If you have read any of my other blog posts, you know I am partial to Yountville. However, I am the first one to admit the rest of the Napa Valley is just as lovely and worth exploring! Downtown Napa has exploded into a mecca of amazing restaurants, tasting rooms, and fun local shops. For my latest “Staycation,” I decided to stay at River Terrace Inn, located right in the center of Downtown Napa.
The first thing I notice when I arrive at a new hotel is how friendly the staff is when checking in. River Terrace Inn’s staff was extremely friendly, knowledgeable and made me feel safe right away. COVID-19 protocols were posted around the hotel and everyone was wearing masks to ensure safety. When I checked in, staff let me know Happy Hour was currently happening at Alba Restaurant, located in the hotel. I quickly called a couple of my girlfriends to come join me because I love a good happy hour.
Before heading to Happy Hour, I went up to the third floor to check out my room. River Terrace Inn is set right next to the Napa River. My room had a lovely little patio with a great view of the river. In recent years, the city of Napa has been working on a river clean up project and the river is looking lovelier than ever.
My first impression of the room was how HUGE it was! When I walked in, there was a large vanity, perfect for fixing your eye make-up since masks make lipstick unnecessary and a large bar area with a mini-fridge. Due to COVID-19, River Terrace Inn has taken out the items from the fridge but if you need a split of bubbles, or anything else, you can call the front desk and they will bring it up to your room!
The sleeping area had a huge California King with a pull out sofa and a desk. But my favorite part was the bathroom. One of my favorite things to do at a hotel is take a nice long relaxing bath after a day of exploring. I have seen some good bathtubs, but River Terrace Inn is my favorite so far. The tub was large and it even had jets! I planned ahead and brought a bath bomb so I could really enjoy my bath time later. In addition to the jetted tub, the mirror had a fun bluetooth feature so you could listen to any music you wanted to while relaxing! A great feature I had not seen before.
After settling into my room it was time for Happy Hour! I met my two friends, Samm and Natalie, downstairs at River Terrace Inn’s restaurant, Alba, to enjoy an outdoor happy hour. Currently, only outdoor dining is allowed in Napa County but lucky for us it stays pretty nice all year around in Napa Valley!
Alba has a spacious patio right next to the Napa River and the river path. They offer Happy Hour EVERY DAY from 4:30 – 7:00 p.m. on house wines and well drinks. They also have a variety of small plates that you can enjoy with your cocktail. Since it was a Friday night we all decided to be a little fancy and break with the Napa tradition and order cocktails. My go-to cocktail is a dirty martini, extra dirty, up with three olives and man was theirs tasty! It was just the right amount of “dirty” and our server even brought me extra olives (an extra point in my book). Natalie opted for an old fashion to warm her up and Samm enjoyed a fancier version of a cranberry and vodka.
To compliment our cocktails we ordered the truffle fries, ahi poke tacos, and a cheese and charcuterie board. The ahi tacos were so cute and the avocado salsa that was on them was divine. The cheese and charcuterie board had a great variety and even included some local honey that went perfect on the cheese. But our favorite of the appetizers was the truffle fries. I am a BIG french fry fan and when you add truffle and parmesan there are really very few things better than that in my opinion. The fries were perfectly crispy and the lemon aioli was to die for.
After Happy Hour, Samm and Natalie headed home and I set off to explore downtown Napa. Most of Napa’s restaurants are still open and serving outside with tents and heat lamps. Many of the local wineries now offer tasting rooms downtown which means you can walk to world class wine from your hotel. In addition to the restaurants and tasting rooms downtown Napa now has a great selection of local shops located in “First Street Napa”.
After a fun evening of exploring downtown, I headed back to my comfy room to enjoy a glass of wine and call it a night. River Terrace Inn offers complimentary breakfast or there are lots of great breakfast places within walking distance. I decided to head over to the Oxbow Public Market and pick up a breakfast sandwich from The Model Bakery and a latte before heading home.
I know that traveling may be limited for most of us right now so I am thankful to be able to take this time to explore my own backyard. And don’t worry, Napa Valley will be here and ready to welcome you when it is safe to travel again!
Yountville and Napa Valley businesses are taking COVID-19 very seriously and have many new procedures in place to make sure you are safe. Make sure you make a reservation, wear a mask until seated, and stay six feet apart while in public.