94559 Travel Guide
Hotel Openings / Andaz Hotels / Hotel Rebrandings / Napa Hotels / Avia Hotels / Wine Country Hotels / → All Tags
The outdoor terrace at the new Andaz Napa
A few days after the expected open date, which felt like an eternity but at last,Andaz Napa opened its doors yesterday in Napa’s burgeoning West End, effectively vaporizing the former Avia Napa. While we love Andazsms pretty much anywhere, having one in Napa is dreamy, not only because the brand is as locally focused as the town, but also because bringing Andaz's vibrant, stylish design to downtown Napa makes it a great option for those who find traditional wine country B&Bs a snore.
Last month, we mentioned a few of the changes to expect at this new Napa hotel, including an Andaz Lounge in lieu of a traditional front desk. Essentially replacing the lobby, the Lounge transforms the check-in process to a more social, casual experience where guests are greeted, checked in by iPad and offered a glass of vino while they sit or plot out their wine country adventures on the wall-length map of the Napa Valley.
Hotel Openings / Andaz Hotels / Napa Hotels / Wine-Tasting Hotels / Maui Hotels / The Points Guy / → All Tags
While we wait for the Andaz Amsterdam to open its Wanders-ful doors in October, there's another Andaz Hotel opening closer to home--The Andaz Napa.
Formerly, an AVIA hotel in the city's "West End" neighborhood, the property has been undergoing an Andazformation over the summer and is now expected to reopen on September 7th. Right now on the hotel's website, we were only able to find rooms for September 28 at $299 a night for a classic king, but the hotel will definitely open sooner than that.
Now here's a rundown of what has changed at the hotel:
· Instead of a traditional front desk, the hotel now sports an Andaz Lounge where guests can check-in either via iPad, tabletop computer or on the way to the room. A host will greet them and give them a galss of wine to enjoy as they take in the new, regionally-inspired design elements from California architecture and design firm Bishop Pass, including a wall-length map of Napa Valley.
We don’t usually mix wine-country getaways with fancy cars—after all, we’d never advocate drinking and driving—but a recent experience at the tony Carneros Inn in Napa has us thinking that cars and carafes (with a driver!) might just be our new favorite mash-up. That’s because this luxury resort is one of only four in the country that has partnered with Audi to have a couple of primo vehicles that will shuttle guests around the property.
Can’t afford even the low-season $300 a night rate at Yountville’s new eco-resort, Bardessono Hotel? Fear not. The exclusive resort opens up its guests-only rooftop pool to non-guests on Wednesday evenings from 6:00-9:00pm for its punny Dive Bar, so even Napa townies can enjoy the stunning mountain and vineyard views while enjoying a dip and a drink while DJ's spin tunes near the bar.
The secluded pool is usually open only to resort guests, who come to lie in piece and quiet in one of the screened off day-bed cabanas. Come Wednesday evening, though, anyone can stop by the rooftop cement pond, and they're encouraged to come in their bathing suits to take a dip between bar rounds, with drinks going for just $8 each. The resort even throws in complimentary valet parking. That way, everyone can enjoy the privileges of being a hotel guest without having to spend a night.
Last week, we had the good fortune to spend a glorious fall day amongst the sun-warmed vines and valleys of Napa. Between wine-tasting rendezvous, we managed to invoke the tiniest bit of professionalism and took a tour of MTM Luxury Lodging’s new Bardessono Hotel in Yountville, which aims to be the greenest hotel in America. By the looks of it, they’re well on their way, but judge for yourself based on our video tour of one of their rooms.
Besides conventional eco-resort initiatives like LEED certification, controls that turn off the electrical systems when guests leave a room, and an organic garden that provides produce for the restaurant, the resort has also forged ahead with several distinct environmental practices that set it apart from other hotels.
Travelers to Napa Valley are used to the finest wines and freshest foods around, so in order to keep up with the gourmet competition and cater to its demanding guests, even the Embassy Suites (which in the town of Napa itself) is taking its food and beverage operation upscale.
Starting now, the 205-room all-suite hotel, which is managed by Hilton, has brought in a new food and beverage management team headed up by Napa native Christy Gianelli, who has worked with a who’s who of Napa hospitality including Wine Adventures, the ultra-luxe Silverado Resort, and the Napa Valley Conference and Visitors Bureau.
