If you are planning a getaway to the Northern California wine country, finding a reasonably priced hotel has become difficult. Even budget hotels frequently run over $200/night and the sky is the limit for luxury hotels. So, I was surprised to find the Comfort Inn Calistoga for $154/night mid-week and was looking forward to my stay with a tinge of anxiety on what to expect. It turned out to be a very pleasant stay – read on to find out what I liked about it!
Location: Calistoga is located at the Northern end of the Napa Valley and the Comfort Inn is on the edge of town, about four blocks from the center with its restaurants, wine tasting rooms, shops and spas. It’s a short ride, a 15 minute walk or you can call the Calistoga shuttle for a pick-up. Sacramento, Oakland and San Francisco are the next major airports, each over 1 hour drive.
Service/Rewards: The friendly service at the Comfort Inn was the first pleasant surprise. The front desk staff was exceptionally welcoming and allowed me to check in early – more than a day early in fact: To my embarrassment, I had booked for the following day by mistake, but he was happy to accommodate me early without extra charge. He also assigned me an upstairs room with a balcony, technically an upgrade among the otherwise similar rooms! He also offered a free shuttle bus pass, tips for wineries, spas and restaurants around town and patiently explained the amenities of the hotel. The hotel participates in the Choice Privileges rewards program and the points for my stay posted without issue. I received a room upgrade, even though that is not a perk of my Platinum level membership.
Room: The Comfort Inn has rooms located in three, two-story buildings arranged around the inner courtyard, gardens and pool. While the rooms are accessed via exterior corridors, it feels more like a small residential complex than a motel. My room was on the upper floor, away from the street. The room is good-size and held in a vaguely wine-country style in earth-tones. While the furniture and carpets seemed older, it was well maintained. The room was outfitted with a king-size bed, two large chairs, a desk and cabinetry. It opens to a small balcony with two plastic chairs and a table. Room features included a large flat-screen TV, fridge, microwave, coffee maker and a large laptop-size safe – all in good working order. There are even two bathrobes, a little surprising for this category of hotel. The bathroom was also large and a little older, with tiled floors and the bath area. The sink has plenty of surface for your toiletries and the shower-over-tub has a curved rod with single curtain. A wall-mounted hair dryer, good quality towels and mixed-brand toiletries are provided. The very old and noisy vent was a little distracting to me. The free WiFi internet in the room was shaky and at slow at an average speed of 1.6Mbps, so don’t plan any Netlfix movies during your stay!
Restaurant/Amenities: The Comfort Inn competes with a number of more upscale hotels in the neighborhood and offers more amenities than I would have expected from this chain. Between the buildings is a nicely landscaped courtyard, with trees, flowers and seating to enjoy the outside. There is a mineral spring water pool and jacuzzi, as well as a sauna and steam room next to it, so you can have a little spa-day after a day touring the wine country. It’s surrounded by a fence and hedges, making it a nice enough space to hang out. The hotel has a small fitness room, but it is more of a “box-checking” facility, offering just one bike, one treadmill and a weight machine, enough for just the most basic workout! Like with any Comfort Inn, the breakfast is included with the rate and offered in a small room next to the lobby, with seating in the lobby, the breakfast room and outdoors utilized by the guests. It was pretty crowded for a weekday and I’d expect it to be even more so on a weekend when the hotel is sold out! The buffet has a good selection, with some cereal, yogurts and fresh fruit, as well as pastries, waffles and some eggs and meats for a full, hot breakfast – enough to get a good start into your wine-tasting day! The Comfort Inn offers a free Calistoga shuttle pass – you can call for a pick up and they’ll take you anywhere within a 2 mile radius on request – a great way to go wine tasting without having to drive!
Bottomline: At $154, the Comfort Inn Calistoga was a great deal and surprisingly good. The Best Western across the road was 40% more and everything else close to double the price or more. While it is an older property, it is well maintained and you get more amenities – like the pool and wellness area – than I expected. Add the super-friendly service, and the Comfort Inn Calistoga makes for a great wine country weekend getaway without breaking the bank!