When it comes to accommodations in Napa Valley, you’re not short on options, especially since the area has so many different regions. We opted for two hotels close to downtown Napa (River Terrace Inn and Napa River Inn) because we wanted to be able to walk to restaurants and tasting rooms (like those discussed in Part 1) in the evening (we drove our rental car during the day). I also wanted to explore a larger hotel nestled closer to some of the vineyards of Napa, so we stayed at Silverado Resort & Spa—first.
Here’s more on all three hotels:
1. Silverado Resort & Spa, 1600 Atlas Peak Rd, Napa, CA 94558; 707-257-0200
Silverado Resort & Spa used to be a private estate home to a Civil War general and California Senator. Now, it’s a resort with 380 guest rooms, two restaurants, conference space, a spa, two championship golf courses, 10 pools, and tennis courts.
The resort is about 15 minutes outside of downtown Napa. Now that it has a new owner—World Golf Hall of Fame member and lead NBC analyst Johnny Miller (and three partners)—it has been renovating the North (golf) Course, rooms, spa, and event spaces.
Golfing and spa
We did the “Couples Escape” package, which includes a round (18 holes) of PGA championship golf per night, a 50-minute spa treatment per night and a $50 food credit (once per stay). Guess who did the golf and guess who did the spa every day? Yep. My boyfriend played golf on the North Course, while I had spa time. It was perfect. What more could one ask for than time on the golf course and the spa to pair with our days of wine tasting and gourmet food in Napa?
The renovated spa offers fitness, spa and salon services surrounded by a lovely garden and pretty mountain views. It was so tranquil that even after my massage, I wanted to stay. So, I headed outside to the whirlpool with some champagne. It’s a nice area with lounge chairs and tables, so guests can in bring their food purchased from the spa.
I managed to finish my massage and whirlpool time early enough to see my boyfriend out on the golf course for his last three holes. He felt the course was challenging enough for an amateur golfer like himself (and the number of balls he lost on the course will confirm that statement). Personally, I just enjoyed the scenic course. We spotted many people enjoying the view from their patios or balconies with their evening drinks.
The (renovated) rooms
If you’re lucky, you may get a room along the golf course with a beautiful view (ours faced the opposite way). Nonetheless, our room was very spacious with a mini kitchen and a patio. The room had a fireplace with a comfy king bed, a stone vanity and a good shower. The room paired nicely with the look and feel of the 19th century colonial style of the on-property mansion, where the restaurant and guest check-in is located.
Silverado Market & Bakery
The newly opened Silverado Market & Bakery on property is the perfect one-stop for items from Bouchon Bakery, Model Bakery, local wine, cheeses, charcuterie, and Three Twins Ice Cream. We had the chocolate croissant from Bouchon and the English muffin from Model. (I know it’s just a plain English muffin but man, was that simple and tasty.) We sat outside at the market for breakfast and also had some happy hour drinks al fresco overlooking the beautiful mansion. I saw a variety of people staying at the resort: young and old couples, golfers and young families.
The burger dog
While a very different type of food the lovely artisanal market and bakery, you must try the burger dog at the golf course snack shop. See more about the famous burger dog here. The snack shop at Silverado is one of the two places in the San Francisco Bay area you can get this simply delicious cross between a burger and a hot dog. It’s just ground meat with salt and pepper, American cheese, onions, dill pickles, and sweet relish—but oh so good.
2. River Terrace Inn, 1600 Soscol Ave, Napa, CA 94559; 707-320-9000
The romantic River Terrace Inn is situated next to the Napa River with 106 rooms (28 with the river view). A member of the Noble House Hotels family, it stood out for its modern elegance and laid-back California charm in downtown Napa.
Proximity to Tasting Rooms
River Terrace Inn is only a 10-minute walk from Oxbow Public Market and other great restaurants. Free bikes were offered at the hotel for hassle-free tasting. There are eight different tasting rooms really close to the hotel: St. Clair Brown, Twenty Rows, Uncorked at Oxbow (located in Oxbow Market), Mark Herold Wines, Mason Cellars, Bounty Hunter (located on First Street), Vermeil Wines (located on First Street), and Back Room Wines (located on Main Street).