We apologize in advance for any hurt feelings. Living on the Monterey Peninsula (aptly dubbed the land of the newlywed and nearly dead) seemed like a grand idea, but was ultimately a mind-numbingly boring exercise nwhich we ended up enduring for nearly five years in the name of love. (Visiting is a whole different scenario.) We despise golf, dig live music and culture, appreciate diversity and don’t have a trust fund.
We also like to eat out past 9 p.m., which was a difficult feat until restaurateur/hotelier David Fink opened instant restaurant hit, Cantinetta Luca. That single smart business decision played a major part in making our social life on the Monterey Peninsula more tolerable.
Truffles, no matter what kind, can usually send foodies into a sort of spasm at first whiff. Truffles have also become status symbols as the rarest kinds can fetch up to $200,000 like one white truffle did last month at an auction.
Thus the cost of truffles means there are no room for mistakes when cooking with them. If you are considering purchasing a truffle, then you might want to also consider Truffle Camp at the Westin Verasa in Napa, Calif.
Executive Chef Ken Frank of the hotel's La Toque restaurant is holding his Ken Frank's Truffle Camps from January 11-14 and from January 18-21.
Truffle Camp will include three days of dinners, wine tastings, luncheons, lodging in Napa’s newest upscale resort and hands on experience preparing truffle dishes.
A lobby rendering of the Westin Verasa.
The city of Napa has been pushing hard for a major face lift the last few years and so far so good.
The food and arts institution Copia, was recently coupled with Oxbow market, turning it into a foodie's paradise. Obviously this is having a positive effect if Starwood is opening a condo-hotel just down the street on September 18th called Westin Verasa.
Last week we informed you that Avia Hotels was getting in on the boutique hotel chain game. While the new boutique property Avia Savannah is scheduled to be the first of the chain to open--in December 2008--it's the Avia Napa property we're seeing the most of. Normally we don't like to run renderings instead of photos, but these are the first look at what could turn into a big brand.
The Napa location will be at the Town Center, and plans call for 141 rooms and suites. Some rooms will have soaking tubs and all will have working fireplaces and olive wood floors. We're also eager to see more of the swiveling flat-screen entertainment center.
After the jump, a look inside Avia.
Our summer of attending other people's weddings continues with this story from The Carneros Inn in Napa Valley.
The Carneros is a beautiful resort, situated on 27 acres of "grape vines, unspoiled farmland, and scenic apple orchards." Even better, the resort has 86 quaint little cottages that serve as guest accommodations complete with wood-burning fireplaces, flat-screen TVs, indoor and outdoor showers, private gardens and outdoor patios. Naturally, this type of quaintness comes at a price of about $480 a night.
The resort also has three dining areas all serving Plumpjack Wines which actually own the resort.
As for the wedding, the scenery there is gorgeous but we were a little taken aback that other resort guests were able to frolic in the pool in bikinis and bathing suits while we were attending the cocktail hour.
Then again, if we paid $500 a night for our cottage we better get use of that pool.
We've written about Haunted Hotels before but this week we're looking for some good ghost stories. We know, Halloween is not for another month, but if you plan on taking a trip around the end of October, you should know which hotels might have some unpleasant and unwanted guests. Unless, you're into that sorta thing.
Tons of people head to Napa for some wine tasting and apparently, ghosts like to do so too.
The Napa River Inn is located within the historic Napa Mill, built in 1884 in downtown. Naturally, being so old the hotel was bound to get some ghost stories, like this one:
A recent guest in room 201 at the Napa River Inn in Napa, Calif., called the front desk to complain that strange noises and "white blobs in the mirror" were preventing her from getting to sleep. Seeking some relaxation, she opened a bottle of wine and poured a glass. When she turned to lift the glass, the wine had been drained from it. Passing it off to absentmindedness, she poured a second glass and carried it into the bathroom. She set it aside and stepped into the shower. Upon emerging, the glass had once again been emptied, although the guest insisted she had not taken a sip.
Unlike the Windsor Hotel, there's no spooky backstory about who this wino ghost could be. (Our thoughts? Someone's not quite ready to admit they have a drinking problem.)
And although the hotel is plenty old, sleeping in it shouldn't feel like staying in an attic. The hotel's 66 rooms have been updated with modern decor and modern amenities such as WiFi accesss and in-room breakfast from the nearby Sweetie Pies bakery.