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In the Wine Country, vacation rentals are now considerably more popular than hotel rooms, given the multitude of benefits that accompany them. Traveling in large groups of friends or family, people look for temporary living where they can enjoy their trip to the fullest.

With matchless privacy and personal space options, a vacation rental can give you the perfect value for your money. The big question is: How do you pick one vacation home out of the rest? It comes down to what exactly you are looking for. Check out one of our earlier posts for detailed tips about CHOOSING THE RIGHT VACATION RENTAL. Here are a few more considerations to keep in mind to help you determine whether a rental is the ideal one for you.

Ready for a vacation rental?

1. Location

No one disagrees that the landscape of the Wine Country is stunning. With gently rolling hills, beautiful rivers, ocean shores, and fecund valleys, the Wine Country has a treasure of great locations where you can find your perfect vacation home. But when it comes to picking out the right vacation rental for you, consider whether you want to be close in to one of the area’s charming towns. Is it important to be able to walk to the center of town, with restaurants, boutiques, and galleries? Or would you prefer to be away from neighbors and feel like you have the world to yourself? The ideal vacation rental home is in the Wine Country, but imagine more specifically just what the locale looks like. See what it is that will make you happy.

2. Style

Wouldn’t you check out the theme of a hotel before you stay there? Similarly, check to see if the company you are choosing offers various styles in their vacation homes. Some places may be no-fuss rustic, while others are pristine luxury. Are you into stylish modern or would a comfy cottage better suit you and your group. The style will set the right mood in your Wine Country vacation. Don’t hesitate to be picky with your vacation home’s exterior and interior options!

3. Extras

Some vacation rental agencies offer comprehensive concierge services. These include shopping, transportation, spa services, and star-chef meals. The Wine Stay has a complete concierge menu, which also includes guided wine tasting tours and on-site massage. We want to make your vacation in Sonoma Valley or Napa Valley a one-of-a-kind experience. We know the more extras available to you, the more comfortable your vacation becomes.

Take your time to find a vacation home. Make sure the company who manages the rental home has a five-star reputation. Look closely at reviews. Proceed once you are sure all factors are up to your standards so that you can enjoy your precious vacation days to the fullest!

For the first morning in a very long time, you wake up to the sound of birds chirping outside your window, instead of a blaring alarm clock.

A gentle breeze wafts in, carrying in the scent of freshly mown grass. You hear the friendly sounds of pots and pans from the kitchen below at your chosen vacation home, heralding you to a home-cooked breakfast that is sure to have you reaching for seconds. A day of wine tours and relaxing beckons you.

This is not a dream scenario. This is what awaits you if you give yourself the chance to enjoy a luxury weekend vacation.

Give yourself the perfect gift

Truth is we don’t need month-long vacations to rejuvenate ourselves. All we have to do is find a place that indulges our senses, and offers calm and quiet, and we’ll feel refreshed in no time.

That’s where ideas such as vacation rentals in the luxurious Wine Country come to mind.

Taking the luxury weekend vacation

Vacation rentals are your best bet when it comes to taking weekend vacations. Far less expensive than your average hotel room, a vacation home lets you enjoy all the comfort of home — and more!

For example, let’s say you choose a vacation home in classic destinations like Napa Valley, Sonoma, or Healdsburg. At The Wine Stay we provide you with just the right Wine Country vacation home that suits your needs. Plus, we offer concierge services — driving, cooking, day trips, wine tasting — so you can have an extra special getaway, and won’t need to worry about a thing.

Wine and dine in the wine country

Of course, with a weekend vacation surrounded by vineyards and fabulous wine, you can expect an unforgettable wine tasting experience.

Visit a few boutique wineries — there are numerous wine tasting rooms dotting the countryside between Napa and Healdsburg, and beyond. You’ll easily be able to plan a full day touring the Wine Country, meeting winemakers, and tasting select vintages that you wouldn’t get to sample at your local wine store — the perfect touch to your already luxuriously comforting holiday.

Vacationing the weekend away

You’ve worked hard to live the life you have. Isn’t it time for a relaxing getaway? Let your life stand still for a moment and take a breather. Go to the Wine Country and rent a luxury vacation home to give yourself the relaxing mini-vacation you so richly deserve!

Luxury home rentals

Luxury vacation rentals experiences. We want your vacation experience to be more than a getaway. Enjoy from wine tasting tours to a personally tailored guided hike. Contact us for more information!

Charming, intimate, upscale — the village of St. Helena offers you everything you want for a Wine Country getaway. Situated in the heart of Napa Valley between Calistoga and Yountville, it’s only about an hour’s drive north of San Francisco.

This quaint community of about 6,000 residents has always been an agricultural hub. Over the years as Sonoma and Napa valleys became known for growing grapes and producing world-class wines, the town has made its place on the map. Within walking distance of each other are plenty of tasting rooms, but bucolic St. Helena offers much more to its visitors who hail from the Bay Area and far beyond.

