A decade or two ago, Napa Valley was the place to go for a little slice of Renaissance Tuscany. It made sense at the time, with the California wine industry really hitting its stride, for the architecture to aspire toward a classic European sort of gravity. These days, however, Napa is ground zero for a new green building movement, and its hotels are leading the way — no doubt something greener will come along, but at the time of its opening, Bardessono was pretty much as sustainable as it gets.
The construction, which looks like sandstone or blond concrete, is actually rammed earth — for several slightly boring reasons it’s greener than all the alternatives, and anyway it lends a distinctive look. You’ll see a lot of wood as well — when sourced properly it’s the other green building material, and most of it is reclaimed or recycled. And it’s not just the building that’s green, but the operation — great unglamorous pains are taken to reduce paper or water waste, to automatically shade the rooms from the midday sun, that sort of thing.
At the same time, Bardessono is pretty close to the state of the art in luxury, and all the concern about sustainability doesn’t change that. The suites are essentially high-end luxury apartments, complete with gas fireplaces and lavish living spaces, and the bathrooms are designed to function as private spas — literally, as in, that’s where the therapist takes you when it’s time for your in-room treatment.
Add a massive wine collection (some from the on-site organic vineyard) and an upscale contemporary Californian restaurant (serving produce from the hotel’s own farm) and you’ve got a pretty complete package, quintessentially Napa. With several restaurants by Thomas Keller, among others, Yountville isn’t just a wine country destination, but arguably one of the capitals of the US culinary world as well.
6526 Yount Street, Napa/Sonoma Valleys
(707) 204 6000