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DESTINATION: NAPA VALLEY

Tips for Beating the B&B Bottleneck

April 11, 1999|SUSAN SPANO

* Rates are highest on weekends from Easter to the busy grape crush, which ends the week before Thanksgiving. Book a month or more in advance for high season. Many inns require a minimum two nights' stay on high-season weekends.

* Some inns offer discounts of up to 30% Sunday to Thursday. Even if the inn where you want to stay doesn't publicize such discounts, ask. Many proprietors will deal.

* Ask about special packages, available at some of the larger inns. These often include meals, wine tastings and spa treatments.

* Classic B&B-style accommodations include the Blue Violet Mansion, telephone (800) 959-2583; Beazley House, tel. (707) 257-1649; Churchill Manor, tel. (707) 253-7733; La Belle Epoque, tel. (800) 238- 8070, in Napa; Cinnamon Bear, tel. (707) 963-4653; Chestelson House, tel. (707) 963-2238; Wine Country Victorian and Cottages, tel. (707) 963-0852, in St. Helena; and Larkmead Country Inn, tel. (707) 942- 5360, near Calistoga.

* Chain motels in the valley include the Embassy Suites, tel. (800) EMBASSY; the Napa Valley Marriott, tel. (800) 228-9290; and the Best Western Elm House Inn, tel. (800) 528- 1234, in Napa. In Calistoga, there's the Comfort Inn Napa Valley North, tel. (800) 221- 2222, and the Best Western Stevenson Manor Inn, tel. (800) 528-1234.

* Budget travelers should check mom and pop-style motels in Calistoga, such as Roman Spa Hot Springs Resort, tel. (707) 942-4441; Golden Haven Hot Springs Spa and Resort, tel. (707) 942-6793; Nance's Hot Springs and Motel, tel. (707) 942-6211; and Dr. Wilkinson's Hot Springs Resort and Hideaway Cottages, tel. (707) 942-4108, where rates start as low as $50. In Yountville, the Napa Valley Railway Inn, tel. (707) 944-2000, has rooms in old train cars starting at $85, and rustic White Sulphur Springs Retreat and Spa, tel. (707) 963-8588, west of St. Helena, has a carriage house with basic, shared-bath rooms for $85 to $95.

The valley has one campground, Calistoga Ranch Club, tel. (800) 847-6272, with tent and RV sites, as well as two Airstream trailers and four cabins, priced from $20 to $89.

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