The Westin Verasa, Napa Rating: 4.5 Pearls
The 180-room Westin Verasa looks more like an upscale boutique hotel than major chain. From the comfy beds to the sleek furniture and artwork, to the unique bocce ball court outside, everything feels modern and trendy. Right in the heart of downtown Napa, the hotels' rooms offer impressive views of the Napa River and city -- and a spacious outdoor patio and pool with private cabanas make it a nice place to kick back. The outdoor bocce court and big pool might appeal to families, and guests checking in with kids might want to request a larger Deluxe room or Suite for some of the most spacious lodging in the area.
Embassy Suites Napa Valley Rating: 3.5 Pearls
The Embassy Suites in Napa does not look like your typical chain hotel upon arrival. It strives to emulate the Napa Valley vibe with manicured, sprawling grounds, a palm tree-lined, villa-like facade, and warm decor in the renovated suites. The juxtaposition of patterned rugs and patterned walls in these suites may have missed the mark (they feel a bit busy to some), but the decor is fresh and all suites feature separate living rooms, wetbars, mini-fridges, and microwaves (older suites have tired, out-of-date decor but modern amenities) . Families will likely enjoy the two nice pools -- the indoor pool is large and the outdoor pool is in a quiet courtyard, surrounded by the hotel (similar chain hotels often feature roadside pools).
Best Western Plus Stevenson Manor Inn Rating: 3.0 Pearls
The Best Western Plus Stevenson Manor Inn is a good pick for budget-minded families. Its 34 rooms are clean and spacious, with modern amenities such as iPod docks and flat-screen TVs, as well as contemporary decor -- mostly in tan, chocolate, gray, and cream hues. The main areas of the hotel, including the simple pool and tiny breakfast area are nothing to write home about. It's the convenient location of this hotel that's the real draw here -- walking to downtown Calistoga or driving to wineries in St. Helena and along the Silverado Trail is a breeze.
Napa River Inn Rating: 3.5 Pearls
The Napa River Inn's location within the Historic Napa Mill makes it a fun pick for families: It's one of the most convenient properties for those who want to be within walking distance to great shopping, excellent dining and entertainment, and -- for the parents -- wine tasting rooms. There are a bunch of renowned restaurants, as well as a few shops, an acclaimed jazz club and a day spa within the complex. But room quality varies, depending mostly on the building the room is in, and not all have the same high-tech amenities-- while the rooms in the Hatt Building feel high-end and romantic, those in Embarcadero and Plaza buildings feel more mid-range (but are still cozy and have wonderful beds).
Best Western Elm House Inn Rating: 3.5 Pearls
Most guests equate the 22-room Best Western to more of a cozy bed and breakfast than a mid-range chain. Perhaps it's due to the personal touches -- such as the freshly baked chocolate chip cookies, milk, and apple cider served in the lobby every afternoon (just make sure the kids don't fill up before dinner!). The hotel capitalizes on its homey feel -- some rooms offer fireplaces, terraces (though overlooking a parking lot or street), or Jacuzzis , and the furniture and decor is quaint, if not high-quality. The place does lack some facilities that other mid-range hotels have -- there is no pool (just a Jacuzzi), fitness center, or restaurant. It's a mile from downtown Napa, within a 20-minute walk of its restaurants and shops. Rooms with two queen beds are available, as are adjoining rooms, and overall it's a solid choice for families on a budget.