Best Places to Stay in Napa Valley

Angela Wood

Senior Contributor

Napa Valley is synonymous with elegant vineyards, upmarket spa resorts and fine dining. You’re thinking of visiting but where do you base yourself to gain the best from a Napa Valley Experience? Our guide takes you from Napa to Yountville and from Calistoga to St. Helena so you can decide where to stay in Napa Valley.

Explore the Town of Napa

Less than an hour’s drive north of San Francisco is the famous American wine region of Napa Valley, and within that valley lies charming Napa town. Flanked by a winding river, this urban oasis boasts first-class restaurants, wineries and a burgeoning arts scene. There’s much to see and do in Napa, you can spend leisurely days cycling to vineyards, drifting over patchwork landscapes in a hot air balloon or hiking hillside paths reveling in clean valley air. But most people come to Napa for its foodie scene. You can procure fresh local produce at Oxbow Public Market which sells everything from live fire pizza and oysters to ridiculously decadent cupcakes. Alternatively, dine at elegant, celebrity chef run restaurant Morimoto Napa. Chef Masaharu Morimoto expertly crafts innovative plates of seafood, Wagyu beef and sushi, all washed down with Japanese sake and whisky. No visit to Napa would be complete without experiencing the scenic Napa Valley Wine Train. Relax in a restored 20th century Pullman carriage with plush velvet armchairs and glass partitions as you roll through the countryside, feasting on gourmet cuisine as you travel to some of the state’s most celebrated wineries.

Where to Stay: Luxury Andaz Napa Hotel in Downtown Napa has 141 loft style rooms and all the comforts of a boutique-style hotel. It’s within a short walk of restaurants, shops and tasting rooms in Napa. If you seek a more personalised valley stay, you can’t go wrong at Napa River Inn with its wellness spa and free delivery of scrumptious pastries to your room each morning.

Dine in Michelin Star Restaurants in Yountville

Yountville is known as the culinary capital of Napa Valley. It’s home to 3 Michelin star restaurant The French Laundry and a plethora of fine, artisanal farm-to-table establishments. Begin your culinary journey at Bouchon in downtown Yountville. Run by award-winning chef Thomas Keller it’s a one Michelin-star French bistro with a delicious seasonal menu to suit all. Serving staples such as trout, roast chicken and leg of lamb, even the fussiest eaters will find something to enjoy. There’s a raw bar showcasing a spread of caviar and a vast wine list displaying vintages from California and France. Alternatively, try The French Laundry - a restaurant on every foodie’s bucket list. The award-winning eatery serves art on a plate - a place where presentation is every bit as important as the food. Prepare to be taken on an epicurean adventure with dishes such as ‘Wilted Arrowleaf Spinach and Creamy Lobster Broth’ or ‘Charcoal Grilled Snake River Farms Beef’ served with potato puree, glazed garden turnips, watercress leaves and sauce Raifort. Vegetarians are also welcome with their own menu which is equally as delicious and inventive.

Where to Stay: Bardessono allows you to immerse yourself in Yountville’s food and drink culture as you digitally detox from the world beyond. Offering a selection of luxurious villa and suite accommodations alongside a fine restaurant and wellness spa, it’s the perfect place to stay in the town. 

Discover the Famous Wineries of Oakville/Rutherford

The Rutherford/Oakville region of Napa Valley is abundant with fine wineries each seeking to promote their blends, brands and heritage. One of the oldest is Beaulieu Vineyard. For over 100 years, this winery has produced rich, classic Napa Valley wines with exquisite collections ripe for sampling. Their wines are highly acclaimed, and their Cabernet Sauvignon is legendary throughout the region. Alternatively, what better way to spend an afternoon than fusing fine art and fine wines. You can do exactly that at Peju Napa Valley. Set amongst beautiful sculpted gardens, Peju doesn’t just create outstanding Pinor Noir, dessert Zinfandel and Cabernet Sauvignon wines, they also help to promote upcoming artists from around the world in their on-site gallery. Don’t leave without experiencing their Stained-Glass Single Vineyard Experience. It takes place in the Tower tasting room in front of a stained-glass window and involves tasting four wines, paired with charcuterie and cheeses.

Where to Stay: Auberge du Soleil just outside Rutherford sits on a sun-kissed hillside surrounded by oak and olive trees. It’s one of Napa Valley’s most iconic luxury hotels, home to extensive landscaped gardens, a fabulous Michelin star restaurant and wellness spa.

See Historic St. Helena

St. Helena is a mix of historical buildings, world-class wineries, fine dining, art galleries and chic boutiques. Literary afficionados can visit the Robert Louis Stevenson Museum in St. Helena. It boasts the largest collection of the author’s memorabilia in the world. The writer, who penned classics such as Treasure Island, The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr Hyde and Kidnapped spent his honeymoon and part of his life in this region, and this collection of keepsakes tells stories of these times. If you simply can’t stay away from the wines of Napa Valley, take a trip to Beringer Winery. It’s the oldest, continuously operating winery in the area dating to 1868. They are the only winery to have both a red and white wine named number one Wine of The Year and specialise in Sauvignon Blanc and Cabernet Sauvignon. If you have time, take the 30-minute Legacy Cave Tour which guides you through historic tunnels beneath the winery or if there’s a group of you book a Wine Club Private Tasting.

Where to Stay: Luxury St. Helena hotel Las Alcobas is a romantic retreat a short distance from the town centre and historic Beringer Winery. It features generously sized luxury rooms, a pampering spa and crystalline swimming pool with vineyard vistas.

Hike Historic Parks near Calistoga

Calistoga is a place for romantics, offering private wine tastings, outdoor adventures and historic museums. There are amazing hiking areas near Calistoga, especially around Bothe-Napa State Park. While walking or horse-riding it’s not usual to see deer, foxes and bobcats, plus if you’re an avid birdwatcher, it’s home to the spectacular Pileated Woodpecker. If you’re serious about hiking, Robert Louis Stevenson State Park leads you off the beaten track, along cliffside walks with incredible valley views. You have the option to stay and camp out under the stars or return to a cosy boutique inn in Calistoga. Should you choose the latter, head for Baths at Roman Spa. Calistoga is renowned for its healing geothermal waters and mud baths, so kick back, relax and ease those aching muscles with a selection of rejuvenating treatments after a long hike.

Where to Stay: Calistoga Spa Hot Springs Resort effortlessly blends luxury and wellness in a peaceful location just one block from the Napa River, shops and restaurants of Main Street. This romantic hideaway offers wine tasting weekends, geothermal mineral pools, volcanic ash mud baths and yoga classes.

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