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Category Archives: Napa

Advice: Napa Without A Car

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.So, you’ve got your Napa Valley trip all planned. Your flight is booked, your hotel room is reserved, and your wine tour is paid-in-full. But what about the rental car? Yes? No? Well, that depends. Here are a few things to keep in mind when deciding whether or not to rent a car in Napa.

–Transportation to Napa Valley from area airports is available via shuttle service. Expect to pay about $45 dollars one-way if you want to be dropped off at your hotel. You can call your hotel and ask for recommendations. Be sure to plan ahead, since it might be necessary to book your spot on the shuttle in advance.

–Of course, you can always use cabs to get around once you’re in Napa Valley. However, be aware that at certain times of year there are more people needing rides than there are available cabs. On Friday and Saturday nights, you might be waiting 60-90 minutes after you’ve called the cab company.

–Wine tours aren’t only fun and educational, they’re also a great way to see Napa Valley if you haven’t rented a car. We loved the Platypus Wine Tour, which took us to four local vineyards.

–Ask if your hotel offers a shuttle or courtesy car. This can be a great way to get around town and is often less expensive than a cab (although you should always tip the driver, of course).

–Try renting wheels of a different kind: a bike!

–Be sure to check out Napa Valley Car-Free, which has contact information for cab companies, shuttle services, limosine companies, and other forms of transportation.

Whatever you decide to do, make sure you research your options carefully. The last thing you want to do on your vacation is worry about the logistics of getting from one place to another.

Napa Valley Marriott Hotel: Friendly Service and Quiet Rooms? Yes, Please!

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I’ll admit that I’m a little crazy when it comes to customer service. I try my best to be nice to others, especially those who work with the general public since I know it isn’t easy. I expect the same politeness in return. I’m pleased to say that the Napa Valley Marriott went above and beyond in terms of making us feel welcome and helping us when we had questions.

Even though our stay was fairly short (2 nights), I could give a dozen examples of their hospitality: the friendly smiles at the registration desk, the quick service of the hotel’s courtesy shuttle, the helpful late-night Twitter message from the hotel when my friend and I were stuck without a cab in downtown Napa. (Speaking of cabs, just know that if you call for a cab or a Friday or Saturday night, you’ll be waiting 60-90 minutes. We had no clue!)

So, how was the hotel itself? The location was convenient–not far from downtown Napa and an easy drive north to St. Helena. This isn’t the place to stay if you’re envisioning your Napa trip filled with scenic vistas right outside your window. But it is located near restaurants and shops, and allows easy access to Highway 29.

Room, Napa Valley Marriott

The room reminded me of other Marriott rooms: two comfortable beds, refrigerator, clean bathroom, flatscreen TV.

One of the things I enjoyed most about this hotel was that it was absolutely silent at night. I didn’t hear so much as a door slam or voices in the hallway during either night of our 2-night stay. My friend and I are both moms, so part of the purpose of our trip was to relax and get some sleep without midnight requests for another glass of water or a special stuffed animal! Mission accomplished in our quiet hotel room!

Although we didn’t go swimming, the hotel does have a nice pool with lots of comfy-looking lounge chairs.

I would absolutely recommend the Napa Valley Marriott Hotel to any traveler who is looking for convenience and good customer service. (And you should follow them on Twitter, too.)

Disclaimer: I received a discounted rate from the hotel. I also follow the hotel on Twitter and have communicated with them in the past. However, all opinions expressed here are my own, and I was not asked to write this review.

Pretty flower at the Marriott

Platypus Wine Tours: The Perfect Day in Napa?

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What could be better? Driving through beautiful Napa Valley without having to worry about directions (or your sobriety), led by a knowledgable guide who takes you to vineyards where you learn all about the wines of the region. After a delicious lunch, it’s off to more wineries until the shuttle delivers you back to your hotel.

Sounds pretty good, right? This is exactly what it was like to join one of the Platypus Wine Tours.

We visited four wineries: Biale, Tudal, Arger-Martucci, and Robinson Family, all of which are smaller than the “big name” places and have reasonable tasting fees. Since Napa Valley is known or its reds, we tried several syrahs and pinot noirs, with a few whites along the way. In terms of the wine, I really liked Arger-Martucci. As for the beauty of the surroundings, Robinson Family Vineyards was absolutely stunning.

I’m certainly no wine expert. However, I had a wonerful time on the tour and enjoyed meeting our tour guide, Shawnda, who was truly a breath of fresh air! Knowledgable, yet down-to-earth, she made this wine-newbie feel right at home.

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Poolside wine-tasting at Arger-Martucci

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A beautiful view at Robert Biale Vineyards

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Where it all begins

For more information on Platypus Wine Tours, visit their website.

All opinions are my own. I paid for my wine tour and tasting fees at each winery.

Home From Napa Valley

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A pretty view in Napa

I just arrived home today after a wine-filled weekend in Napa Valley. Not only did I enjoy spending time with one of my good friends, I also learned a lot about wine, enjoyed beautiful views like the one pictured above, and visited California for the first time!

Stay tuned…I’ll be posting about our dinner at Ubuntu restaurant in downtown Napa, the Platypus wine tour, and our stay at the Napa Valley Marriott Resort and Spa. I’ll also share some tips on exploring Napa Valley without renting a car.

For now, I better go. Real life, with all of its responsibilities, is waiting!

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