The room: a River View Deluxe Whirlpool Room
Our room overlooking the river was stylish and elegant with a balcony view of Oxbow Park Preserve and Napa River. I never wanted to never leave. I loved the pillows and the teal couch, as well. This was the type of hotel that made me want to stay in the hotel room instead of exploring outside (I’ll just have my wine on the balcony, please!).
These river-view guest rooms are located on the upper floors of the hotel, and they each have a king bed (and a pull-out sofa queen bed, if needed) and a whirlpool tub with jets. The premium rooms are also located on upper floors.
Wine and s’mores
The hotel hosted a free wine hour from 5:30-6:30 pm (and you could come back for seconds!). This was a nice greeting as we checked in at this time. We also found out that the inn offers marshmallows, chocolate, graham crackers, and roasting utensils for s’mores. This is also free every night in the evenings. Just go outside to the firepit and you’ll see the table set up in the back. I loved these small touches. The s’mores were the perfect dessert after our evening of drinking craft beer at Napa Palisades Saloon. I’m not going to lie: I couldn’t wait to come back to the hotel!
3. Napa River Inn, Historic Napa Mill, 500 Main Street, Napa, CA 94559; 707-251-8500
This upscale boutique hotel is beautiful and historic and set in a perfect location along the Napa River/Historic Napa Mill area. In fact, it’s located where the Historic Napa Mill (National Historic Landmark in 1884) used to be. In the late 1800s and early 1900s, the Historic Napa Mill buildings were once the industrial and commercial hub of Napa.
A blend of historic and contemporary
The Napa River Inn has three buildings with 66 guest rooms that will transport you back to the 1800s. We stayed in the historic Hatt Building and the floors were a beautiful hardwood…skating rink! Yep, a plaque hanging in the room told us that our room used to be a skating rink that was used until 1930. This rink was apparently the scene of many social events back in the day. And looking at our beautiful floors, we were transported. How cool!
If historic isn’t your thing, the same hotel also includes the contemporary 32-room Plaza Building and the Embarcadero Building with a nautical theme. These rooms showcase Napa River views.
I also really loved that the Napa River Inn is close to many great restaurants (eat at Angele next door), tasting rooms (check out Bounty Hunter) and breweries. And you don’t need to go far for wine tasting, as they have wine for guests upon arrival. Or you can walk out the door and down a few doors to Silo’s jazz club for great music and beverages Thursday through Saturday.
Sweetie Pies for breakfast
Perhaps my favorite and unexpected part of our stay was the fact that we got to order breakfast in bed from Sweetie Pies bakery (delivered to your room at the time you order). This is not just regular old breakfast room service; it’s personalized Sweetie Pies room service. I liked this version of room service so much better. Breakfast was pretty amazing if you ask me. We had scones, an egg white spinach sandwich, quiche, and coffee sitting by the fireplace inside our room.
Mosaics and sculptures
A mosaic fountain is displayed on the hotel patio near the river. You’ll also see a massive fish there. The mosaic fountain was created by Napa artists Alan Shepp and it showcases Napa history. You see wine caves, hands harvesting grapes, a horse and plow, a steam engine, an old mill, and more.
The big fish—called “Fish On”—was installed late last year as a part of downtown Napa’s ARTWalk program. One of the bellmen walked me around the building to point out the art. He was new to the hotel but quite proud to show me the piece. With a glass of wine in hand on the patio area (wine is allowed there because it’s part of the hotel, but it’s not allowed on the river walk), we chatted about the history and art of the Historic Napa Mill. The Napa River Inn was a great place to end our trip in Napa, with history, art, good wine, and good chats.
I don’t think any trip to Napa Valley would be complete without Sonoma, so there was also a stop in Sonoma County for the Audi Experience at Sonoma Raceway. Stay tuned for that amazing experience driving an Audi R8 in the coming weeks.
Part 1—food and wine—is available here.
For more on Napa Valley, downtown Napa and Yountville, visit visitnapavalley.com.