The Other Napa

With the eating and drinking you’ll be doing in Napa, it might be a good idea to crash for the night. Decent lodging doesn’t come cheap, and most bed-and-breakfasts require a two-night minimum. Here are a couple of more affordable picks we like, and one interesting splurge. For more info, NapaValley.com has tips on additional hotels, motels, B&Bs, and even rental cottages; the latter are a good option if you’re traveling with a group of friends.

CHEAP

Harbin Hot Springs
18424 Harbin Springs Road, Middletown
707-987-2477
$25–$260

If you’re a certain kind of person (like, you’re not put off by nudists and hippies), you’ll find Harbin Hot Springs a wonderful place. It offers cheap communal spots where you can throw your sleeping bag down, or more expensive private cabins, and five spring-water pools of varying temperatures to soak in. People have been coming here since the 1880s for the supposedly healing waters. Today, Harbin also has a market, a cafĂ©, a restaurant, movie nights, and classes. Some people see Harbin as a vacation destination in and of itself. But sisters, watch out for creepy hippie dudes with mandolins, offering you a Watsu (naked underwater massage).

Dr. Wilkinson's Hot Springs Resort

Dr. Wilkinson’s Hot Springs Resort

MIDRANGE

Calistoga Inn
1250 Lincoln Avenue, Calistoga
707-942-4101
$75–$125 (prices for May through October)

“We’re not quiet, we’re fun,” warns the reservationist at this self-described European-style inn (this means you share a bathroom). An attached pub brews its own beer and has live music until midnight on weekends. Many think it has the best nightlife in the Napa Valley. The bedrooms are right above the pub, so plan to close the place down. The small, clean rooms are a deal, and breakfast is included.

Harbin Hot Springs

Harbin Hot Springs

Dr. Wilkinson’s Hot Springs Resort
1507 Lincoln Avenue, Calistoga
707-942-4102
$109–$249

Doc Wilkinson and his wife settled in Calistoga in 1946 because of the alleged health benefits of the town’s natural hot springs. They opened this old-fashioned resort, which has three natural mineral pools and offers spa treatments such as mud baths and massages. Lodging choices include little bungalows with a kitchenette or rooms inside a Victorian-era hotel or adjacent low-slung 1950s buildings. All have TVs, hair dryers, and coffee makers.

SPLURGE

Napa Valley Railway Inn
6523 Washington Street, Yountville
707-944-2000
$125–$210

Nine restored railway cars sit on their original tracks on the long-defunct Napa railway line. The narrow, luxurious rooms inside have refrigerators, tiled showers, flat-screen TVs, and antique furniture. As a guest, you can work out for free at the nearby Yountville fitness center, but that’s as far as the amenities go—no reception, staff, or telephones.