A few months back there was an article in the San Francisco Chronicle touting the Chardonnay Lodge as a recommended budget motel near downtown Napa. Most visitors to the Napa Valley like to bask themselves in luxury at an upscale B&B or inn. For folks like us who travel often to the Napa Valley, we look for bargain spots with comfortable accommodations. If you spend little time in your room, there may be no need for the lavish amenities.
We decided to try one night at the Chardonnay Lodge on a recent trip to the Napa Valley. We did find our room to be very clean and comfortable. The rooms have all been recently painted with warm colors and the owners are very friendly and accommodating. The cost for a midweek night in November was a mere $89. No doubt the Chardonnay is a bargain considering the lodging rates in the Napa Valley. If you are on a tight budget the Chardonnay might be a good choice. For us, it was not. There are 20 rooms at the Chardonnay spread out in a U shape and as near as we could tell, there were only two other rooms occupied that night. The motel is on a busy street and in a commercial part of town. It is possible to walk to downtown Napa from the Chardonnay Lodge. It is about a 20-minute walk, but on a cold dark night this is not a wise choice. We found ourselves a little too isolated here and prefer a spot where there is more action.
There are other budget possibilities in Napa and we have stayed at two, the El Bonita Motel in St. Helena and the Stevenson Motor Lodge in Calistoga. Both of these are better choices but you will have to pay slightly more. We also spotted a Travel Lodge in downtown Napa that looks good in terms of a budget price and central location.
The Good: Budget rates and very clean, friendly owners.
The Bad: Rooms small and two far from the mainstream of wine country.