At the southern end of the Silverado Trail in Napa Valley, the Riverpointe Resort flies under the radar of most visitors. That’s because it’s not a typical Napa Valley hotel; it’s a member of the California Vacation Club Resorts Group, which operates three other properties around the state. While the resort welcomes non-member guests, it’s clear that most are members who stay for a week or more. The resort also doesn’t look like a typical Napa Valley hotel, as its accommodation consists of individual “cabins” that look more like pre-fab mobile homes. However, despite the dowdy image that statement conjures, I was pleasantly surprised by the reality when I pulled into the drive.
RiverPointe is located just northeast – a mile’s walk or a very short drive – from the edge of downtown Napa, which is a pretty prime location for visiting wineries in the southern end of the Valley. It’s in a slightly more residential area (no vineyard vistas here) but the property itself feels secluded and there is a lovely little jogging path that runs just behind the resort for about a mile along the Napa River. On a morning walk, I passed only a few people, mostly locals out for a run, and saw several people fishing as the early morning mist rose from the river.
The resort itself consists of 113 brightly-colored trailer-type cabins scattered around a large cul de sac, giving it the feel of a quiet neighborhood in the suburbs. I half expected to see some kids ride by on bikes or walking their dogs, but the few fellow guests I saw seemed to all be middle-aged couples traveling without children. In fact, on a sunny and warm Saturday afternoon, the pool area was entirely empty.
As a time-share resort community, Riverpointe does cater to longer-term visitors, with many events that happen once a week and a daily resort fee designed to cover them, like free self-service laundry facilities, weekly wine tasting, and free dvd rental. However, it lacks some of the conveniences you might expect, like free wifi (it’s available in common areas, but not in the rooms) or an onsite restaurant or breakfast. The front desk staff was also quite particular about the 4pm guaranteed check-in time; when we arrived at 2pm, staff simply reiterated the policy several times before, begrudgingly, checking to see if a room was available for us earlier. There was, and we were eventually able to check in, but I was surprised by the resistance to accommodate us.
Our room was a one-bedroom cabin, connected to another by a shared deck. The resort also offers studios and two bedrooms (two neighboring one-bedroom cabins). Our one-bedroom cabin had a small dining table with two chairs sharing a space with a “living room” with a pull-out couch, armchair and TV and an open mini-kitchen with a fridge, microwave, coffee pot, toaster, dishwasher, utensils and pots and pans, and a four-burner stovetop.
There was one bathroom with shower/bathtub, and a small, but not cramped, bedroom with queen bed. The resort was built in 1998 and renovated in 2010, so everything still feels quite shiny and new; if the cabins do resemble mobile homes, they’re at least ones that have only recently been driven off the lot.
For a group of three – my husband and I on the pull-out couch and our friend, who we gave the queen bed because it was her birthday – the one-bedroom was just enough room for a weekend stay. However, had we stayed a few days, I think we would have felt the space a bit tight.
In addition to the cabins, the grounds contain a large outdoor swimming pool and Jacuzzi, a small gym, sauna, laundry facilities, game room with table tennis and billiards, badminton court, and barbecue grills. There is a convenience store just across the road, as well as several casual restaurants, which come in handy for those who don’t want to go too far after a long day of wine tasting.
If you’re looking for the typical Napa getaway, full of style and romance, the RiverPointe resort will not fulfill your vineyard fantasies. What RiverPointe does deliver is a solid choice for a longer-term stay for guests who want to be close to the action of downtown Napa without giving up some of the conveniences of home.
If you go:
Check in time is 4pm; check out is 11am. Room rates start at $210-$240 for one-bedroom cabins.