Planning to turn your wine-tasting jaunt into a little vacation? There's good reason to do so: If you stay for a few days, you can trade off being the designated driver so everyone can get some sipping time. Here are three hotels in the South Bay-Santa Cruz Mountains region to consider:
This high-end hotel is the only one at San Jose's Santana Row, the center that offers a European street-style shopping and dining experience in the middle of suburbia. The hotel has 212 hotel rooms and suites.
Amenities: Free continental breakfast in the hotel's Citrus restaurant; free Wi-Fi; fitness center; outdoor swimming pool open year-round; spa next door.
Rates/parking: Hotel Valencia caters to a business clientele during the week, which means the best room rates for tourists will be found Friday and Saturday nights and on holiday weeks. Prices start at $199. Website specials may bring that price down further. Overnight valet parking in a secured lot is $24; self-parking in the shopping center lot is free.
Bonus for wine lovers: You are just steps away from more than a dozen restaurants and wine bars with extensive wine lists.
Details: 355 Santana Row, San Jose. 408-551-0010; 866-842-0100; www.hotelvalencia-santanarow.com.
Toll House Hotel
This 115-room boutique hotel in historic downtown Los Gatos
Amenities: Free Wi-Fi; on-site restaurant (Three Degrees); fitness center; business center; Spa Los Gatos located next door.
Rates/parking: Room rates start at $195; check the website for advance booking deals and other promotions. Parking is free in the hotel's underground garage.
Bonus for wine lovers: The Toll House is conveniently situated for those who want to explore the Los Gatos-Saratoga Wine Trail, which includes one at a historic spot nearby: Testarossa in the old Novitiate Winery at 300-A College Ave.
Details: 140 S. Santa Cruz Ave., Los Gatos. 408-395-7070; 800-238-6111; http://tollhousehotel.com.
Santa Cruz's only beachfront hotel is a family-friendly property with a casual vibe. Boutique hotel operator Joie de Vivre bought it and renovated it to the tune of $20 million in 2008. It has 165 rooms and suites.
Amenities: View of Monterey Bay and the ocean beyond from every room in the 10-story hotel; pool and children's pool; free Wi-Fi; business center; on-site restaurant (Aquarius) featuring sustainable seafood.
Rates/parking: Room rates start at $169 in the offseason; go to http://jdvhotels.com for specials. Overnight parking costs $22 in the hotel's lot.
Bonus for wine lovers: This is a good base for exploring the 70-plus wineries of the Santa Cruz Mountains Winegrowers Association. Plus, what's better than drinking wine on a hotel balcony with a Pacific Ocean view?
Details: 175 W. Cliff Drive, Santa Cruz. 831-426-4330; www.dreaminnsantacruz.com.