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Best town to stay in

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Los Angeles, CA
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67 posts
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Best town to stay in

This will be my first time in Napa Valley and I am just starting to plan. It seems like the majority of the options in terms of hotels and B&B's are in Napa, but it's really not too close to many wineries. Is there a reason that it's better to stay in Napa vs. say St. Helena or Rutherford?

Also, what are some wineries that offer fun/interesting experiences. I enjoy wine, but am not very picky about it. For me, wine tasting is often more about the experience than the actual wine.


Napa, CA
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1. Re: Best town to stay in


Here's a post I did last year for a similar question:

The reason so many B&Bs and hotels are in Napa is that Napa is closest to all of the airports (1.5 hrs from SFO, OAK, and SMF).

Yountville is 10 minutes further north, and St. Helena is 25 minutes further away. Calsitoga is 45 min north of Napa, which means you add 1.5 hrs round trip to your airport commute (3 hrs each way, instead of 1.5 hrs).

Most folks consider Napa or Yountville to be the most central locations, but it really depends on what you're coming here for. If you want spas and mud baths, then Calistoga is your best bet. Calistoga is a beautiful, charming town, very rustic in feel, wtih world class mud baths and geothermal hot springs.

St. Helena has a quaint downtown area with some nice shops and awesome restaurants. Be forewarned that St. Helena's Main St is Hwy 29, which means you can get stuck in traffic if you are staying there (it all depends of the time of year, and time of day).

Yountville is home to some nice hotel/spas and 6 or 7 amazing restaurants, including the world-renowned French Laundry.

Napa is the largest town, with dozens of restaurants and shops within walking distance from many of the downtown Inns/B&Bs.

There are lots and lots of wineries near every town I've mentioned. The towns of Napa and Calistoga have easier access to Sonoma county, so if there are specific Sonoma wineries that you are interested in, locate them on the map and see which towns are closer.

There are more than 100 wineries within a 20-25 min drive from Napa, and about the same number from Yountville and St. Helena.

Both Napa and Sonoma Innkeepers are world-famous for their friendliness and knowledge of the area. My suggestion: Read the reviews on tripadvisor, check out each property's website, and then call a few places. Just a few minutes on the phone will tell you if the place you're considering is friendly and helpful, or not.

As innkeepers, we set up retaurant reservations, book tours and balloon rides, and work with our guests to develop an itinerary of places to go that best suites their tastes. This is a lot of fun, both for us and for our guests. There is nothing better than a house full of happy people at the end of each day.

Please do call a few spots-- just a few minutes on the phone will tell you lots about the overall "vibe" of a place. You may hear a friendly voice, or someone who really doesn't care. Do call. It can really make a difference in which place you choose to stay.

Enjoy your stay in the wine country. It's a magical place!

-Russ & Sharon


Napa Old World Inn

Napa, CA
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2. Re: Best town to stay in

Oops-- my boo boo: Did the math wrong in my head:

Calistoga is 2.25 hours each way from the airports, not 3 hours! That will add and additional1.5 hours to your airport commute (45 min further than Napa, each way).

Sorry. Sometimes my brain isn't the best calculator!



Napa Old World Inn

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3. Re: Best town to stay in

We haven't had the pleasure of staying in Napa, tho Russ's Inn sounds very, very nice! We have enjoyed stays at the Harvest Inn in St. Helena and the Yountville Inn in Yountville.

We like Calistoga for the laid-back feel to the place and have found the Indian Springs Resort to be a very nice place to relax after a full day of wine tasting in the area. It's all good in this area! :)

Ft. Myers, FL
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4. Re: Best town to stay in

Whew - Russ has a lot to say. Unfortunately, Napa is a sprawling city of voer 100,000 and not quite in Napa Valley. It is just South of the valley. We recommend Calistoga at the North end of the valley. It is small - 5,000 - cozy, you can walk just about anywhere, and you really get that intimate valley feeling since the valley is only 3/4 mile wide in Calistoga. Plus all of the folks are really friendly and they have some great family owned wineries that make you really feel comfortable.

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