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Zagreb or Samobor, Croatia: Where to Base?

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Hello,
We will be in visiting Zagreb and the area north (Varazdin, Trakoscan Castle, etc.) - staying for 3 nights. We initially planned on staying in Zagreb. As it happens, the International Festival is going on during this time so we thought it might be fun to stay in town. Tonight we started looking on Tripadvisor at the Hotels available in Zagreb. I realize that Zagreb is coming into itself and has been through a recent war but I wanted to see if anyone has stayed in a charming/historical hotel or B&B? The hotels on Tripadvisor are either extremely modern or as plain as day. This statement is not meant to offend as we prefer hotels different than the ones we find in the States.

So due to the above, we thought we would look in Samobor for our base. We will have a rental car for our daytrips so I'm wondering if we stay in Samobor could we drive to Zagreb and park? Or perhaps take a bus or tram to Zagreb? Which would be easiest? I'm also wondering if we would be missing the 'feel' of walking Zagreb at night, etc. if we just visited during the day and left at night?

Thank you for your help!

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