What's the BEST area to stay when visiting Napa Valley? It just might be Younville. The perfect wine country village with top notch resorts, world class restaurants, shops and bakeries, all within walking distance.
It's not unusual to see FoodTV chef Michael Chiarello hanging outside his restaurant and Thomas Keller's famous French Laundry with its $250 per person menu is right down the street. If Napa is wine country Disneyland, you're on Main street USA in Yountville.
With a Tuscany village as its inspiration, this AAA Four Diamond Award hotel made up of villa is, surrounded by lush landscaping, water features, and neighboring vineyards.
There's the pool with the view of the rolling hillsides, the bright happy flowers planted in the beds, the rushing water along the walkways, everything is done well and done right.
Each room has a fireplace, but clearly the focal point is the bathroom with the oversized whirlpool tub big enough for two - heck maybe big enough for three if you are adventurous (though I suggest you check with your spouse first). Rooms are elegant and contemporary, warm and inviting. High thread count sheets, soft beds with romantic lighting, a complimentary bottle of wine, and bubble bath, how can you miss?
Each day starts with my favorite feature, fresh complimentary breakfast including made to order omelettes, fresh fruits and cheeses, pastries and breads, even free sparkling wine. A brand new spa featuring outdoor soaking tubs, exclusive treatments like a "shea butter and coconut scrub followed by immersion in a warm and decadent milky bath", which sounds a little like a drink I had in Maui but who cares? All in all, a top notch resort and spa and one of my top picks in all of Napa Valley.
Wait a second - is it just me or does the Vintage Inn, located on the other side of the V Marketplace parking lot, look a lot like Villagio?
Don't worry, you are not going crazy. Vintage Inn and Villagio are related, and if you can't remember which one is which, well, you're not alone.
Starting with the architecture facade, The Vintage Inn is French Country and Villagio is Tuscany Italian. OK, I'll admit it - that doesn't help me much as I couldn't tell you what makes one French and the other Italian. Probably the easiest way to tell them apart is to face the V Marketplace shopping center - Villagio is to the left, Vintage to the right. The Vintage Inn was actually built first and if it lacks some of the upscale additions of Villagio like a separate spa building, it makes up for it with its hominess and cozier lobby. Same big rooms with whirlpool baths, fireplaces, and fantastic complimentary breakfast, a top Napa pick.
THE VINTAGE INN : Check Rates and Availability
6541 Washington Street, Yountville, CA 94599 (map)
Local Wally Notes: Avoid rooms that face the highway if possible if road noise bothers you - though the road quiets down once the sun sets. Shares the spa with Villagio.
While Hotel Yountville (formerly the Yountville Inn) Inn lacks some of the charm of Vintage or Villagio, there are some compelling reasons why it should be at the top of your list.
Let's start with location. Walk to shopping, restaurants, stroll through vineyards, you're in Yountville. And while it's location on the very south edge of Yountville makes it not quite as prime time, but I like that it's located on the other side of the street, away from Highway 29, making it less prone to car noise.
Once on the grounds, you start to see some nice touches like the contemporary sculptures. The walkways to the rooms, or villas, meander in and out and are dotted with shady trees and the rooms are separate smaller buildings covered with wood siding or stone. Inside, the large rooms feature spa-like bathrooms and fireplaces. The pool is good, not "resort" good, but it will get the job done. Breakfast from Thomas Keller's Bouchon Bakery, a cozy fireplace in the lobby, it's a romantic getaway that's often surprisingly affordable. Yountville's Best Buy!
HOTEL YOUNTVILLE : Check Rates and Availability
6462 Washington Street, Yountville, CA 94599 (map)
Local Wally Notes: One of the best picks for Yountville on a Budget. It's nearly as good as Villagio or Vintage but at a reduced rate.
Located on the far north side of Yountville, the hotel is set right next to a large vineyard. I'll admit that it doesn't look like much from the road but once you step inside it's first class luxury all the way.
Monster deluxe baths, plush pillows on the bed, champagne breakfast next to the pool, they pamper you with Napa style. And while it's not in the heart of Yountville, it's pretty cool to walk out your door and to be right in the vineyards. Take a walk down that dusty dirt road early in the morning to see the mist hovering over the vines, smell the fresh air, and check out the clusters of ripe, purple grapes. Go ahead, pick one and taste it, no one is looking.
The pool area is large and inviting, one of the better pool setups in Napa. With views of the nearby mountains, you might find yourself skipping wine tasting just to relax in the cool water. Fire pits warm the pool area in the evening, a nice place to sit out and relax after a long day of wine tasting. And when it's time to sleep, the big comfy beds will be a welcome destination. Nicely appointed rooms with flat screen TV's and a patio or balcony and fireplaces in over half of the rooms. And yes, they supply plush robes as well. Super friendly staff that consistently gets high marks for their hospitality and friendliness.
NAPA VALLEY LODGE : Check Rates and Availability
2230 Madison Street, Yountville, CA 94599 (map)
Local Wally Notes: Location is not walking distance to the restaurants and shops, but hop in the car and you're there in a couple of minutes. Good pick.
WHERE TO NEXT?
BEST PLACES TO STAY IN ST. HELENA AND RUTHERFORD
SPRING 2013: Thank you everyone for making this one of the most popular sites on Napa. Very cool.
The big Napa news is that we now have our own online store called Napa Valley Home & Garden. We're bringing the best of Napa Farmhouse living right to your home. Check it out - we're open for business!