In the 1850s, an inn on the banks of the Napa River was a convenient overnight stop for travelers heading north along the rough and ready Silverado Trail. Still in use 150 years later, the historic building today houses the Milliken Creek Inn, but proximity to the river and the east side of the valley’s main transportation route is about all they have in common.
No longer rough or rowdy, today’s Milliken Creek Inn is a luxury boutique hotel that prides itself on offering privacy, pampering and romance in a woodsy setting that’s surprisingly close to town.Repeat guests are Milliken Creek’s claim to fame, and it’s not hard to understand why people return time after time. Each room has the spaciousness of a suite with french doors opening onto a private patio or balcony from which it’s just a few steps to the lush riverbank gardens. Romantics won’t be able to find a key ingredient missing. King-size bed facing an oversize fireplace: check. Freestanding oversize Jacuzzi bathtub with high-tech adjustable jet system: check. Gigantic flat-screen TV with full selection of contemporary movies: check. Breakfast is served in the rooms to your specifications: make your menu choices the night before, then it arrives with a discreet knock on the door at the appointed time.
Three acres of manicured, Zen-inspired gardens hug the edge of the river, and the spa’s luxurious treatment rooms overlook the flowing water as well. At dusk, the inn’s “magic hour” celebration features a local winery pouring its latest vintages accompanied by artisanal cheeses, olives, chutneys, and other local delicacies.
Just a few miles away, downtown Napa has finally rid itself of ugly flood control engineering that turned the river into an oversize drainage ditch. Once a drive-by working class town, Napa’s now celebrating its new life as a riverfront city with fresh restaurants like Ubuntu and newly relocated Celadon, the Oxbow Market’s artisanal food offerings, and a new riverfront shopping center. Bike trails that link the city’s disparate neighborhoods across picturesque lamplit bridges.