St. Helena as your getaway

As Healdsburg does for Sonoma, St. Helena lends Napa Valley a small-town atmosphere that welcomes you to stay awhile. Downtown brims with chic boutiques, art galleries, and farm-to-table eateries. You can choose from a handful of local spas that will pamper you in style. This is the land of “feel-good,” where it’s all about the experience. Rolling, oak-studded hills, Mediterranean climate, vineyards, fresh air and blue sky add up to paradise. And you might as well enjoy the wine, too.

Napa Valley is a small wine-growing region, relative to how many acres across the globe are devoted to grapes. This preserves the artisan quality of the family-owned wineries and the craft of winemaking. St. Helena may be small, but its winemakers are world renown. It’s home to some of the big names like Charles Krug and Beringer, but there are loads of smaller must-taste wines such as Sinegal, V. Sattui and Trinchero. A day in the valley wine tasting topped off by dinner at a Michelin-starred restaurant? It doesn’t get much better.

Those foodies among us know St. Helena for its gourmet fare, and the CIA (Culinary Institute of America). You don’t have to be an aspiring chef to enjoy its cooking and wine classes, tastings, and demos though.

If you prefer a homemade culinary experience, check out the St. Helena Farmer’s Market downtown in Crane Park. Every Friday, May through October, this is the place to find exotic mushrooms, fresh-caught fish, hand-crafted cheeses and baked goods —  you name it! Select fresh ingredients, grab a couple bottles of wine and experience the fun of preparing food with friends at your pied-a-terre in the Wine Country.

Luxury home rentals

Luxury vacation rentals experiences. We want your vacation experience to be more than a getaway. Enjoy from wine tasting tours to a personally tailored guided hike. Contact us for more information!

Vacations used to be simpler. You decided where you wanted to go, saved up your money, and reserved a hotel room. There weren’t vacation packages and bargain offers to sort through. You didn’t have much choice about where to stay, so long as your bank account was flush. Your budget was set by your savings, not your credit card limit. Things are different today.

You have choices, with a vast range of prices for hotel rooms and the types of amenities you will get. You can reserve a room in a reliable chain or indulge in trendy boutique accommodations. Or, you could rent a vacation home.

More popular than ever, having a whole vacation home rental to yourself offers tremendous advantages. Coming and going through your own front door gives you a more intimate experience of your locale. You get to feel what it’s like to live like a local. But what are the pluses of a vacation rental over a hotel room? Let’s get down to specifics.

A hotel room is going to cost you, especially if you’re looking at Healdsburg, Sonoma, or Napa hotels. A nice room for two in The Wine Country goes for a minimum of $400 per night over the weekend, with luxury locations climbing upward of $1,000 a night and more. For the same amount of money why not have a house to yourself? If it’s just the two of you, the cost per night could make a hotel a better value. However, as soon as you count in more guests—two couples, a family, group of friends—the nightly cost goes down significantly for a rental home. Divide $800 a night among two or three couples, for example, and you get a luxury vacation home for the price of a budget hotel. The nightly rate of a vacation rental goes down the more people in your party. Conversely, more people means the price per night goes up, and steeply, in a hotel.

But the price of your lodging is only part of the cost-savings picture. Eating out adds on a significant chunk to your vacation budget. Sure, there may be a mini-fridge in your hotel room, but in a vacation home you’ll have the convenience and flexibility of a fully-equipped kitchen. Suddenly your meals are so much more affordable. Toast and jam, scones from the local bakery, and even unlimited lattes won’t break the bank. Plus, you get to keep on your robe and slippers. And on a warm Wine Country evening what could be better than enjoying your favorite food straight off the grill? Again, the larger your group, the more you save per meal. And if you are travelling with kids, the price of a burger just went way down.

Consider a glass of wine with friends after dinner when you’re staying in a hotel. You may find an intimate little nook, with a price tag to match. But where are you going to lay out the Scrabble board? A vacation home rental provides these simple pleasures — space to make yourselves at home. Just the extra square footage enhances your comfort. Compare that to a couple days in a hotel room, plus there’s room for everyone. You can hang out with friends over a glass of wine outdoors by the fire while the kids play ping pong. The personal atmosphere simply can’t be matched in a hotel. It’s much easier to relax, be yourself, and have it your way.

One obvious reason you can relax is that having your own space affords more privacy indoors and outdoors. You don’t have to worry about how you look lounging by the pool. You can chill out and watch the sunset, enjoying your own space. Plus, when you leave the house for the day, your personal belongings are kept private. No need to use safety vaults for valuables. Things will be just where you left them, and where you want them.

You are in charge of your stuff and your space. You have the convenience of a washer and dryer at your disposal. It’s not a big deal to throw your dishes in the dishwasher—you’re used to the drill. And it won’t cost you anything to get last night’s salad dressing off your shirt—a big savings compared to the price of having clothes laundered by the hotel’s staff. And with luxury vacation rentals in Sonoma, Napa, Healdsburg, and Calistoga you can expect extra amenities, from spa-quality shampoos and lotions to Nespresso coffeemakers. And if you want, you can always add on amenities to your vacation rental stay. Housekeeping, wine-tasting tours, on-site massages, and even your own personal chef make a Wine Country vacation rental the better choice.

