Budget

Best Winter Travel Deals

by Brook Wilkinson

CALIFORNIA WINE COUNTRY

Rule of thumb: Consider traveling midweek, when hotels that cater mostly to weekenders lower their rates to fill rooms.

Why here?: Come Saturday, Napa and Sonoma buzz with tipplers from San Francisco, even in the winter off-season. But during the week, you can have the valleys to yourself, and at a very nice price.

Best bang for your buck: The Sonoma Creek Inn's Carpe Diem package includes a bottle of wine, two wine-tasting passes, and a room upgrade for just $75 for one night or $145 for two, Sunday through Thursday. Request a room with a private patio. Over the hills in Napa, the Art Deco El Bonita Motel in St. Helena has rooms for $99 midweek—a steal in a valley where even the deli sandwiches are overpriced. You'll find some of the friendliest pourers in the state at the tasting salon at Ceja Vineyards, which is run by a Mexican-American family whose parents immigrated to work in the fields. And why not take advantage of a business hotel's reduced weekend rates in San Francisco after your weekday wine tasting? The Omni San Francisco Hotel, a road-warrior mainstay in the Financial District, costs $299 during the week but just $189 on weekends. Plus, staying over a Saturday night will help bring the price down on those airline tickets.

Sonoma Creek Inn
Tel: 888 712 1289

El Bonita Motel
Tel: 800 541 3284

Ceja Vineyards' Wine Tasting Salon
Tel: 707 226 6445

Omni San Francisco Hotel
Tel: 888 444 6664

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Information may have changed since date of publication. Please confirm details with individual establishments before planning your trip.

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