Ok, let’s say you want to be in Napa TONIGHT. Call Blackbird Inn, and say “carpe diem” (“seize the day,” in Latin), and if they have a room, the room is yours at a deeply discounted rate. It’s a brilliant idea; the Inn gets to fill up rooms left vacant by unexpected cancellations, and you get to kick up your heels on an unexpected vacation. The only major drawback is that you probably can’t bring your dog. The Blackbird Inn IS pet-friendly, but there is only one pet-friendly room available, so it’s a good idea to book that trip in advance.
The Blackbird’s pet policy is unusual for the town of Napa, by the way. Several other hotels do accept dogs, but the others offer to pamper dogs, an approach with some guests will obviously like and prefer, but which will leave some people muttering “sure, I love my Fido, but he IS a dog.” The Blackbird treats dogs like dogs, welcoming dogs up to 40 pounds in weight, as long as they are supervised, do not cause a problem for other guests, and have an up-to-date vaccination record. Service dogs, of course, are welcome under any conditions.
One reason why only one room is dog-friendly may be that there are only eight rooms. They vary in price, but all have either a kind or a queen-sized bed, and most have fire places and patios or separate entrances. Some have bath-tubs with jets. All come with breakfast, and in the afternoon there is wine and hors d’oeuvres. If you stay for five days or more, they’ll give you a present when you leave, your choice of wine, sparkling wine, or chocolate. Stay often enough, and you’ll earn a free night, rather like frequent-flyer miles—except you don’t have to deal with airport hassle.
In addition to breakfast and the evening wine, you get turndown service featuring chocolates at night and a newspaper in the morning in the lobby. Wireless Internet and free local calls fit nicely in the middle, along with coffee, tea, and sensible old water. The website mentions fresh-baked cookies, but does not say when or how you get them; we hope they are available all the time. If you’re feeling festive, they’ll fill your room with balloons on request. If you’re in a quiet mood, you can borrow a book or a movie from the front desk. If you forgot your toothbrush (let’s say, perhaps, that you called “carpe diem” and ran out your door for Napa, too excited to remember toiletries) they’ll give you one. It’s a down-to-earth kind of luxury, a place that gives you great service and comfortable beds while remembering that dogs are dogs and sometimes people like to drink water rather than just amazing wine all the time.
Not that you can’t get the amazing wine. You can buy wine or sparkling wine for your room, along with glasses or flutes, plus, of course, are all the wineries and tasting rooms of the region. The Blackbird provides detailed information on local opportunities for excellent food, drink, live music, even the town’s theaters and opera house and history exhibits. You can book any of several wine tours through the Inn, including a tour by bicycle. The Napa Valley is great for cycling; the scenery is beautiful, and many of the roads are quiet.
Customer reviews disagree on the breakfast—some people really like it, others really won’t eat it—but they agree on praising the friendly, helpful staff. The Blackbird Inn is situated in a craftsman-style house, and decorated to match, which some people like and others do not; we’re guessing that most like it.
So, all we can say is carpe merula (“seize the blackbird”)!