through Napa’s veins; the valley has been welcoming out-of-towners for well over a century. It’s not hard to uncover the region’s unique history and culture, with wine being just one way to get immersed. Arts and cultural sites and vast nature reserves show the area’s depth, and hotels are there to help plan excursions to under-the-radar destinations. Here are the places that firmly root you in California’s Wine Country and invite you to pull up a seat at the communal firepit.

Bardessono

Boutique Hotel, Hotel
Map View
Courtesy of Bardessono / Expedia
Bardessono shows how luxury and sustainability can coexist – the hotel is LEED Platinum certified (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design). The solar-powered retreat sources its water from geothermal wells but lacks for nothing when it comes to style (artful landscaping, sleek modern design) and amenities (lap pool, vinotherapy spa). As an all-suite property with 62 guest rooms, it’s a dream staycation retreat, and there’s no need to leave your room, which will inevitably have a soaking tub, a balcony and, in some cases, an outdoor shower and a steam room. The concierge can arrange incredible experiences, from hot-air-balloon rides to in-room couples’ massages.
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Auberge du Soleil

Boutique Hotel, Resort
Map View
Courtesy of Auberge du Soleil / Expedia
The beloved French restaurant at Auberge du Soleil in Rutherford has been a fixture in the valley since the 1980s, and it’s as much a destination for locals as for far-flung travelers. The interior has abstract paintings, exposed beams and French country furnishings, but the most coveted tables are on a wooden pergola-covered patio where diners can see neighboring vineyards and stunning sunsets. The more casual Bistro & Bar is popular for nightcaps by the fire and light fare. The property also has 50 contemporary rooms and suites and a 7,000sqft (650sqm) spa with hammam steam rooms and three temperate springs.
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The Bungalows at Calistoga

Apartment
Map View
Courtesy of The Bungalows at Calistoga / Booking.com

The Bungalows at Calistoga’s three cool, self-contained modern craftsman-style homes mix the breezy style of a beach cabin with the rustic elegance of a farmhouse. Each bungalow has a fully equipped open-plan kitchen decorated with white tiles and wooden shelving, a high-ceilinged living room with a sofa bed, a king bedroom and a backyard. Near downtown Calistoga, it’ll also give you a window into what it’s like living in the historic town known for excellent wine and natural hot springs.

The Cottages of Napa Valley

Apartment
Map View
Courtesy of The Cottages of Napa Valley / Booking.com

These restored cottages, dating back to the 1940s, are just 8mi (13km) from the Hess Collection, a winery on Mount Veeder with an impressive modern art collection, and the Napa Valley Opera House – two staples of the local scene. The tidy cottages have vaulted ceilings, indoor and outdoor fireplaces, kitchenettes and bathrooms with whirlpool tubs and heated floors. Gratis amenities such as continental breakfast baskets, a shuttle service to local restaurants, free-to-borrow bikes and a welcome bottle of wine are Napa hospitality at its best.

Chateau de Vie

Bed and Breakfast
Map View

You’ll feel like a king or queen of your own Napa Valley castle at Chateau de Vie, which is patterned after a French château. The stucco manor has a column-framed entrance, formal gardens and a cozy library stocked with good reads to thumb through. Breakfast featuring seasonal, local ingredients is served on the terrace whenever you’d like. The B&B can arrange massages surrounded by fragrant lavender and rose bushes, and you can do laps in the 40ft pool while gazing at row after row of cabernet sauvignon vineyards. Guest rooms have luxury linens, fluffy towels and oversize robes.

Milliken Creek Inn and Spa

Hotel
Map View
Courtesy of Milliken Creek Inn and Spa / Expedia
Dating back to the 1800s, when it was a stagecoach stop, Milliken Creek Inn and Spa sits on the grassy banks of the Napa River and is a firm Napa Valley fixture. Vintners are known to stop by the property daily to share the fruits of their labor. “Magic hour” also includes a platter overflowing with local cheeses. There’s no restaurant, so the lobby lounge serves as the hotel’s bar area, where drinks are always available, including premium ports. You can choose from various made-to-order breakfast dishes and French-pressed coffee each morning, which you can enjoy anywhere – on the terrace overlooking the meandering river or fireside. The indulgent organic spa and huge hydrotherapy tubs are just two other reasons why you may never want to leave.
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Archer Hotel Napa

