The Danes have a word for it: Hyggelig, a state of coziness created with candlelight, soft blankets and, whenever possible, chocolate. Cabernet season personifies hyggelig in the Napa Valley, and what better place to celebrate this winter warmth than in an intimate bed and breakfast inn? Many of these boutique hotels occupy charming, historic homes from a previous century. Here’s a list of nine of our favorites.
The Inn on First, Napa. This stately property feels like a private home and prides itself on its restaurant-quality breakfasts. No TVs, no children, no smoking – but it’s pet-friendly. In-room whirlpool tubs and fireplaces in many of the rooms.
1801 First, Napa. This gorgeous Victorian in downtown Napa has been updated to an elegantly appointed inn and spa. A full breakfast with choice of entrees is served at your convenience in the dining room or sun porch, and a candle-lit wine and cheese hour is held in the afternoons, often with private winery tastings.
Churchill Manor, Napa (pictured). This lavish 19th-century mansion is one of Napa’s architectural treasures – it was the city’s first property to be placed on the National Registry of Historic Places. It’s been restored and decorated to its original period style and appointed with top-of the line amenities – many of the ten rooms feature two-person soaking tubs, fireplaces, luxury robes and linens, and environmentally sensitive bath products.
Hennessey House, Napa. Located on a beautiful half-acre at the top of Main Street's restaurant row in downtown Napa, this restored Victorian house has lush gardens and a relaxing patio under the trees. Each of its ten guestrooms has a private bathroom and each has been uniquely decorated in period style. A full gourmet breakfast, with freshly baked breads and muffins, is served daily, as is afternoon tea and wine and cheese service.
White House Inn, Napa. Another historic mansion in downtown Napa, this small boutique hotel has been updated with bright white walls and a crisp modern feel. Breakfast is a buffet of curated small plates – both sweet and savory – and homemade baked goods. A lap pool and plenty of comfy lounge chairs are surrounded by the leafy garden.
R Inn, Napa. If modern minimalism is more your style, check out this sleek property filled with clean lines and whimsical art. Its ten rooms include automatic adjustable beds, high ceilings, city views, luxurious linens, and a complimentary bottle of wine. Note that some of its rooms are “European style,” which means smaller than many U.S. hotel rooms.
Embrace Calistoga, Calistoga. This charming 1873 home on Calistoga’s main street offers five rooms, each individually decorated in a muted backdrop of soft wall tones accentuated with original art. Some include fireplaces. A generous brunch-style breakfast is served, as well as a wine and cheese hour in the evenings. They’ll even provide a special snack pack for you to take with you during the day, with area maps and information about any special events.
Chateau de Vie, Calistoga. If you love the vibe of a private French chateau, this is the place for you. It’s surrounded by formal gardens of roses, lavender, and evergreens, with views to the vineyards and hills beyond. A full seasonal breakfast is served on your own schedule, with wine and cheese service in the afternoon. Jacuzzi hot tub and 40’ lap pool in the garden.
The Francis House, Calistoga. This is Calistoga’s newest addition to the hospitality scene, and it’s been a long time coming. Formerly a private home as well as a hospital, for years this exquisite Second Empire property lay in abandoned ruins – many potential buyers were scared off by the cost of renovation. Now it’s made Architectural Digest’s list of 15 best-designed hotels. Original stone walls set off a neutral décor of contemporary and antique furnishings. A creative seasonal breakfast is served daily, and a generous lap pool and fountain can be enjoyed in the expansive garden of herbs and citrus trees. No children or pets, please.