Monday, February 27, 2012

Affordable Wine Touring in Napa? Part 1: Places to Stay

Last week I had occasion to visit Calistoga with a group of medical experts on hot springs - yeah, baby. Aside from doing wine research, what could be better than researching hot springs? And that's what we did for four straight days.

But that leads me to my real topic - so many times it just seems impossible to stay overnight in Napa's wine country because everything is so darn expensive. All those honeymooners and 1%-ers seem to drive the cost of overnight accommodations into the stratosphere, depleting one's wine budget.

Luckily there are a few remaining outposts of places to stay where the per person price is UNDER $60. I found one; and if you counted Harbin Hot Springs (35 min. drive north of Calistoga), the number could get up two. I've also added in two more that are $80 a night for a room (which could be very cheap if you are two or more).

In Part 1, I've covered places to stay. In Part 2, I'll cover affordable wineries in Napa - sound impossible? No - it just takes unrelenting research...

#1 Calistoga Spa Hot Springs

Are you two or more? Then the Calistoga Spa Hot Springs is a very good deal - just $120-140 gets you two queen sized beds, with a private bath and a kitchenette.

Here you'll also get access to the enormous swimming pools and mineral waters (heavily chlorinated as mandated by the health department), outdoor sunning areas, and more amenities.

It's also open on a day use basis (first come, first served) and was mobbed with school children on winter break when I was there last week. Pools are $25 per person during the day - weekday only (unless you have booked a spa service).

I ran into a friend in the parking lot who has been coming here for 20 years - she and a friend come for a three night getaway once a year.

Here are the reviews on Trip Advisor.


#2 El Bonita

El Bonita, clean and very conveniently located just south of the village of St. Helena, has rooms off season for just $79 a night. It's located on busy Highway 29.

Here are the reviews on Trip Advisor.


#3 Mountain Home Ranch (in the hills west of Calistoga)

It's not for everyone - it's really rustic - and a drive from town - but this country bed and breakfast has cabins for only $70 a night (for one or two). Pets can stay for another $10.

Here are the reviews on Trip Advisor.

#4 Harbin Hot Springs

Okay, it's 35 minutes away on a remote windy road, but the tent cabins, dome rooms, and basic rooms (especially in Azalea) are lovely - and affordably priced, especially during the week. It's definitely a hippie-dippie resort and not for everyone, but the free yoga and world-class watsu massages may offset that for some people (you have to be in the "alternative" world to appreciate it). And there's real camping for them that wants it.

You can't beat the prices.

Here are the reviews on Trip Advisor.

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