If you’re traveling with kids, a vacation home is definitely the way to go. They can spread out a game on the floor of their room, watch Sesame Street in the early hours, leave their wet swimsuits at the foot of the bed—no problem. They have space to be themselves. And if you stay up late, they can snuggle down in the next room undisturbed. Most kids appreciate an easygoing schedule with enough down-time. Vacation homes makes that possible.

One last advantage comes to mind when considering vacation home rental versus hotel rooms: parking. If you’re in a city, valet parking adds up quickly and it takes time to get to your car. Not a big deal if it’s just the two of you, but if you’re with a group of friends, each with a car, the prices get high quickly. Most vacation homes can easily accommodate a few cars in safe, off-street parking.

With these myriad benefits of a vacation home, why ever stay in a hotel? It has its advantages. There’s a certain glamour attached to hotels. If you can afford a five-star landing, it makes you look — and feel — good. And today there are many boutique hotels, too. These trendy, stylish spots can set a fun ambience. If you enjoy being around people and being seen, the public environment of a hotel makes sense.

Fresh towels, signature bath products, having your bed turned down each night — these luxuries are a delight. When you need an extra bed pillow, just pick up the phone and dial maid service. Even better, call room service for breakfast in bed. The convenience of services is at your disposal — of course, at a price. But with a quality vacation rental you also get luxury linens and spa-type pampering at no extra charge.

The biggest plus in favor of hotels is that it lets you be spontaneous. Rentals require planning ahead. If you’re a one-day-at-a-time sort of traveler, you’ll appreciate the flexibility of staying at a hotel. Vacation rentals require you to sign a contract, often with cancellation penalties. Hotels make sense for couples, last-minute planners, and for those who are only staying one night. And, it’s easier to cancel reservations if you change your mind.

With a hotel, at least one with a well-known name, you have better assurance of what you’ll get. Still, it’s easy to verify rentals these days. Use google street view, work with a reputable rental company, and check the vacation home’s online presence and reviews.

The bottom line: hotels offer flexibility and service, at a price. If you plan ahead, have a larger group, and want an easygoing getaway, a vacation home rental is the way to go. Cost-savings, convenience, space, privacy — these are a few of the good reasons so many people today are choosing to enjoy their vacations in a Wine Country vacation home.

Luxury home rentals

Luxury vacation rentals experiences. We want your vacation experience to be more than a getaway. Enjoy from wine tasting tours to a personally tailored guided hike. Contact us for more information!

You want your vacation to be great, and you know the place you stay can make all the difference. But how do you know whether the property is in line with what you have in mind?

Vacation rental, choose the right one

Clarify your priorities
Do you and the others in your group agree that a pool or spa is a must? Is cooking a pleasure you want to enjoy at the rental home? Will you lounge around outdoors? Is a TV in a separate room for the kids on your must-have list? Spend time visualizing your dream vacation home. Imagine what you want to do, how you’ll spend your time at the house and what the ambiance is like.

Study the description
Read the description of the property and its amenities very carefully to be sure all the things that matter to you are included. Does it mention a microwave, dishwasher, cookware? If you imagine a family dinner outside, be sure the listing says there’s an outdoor BBQ. Are there extra linens, pool towels, toilet paper? If the description is detailed and thorough, that’s a pretty good indication that the property owner or manager will be attentive as well.

Scrutinize the photos
Don’t be swayed by first impressions. Zoom in on the details in the photos. Look for clues about cleanliness. Crisp linens, sparkling shower, well-kept landscaping? Also look for the view through the windows in the photos? Do they look onto greenery and rolling hills or the neighbor’s backyard? Create the layout of the property in your mind, following the photos from room to room. If there’s no pic of the second bathroom, you should wonder why. You can always ask the owner/manager for more photos.

Listen to the reviews
Read ALL the reviews, and check for consistent comments. See whether the items on your priority list are mentioned. Take heed of criticisms, too. A disgruntled guest can vent, but watch for the same issue mentioned by multiple reviewers. You can always inquire to clarify whether that particular complaint has been resolved, and that’ll give you a clue about the quality of the vacation experience. Writing a review takes time, and it’s a good sign when guests go out of their way to praise the property, atmosphere, location, its amenities or the owner/manager.

Get a feel for the owner/manager
If it’s green lights so far, then contact the owner or manager. Notice whether they respond promptly to your inquiry. Are they helpful, friendly and happy to answer all of your questions? With a welcoming and professional connection, your chances are good that you’ll have a quality vacation experience.

Luxury home rentals

Luxury vacation rentals experiences. We want your vacation experience to be more than a getaway. Enjoy from wine tasting tours to a personally tailored guided hike. Contact us for more information!