Boutique Hotel
Map View
Courtesy of Archer Hotel Napa / Expedia

Napa isn’t only about European-inspired estates and boutique bed and breakfasts. Sophisticated urban hotels exist, too, such as the Archer Hotel Napa. Sitting on First Street in Downtown Napa, the hotel is right in the middle of the city’s buzzy business district, consisting of tasting rooms, sophisticated clothing and jewelry shops, and sleek, modern restaurants. Locals are just as likely as guests to congregate at the hotel’s Sky & Vine Rooftop Bar, a swanky outdoor lounge with a backdrop of potted olive trees, crackling stone firepits and bar bites such as lobster corn dogs. However, only hotel guests have access to the Sky Terrace, with its refreshing water deck and partially submerged loungers, stone fireplaces and a 360-degree view of Napa. Rooms have dramatic flourishes such as Austrian-crystal-studded headboards and native Napa-stone wainscot walls, lit with candles.

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Hotel Napa Valley

Budget Hotel, Boutique Hotel
Map View
Courtesy of Hotel Napa Valley / Expedia

You’ll experience a bygone era with a stay at Hotel Napa Valley, a B&B in a historic Napa mansion. The hotel has original redwood interiors from trees dating back thousands of years. Elegant rooms and suites have antique fir, oak and stone floors. Select rooms and suites also feature large spa tubs, walk-in showers and stone fireplaces. Plenty of goodies are included, such as breakfast, an evening wine reception and other treats.

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  • Maison Fleurie

    Bed and Breakfast
    Map View
    Courtesy of Maison Fleurie / Expedia

    Within three ivy-clad stone-and-brick buildings from the 19th century, this upscale B&B is a south-of-France fantasy come to life. The grounds feature flowers, greenery and draped wisteria, while the refined rooms have black-and-white checkered drapes, floral bedspreads, fireplaces and, in some cases, whirlpool tubs and private patios. Each morning, the innkeepers offer breakfast in a brick-lined room or your guest room, with house-made baked goods, an entrée, granola, yogurt, bread and fresh fruit. Maison Fleurie is less than a 10-minute walk from Yountville’s shops and eateries, including Thomas Keller’s famed French Laundry.

    Napa Valley Lodge

    Luxury, Hotel, Spa Hotel
    Map View
    Courtesy of Napa Valley Lodge / Expedia

    This Tuscan-inspired hotel in Yountville is known for customizing experiences that take its guests far from the tourist track – think private winemaker events and tastings with renowned Napa chefs. Here, you’ll be treated to a host of free extras, including a champagne continental breakfast, fresh-baked cookies, and unlimited tea and coffee. Rooms have all the comforts of home and then some, such as walk-in showers, marble vanities and private verandas. The swimming pool with double sun loungers, courtyard firepits, and various spa services are the icing on the cake.

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    North Block Hotel

    Hotel
    Map View
    Courtesy of North Block Hotel / Expedia
    This centrally located Yountville hotel mimics a small Italianate village. Guest rooms are in two-story Mediterranean-style buildings, surrounding a swimming pool and courtyard with fireplaces and potted succulents, and excellent restaurants such as the world-renowned French Laundry, Bouchon Bakery and Ad Hoc are just down the way. Rooms have terraces, luxurious bathrooms (heated floors, separate showers and soaking tubs) and espresso machines.
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    Wydown Hotel

    Hotel
    Map View
    Courtesy of Wydown Hotel / Expedia

    Owned by Napa local Mark Hoffmeister, the 12-room Wydown Hotel has a personal feel. Hoffmeister has decorated the hotel with items he has collected during his travels (he gravitates towards a contemporary but lived-in look), including David Masin furniture and photography by Josh Lopez and Gary E Blum. Team members are genuine Napa Valley ambassadors who share inside secrets on what to do and where to go based on your taste. All rooms have Restoration Hardware fixtures, king-size beds, Geneva sound systems and downtown St Helena views.

    These recommendations were updated on January 29, 2021 to keep your travel plans fresh.

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