Bedding Down: The Luxury Bed and Breakfast

by Chris on February 13, 2012

A lodging trend that I’m happy to see more of: The luxury bed and breakfast. A few examples, found in Napa Valley.

luxury bed and breakfast, Miliken Inn & Spa, Napa

One of my favorite lodging trends in recent years: The appearance of the luxury bed and breakfast, one that has the sensibilities of a boutique hotel with the personal touches that you’d find in a small establishment.

I have very definite ideas on what a good bed and breakfast looks like, which come from too many nights spent at bad ones. As I outlined in that previous post, I want warmth and personal recommendations, combined with privacy and space to spread out. Unless I’m specifically looking for a historic atmosphere, I want the decor to be classic, not chinzy, and an owner who doesn’t hover. And it goes without saying that I want an awesome hot breakfast.

It’s a tall order. But when I find a place that has most of those things, plus the modern conveniences or design flourishes that you’d find in a boutique hotel, then I’m a happy camper.

luxury bed and breakfast, 1801 First, Napa

Photo courtesy of 1801 First

On my recent trip to Napa Valley, I stayed in not just one, but two bed and breakfasts that fit the bill.  The first, 1801 First, had some of the hallmarks of a traditional B & B. It’s in a historic Victorian home within walking distance of downtown Napa, it has a dining room where guests eat at set times and the rooms are just a stone’s throw from each other. As you’d expect in Napa, there’s a Happy Hour full of wine and cheese.

luxury bed and breakfast, 1801 First, Napa

But, here’s where the B & B concept changes to something more akin to a boutique hotel. Each room has a flat-screen TV, a fireplace and an en-suite bathroom. You can set up spa treatments in your room, which also has luxe bathrobes and linens. Guests are given a choice of breakfast, which they order on a form the night before. Plus there’s free Wi-Fi throughout the hotel (and separate cottage suites for those who want more privacy). All good things – without any chinz in sight.

“Our client is the savvy modern traveler,” said inn owner Darcy Tunt, explaining her more modern decor. “We’re geared toward romantic travelers.”

Sign outside the Milliken Inn & Spa in Napa Valley, California

Photo courtesy of Miliken Inn & Spa in Napa Valley, California

The Miliken Inn & Spa, a few miles outside downtown Napa, attracts a similar clientele. Most of the rooms are away from the main house, giving the guests slightly more privacy (I was able to slip in and out of the main house almost undetected), but the rooms have the same modern look and amenities.

My luxury suite, which came with its own kitchenette and complimentary soda in the minibar, seemed like a solo oasis, with a huge flat screen, DVD, and a fireplace. Breakfasts are ordered from a menu and delivered to your room. It felt like a true sanctuary.

luxury bed and breakfast

As you can see from this picture, the Miliken Inn pulled out all the stops to show me what Valentine’s Day would look like at their property. Sadly, I was alone (although I did eat all the chocolate strawberries).

 While both 1801 First and Miliken Inn have romance packages, most hotels will drop prices these during the week. If you can get away and take advantage of them, you get a double benefit: Not only do you save money, but taking time off during the week seems more illicit (and therefore sexier). Call your preferred hotel directly to see if they’ll negotiate with published prices. At the very least, you might get some value added features, such as spa credits or extras, thrown in.

My visit to Napa was sponsored by the Napa Valley Destination Council, but my opinions remain my own. 

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| Chris Gray Faust is a veteran journalist, travel expert, social media butterfly - and editrix of this site. Like what you read? Check out her writing, editing and social media services.

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Jeremy Branham February 13, 2012 at 11:35 am

I love the culture and intimate setting of B&Bs. However, they are sometimes a bit pricey for me. I love staying in homes like this.


Kelsey February 16, 2012 at 1:19 pm

Such beautiful B&Bs! I stayed at when I was in Nashville and it was just perfect. Much more cozy than a chain hotel.


cheryl February 26, 2012 at 5:43 am

I love B & B’s! Especially when you get breakfast made fresh for you. Soooo yummy.


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