Unearthing the Details Behind the Deals: A Publisher Tour of Wine Country

Oct 15, 2015
The publishers at Travelzoo comb through dozens of deals each week and help to shape them into the offers you see in your inbox. With time spent fighting for the hottest deals and writing copy to explain why they’re so great, publishers don't always get the chance to see, in person, the hotels and experiences that inspire our members.

Recently, our West Coast publishing team set out to remedy that. Karyn Strauss and Peter Vanden Bos toured California Wine Country -- one of our most popular destinations -- with the region’s sales director, Grace Huang. We visited with some of the hotels that our members have loved the most.

There was plenty to love: rooms that open right out to vineyards, cozy fireplaces galore, outdoor showers, picture-perfect wedding spots and private-label wines. (Wine! wine! wine!)

And with Crush Season winding down and summer crowds gone until next year, now is a great time to find some of the best deals in Napa and Sonoma counties.

Here’s we were most excited to discover in person at each property:

Inn at Occidental

We started a bit off the beaten path: The former 1800s mining town of Occidental is surrounded by towering Redwoods but lies 10 minutes from the coast and Sonoma County wineries. No two rooms – no two lamps, even – at this B&B are alike. They’re decorated with rare antiques to a specific theme. (Our favorite was the Safari Room.)

boon hotel + spa

The property is committed to eco-friendliness, with a solar-heated saline pool and an understated, modern feel. Guests can borrow a bike for free to explore the charming town of Guerneville, nearby Russian River or wineries specializing in Pinot Noir.

Applewood Inn

Originally built in the 1920s in the Mission Revival Style, the Guerneville B&B retains its nostalgic, romantic feel. Each room has a unique layout and furnishings, with custom Frette linens. The hotel recently added optional private wine and picnic tours in a fleet of Fiats.

Best Western Dry Creek Inn

One of the more popular options in Healdsburg, the Dry Creek Inn somewhat belies its budget-friendly Best Western branding. The property is decorated faithfully in the style of a Tuscan villa, newly renovated rooms feature fireplaces and jetted tubs and it’s passionately family-owned and operated.

h2 Hotel

h2 is housed in a LEED-certified building with eco-friendly features that include a “living roof,” use of solar panels and ban on plastic materials. It’s also one of the few options right in downtown Healdsburg. The eco commitment is complimented by chic décor and thoughtful details. Our favorite: Still and sparkling purified water on tap on each floor.

Safari West

Most people don’t expect the find the Grand Savannah in the middle of Wine Country, but Safari West is home to 700+ animals, including giraffes, rhinos, zebras and antelope. Guests go “glamping” in tents scattered right on the grounds and take custom-outfitted safari vehicles for tours. These are entirely focused on education and conservation. Meeting and learning about Susie the giraffe (pictured) was a highlight for animal-lover Karyn. Vintners Inn

A European feel marks this Santa Rosa property, with views of vines spreading over dozen of acres and private courtyards with Italian marble fountains. The property is divided into smaller buildings, making it feel more intimate, but amenities are extensive. Don’t miss the top-rated John Ash & Co. restaurant.

Calistoga Ranch, An Auberge Resort

This luxury property is a favorite hideaway for celebrities and VIPs. Each lodge is its own freestanding unit thoughtfully tucked into the surrounding canyon. After an indoor-outdoor spa treatment or dip in the stunning pool, guests can grab one of the complimentary Mercedes Benz to explore Wine Country (based on availability).

Napa Valley Lodge

The lodge is located in Yountville, steps from famed Bouchon Bakery and The French Laundry, but still has a tranquil feel with vineyard views. A bevy of amenities come standard, notably cookies from Napa local favorite Annie the Baker, delivered nightly at turndown service.


Both luxury and eco-chic (the hotel is LEED Certified), Bardessono is also right in Yountville. The grounds are private, elegant and refined, with a luxe rooftop pool as the centerpiece. Each room is a “spa suite,” designed to accommodate in-room private spa services.

The Carneros Inn

The 27 acres of this sprawling luxury resort are dotted with individual secluded cottages that offer indoor-outdoor showers and huge private patios. Of the two pools, our favorite was the adults-only hilltop pool with views that spread for miles across rolling vineyards. It’s also only an hour from San Francisco.


More Great Deals & Tips