Bardessono Hotel & Spa, Yountville, California
The Bardessono, one of Napa Valley’s newest luxury hotels, is a creation of eco-developer Phil Sherburne, a product of PacificNorthwest environmental awareness and East Coast urban planning experimentation. Sherburne’s vision in designing Bardessono was to create a sustainable, low-impact luxury hotel utilizing “up-cycled” materials in a spectacular setting with abundance of character. One visit to this 62-room hotel nestled on six acres within Napa Valley’s world-famous vineyards will convince you he succeeded!
Napa Valley’s tiny town of Yountville is known for its handful of prestigious restaurants, such as Thomas Keller’s French Laundry and Bouchon as well as wine-tasting destinations including Domaine Chandonwhere sparkling wines are produced. Bardessono, just steps across the street from Bouchon and the scrumptious Bouchon Bakery, opened in February 2009 on the eighty-year-old Bardessono family farmstead. Sherburne was selected by the family heirs to develop a luxury hotel that would befit Yountville’s small-town charm and gracefully harmonize with Napa’s agricultural abundance.
After passing through the vertical garden display of herbs in the lobby, we crossed a couple of quietly running streams by footbridge to find our zen-like room, cool, serene and a little austere. Concrete, porcelain and recycled glass tiles accompanied by green-certified fabrics, soy fiber-based rugs and organic cottons welcomed us with their clean and green ardor. Just past the gas fireplace outside the huge glass windows was the private furnished courtyard that could be instantly hidden by pressing a button that brought down a motor-controlled exterior shuttering system. The oversize bathroom in our spa-suite was designed for personalized spa treatments, including a concealed massage table, soaking tub and separate shower. Guests are invited to lounge indefinitely in the privacy of their own suites or enjoy conventional spa treatments at the Bardessono wellness center or even poolside near the hotel’s rooftop 75-foot lap pool.
Room rates at the Bardessono include valet parking, high-speed internet and no additional person fee. Carbon-fiber bicycles for touring the town of Yountville are available free of charge. Guests have access to the Yountville Fitness Center located just one block from the hotel. The Spa-Suite has 550 square feet of room space and is available with one King or two Queen beds. A Steam-Spa Suite offers the same square footage and bed options, but features an upgraded bathroom featuring an indoor dual shower-steam room and an outdoor shower. Tufa Suites offer the ultimate in comfort and spacious design. These 780-square foot suites feature a sitting room and bedroom divided by a see-through gas fireplace. All rooms feature Coyuchi Organic Bed Linens and robes, In Fiore bath produces, 40” Sony LCD HD television, mini refrigerator with complimentary bottled water, and champagne bath tubs (for bubbly baths). The chief dilemma here is that there are so many reasons to stay in your room and so many inviting opportunities to experience outside the room that the very act of decision-making will be the most difficult thing you’ll have to do during your stay.
Much of what makes Bardessono architecturally and environmentally unique is actually hidden from view. An underground geothermal system consisting of eighty-two 300-foot wells is responsible for heating and cooling the hotel’s guestrooms, the spa, and for heating domestic water. Hidden on the hotel’s rooftops are 940 photovoltaic solar panels that produce direct current which passes through 35 inverters to produce alternating current for the hotel—the largest solar power system for any hotel in North America. Motion sensors extinguish lights when rooms are unoccupied, drop shades and reduce energy use. On our first evening, we noticed when we returned from dinner in the hotel restaurant, all controls returned to the level at which we left them, except for the fact that shades had been lowered for our privacy. Concern for minimizing waste and environmental impact by re-using materials still retaining usefulness is evident in Bardessono’s building construction. Salvaged woods from Monterey Cypress, walnut trees, redwood wine barrels and California Bay trees have been tastefully incorporated in the buildings’ siding, flooring, doors, furniture, ceilings and guestroom desks. A giant “Earth Tub” transforms vegetative wastes from the hotel kitchen and cuttings into organic compost used for enriching soil in landscaped areas. Bardessono is rightfully proud of having been awarded the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design’s (LEED) Platinum certification, the highest standard for environmental design.
In the afternoon, we walked up a flight of steps to enjoy the serenity of the rooftop lap pool where several other guests were lounging. To the east we enjoyed stunning views of trees, vineyards and the majestic Stags Leap Palisades, as well as the ring of hills and vistas in every other direction. After spending a few minutes in the Jacuzzi, we cooled off with a beverage at the bar, and sauntered over to one of the empty cabanas that had been inviting us to recline and fill our souls with the surrounding beauty. Thus pampered and relaxed, our appetites began to grow in anticipation of a hearty meal that awaited us in the restaurant below.