Contemporary design touches, plush furnishings, and up-to-date bathrooms ensure a cozy, 21st-century experience at the Cottages of Napa Valley, but the oldest accommodations here date to the 1920s. Back then they rented for $5 a month (imagine that), but though prices have risen so has the level of service and amenities. The cottages form an oval around a courtyard shaded by an arborist's dream collection of cork oak, redwood, cedar, fig, catalpa, Douglas fir, pepper and other trees, many nearly a century old. Strings of light bulbs crisscrossing between them create a festive atmosphere when powered up each evening. The hum of traffic along nearby Highway 29 periodically breaks the spell outdoors and occasionally indoors, but the aesthetic and hospitality more than compensate.
YOU SHOULD KNOW The innkeeper describes the setting as "not appropriate for toddlers through children age 12."
A local bottle of wine awaits arriving guests in classy-cute cottages laden with thoughtful amenities. Between 450 and 550 square feet (there's also a 1,400-square-foot two-bedroom home), the cottages have king beds, sofa seating areas, gas fireplaces, HDTV with Netflix, Bose systems for music-player hookup, and equipped kitchenettes stocked with Peet’s coffee, Tazo teas, and bottled waters and sodas. On each cottage's outdoor patio is a wood-burning fireplace. Double-thick, double-pane windows neutralize most of the outside noise.
Back in the day, Hollywood legends Clark Gable and Carole Lombard reportedly canoodled in Cottage No. 8.
The bathrooms, tiled in rich colors, have heated floors, make-up mirrors, soft lighting, and soaking tubs for two. The larger cottages have Jacuzzi tubs and walk-in showers, some roomy enough for two.
A patio of standard pavers interspersed with 300-year-old hand-fired Belgian bricks fronts the inn's lobby, formerly the property's garage. Here guests check in and pick up their keys, on chains shaped like mini cottages.
There’s no spa here, but guests can receive facials, single or couples’ massages, and full-body exfoliations in the cottages. The Cottage Spa Sampler includes an aromatherapy massage, a facial, and a foot treatment that combines massage, reflexology, and exfoliation.
Inn staffers deliver a basket of pastries from Thomas Keller's Bouchon Bakery to guests' doorsteps each morning. Along with the four pastries are fresh fruit, juice, and the morning paper.
There's no bar here, but representatives of area wineries often pour wine in the late afternoon.
The cottages are off Highway 29, 7½ miles north of Napa and 3½ miles south of Yountville. Most guests drive here (each cottage has a designated parking space), though VINE Bus 10 and 29 serve the area. Not much of interest is within walking distance, but bikes are available.
Bistro Don Giovanni (5-minute drive) is a longtime Napa Valley favorite for Italian cuisine. In Yountville (6-minute drive) you can choose among three Thomas Keller restaurants, The French Laundry and Bouchon for French and Ad Hoc for American comfort food prepared with flair. In downtown Napa (12-minute drive), check out Torc for sophisticated Modern American and Miminashi for nouveau Japanese.
Bartenders at the nearest full bar, at Bistro Don Giovanni (5-minute drive), pour Italian Greyhounds (local ruby-red grapefruit vodka, grapefruit juice, and Campari) and other signature cocktails, along with top-shelf spirits and California and Italian wines (good selection). On a sunny afternoon, the patio bar at R+D Kitchen (6-minute drive) in Yountville is often hopping. In downtown Napa (12-minute drive), check out the happy hours at Torc and Carpe Diem Wine Bar. The Blue Note Napa and Silo's are great stops for mixed drinks and music, mostly jazz.
WHY WE LIKE IT
Romantic cottages with gas fireplaces make for intimate evenings at this woodsy property between Yountville and Napa. Owner Mike Smith and his team know what guests require for a satisfying experience and deliver in spades. If you're looking for a secluded, unpretentious getaway with a dash of country glamour, you'll love this place.