Lobby of Wydown Hotel — Photo courtesy of Frankeny Images
If you're serious about your California wine, then you know that not every Napa winery is equal. With something as sensitive and complicated as wine, the wineries that keep a consistent eye on the smallest details are the ones that stand out from the rest. The same can be said for your Napa wine country accommodations; with so many high-end boutiques in the area vying desperately for your business, the smart hoteliers understand the slightest slip will be the difference between whether you stay or go.
Although there are many established boutique hotels in the Napa Valley area, Mark Hoffmeister's Wydown Hotel in downtown St. Helena is already proving to be a cut above the rest. Opening his own hotel has been a lifelong ambition for Hoffmeister, like a vintner who has put years and years of thought and planning into his wines. His dream became reality in 2011 with the opening of this California hotel, located about an hour and a half north of San Francisco.
Wydown Hotel in downtown St. Helena — Photo courtesy of Frankeny Images
In 2010, after years of looking for the right place, Hoffmeister's opportunity came when the run-down Eagle and Rose Inn with creaky Murphy beds and dank shag carpeting went on the market. Like a wine expert who can see the rich soil through the weeds, Hoffmeister rolled up his sleeves and got to work.
His first key step was realizing that, to do the job right, he'd need help. Enter renowned Napa Valley architect Michael Guthrie, who made key architectural changes to the property, such as the conversion of ground-floor retail space into an expansive lobby. Many aspects of the building are now much more environmentally friendly, too.
For example, the removal of kitchenettes has resulted in significantly reduced water usage, greatly benefiting the conservation needs of St. Helena. With the Bay Area currently in a severe winter drought, this type of water conservation tactic is extremely important.
Premium room of Wydown Hotel — Photo courtesy of Frankeny Images
Hoffmeister also worked with fourth-generation interior designer David Masin to develop a distinct style for the Wydown: crisp and current yet still in harmony with the natural landscape of Napa Valley.
The hotel lobby showcases vanguard pieces like the four-sided "Confidante Sofa" by Christopher Guy. Each of the 12 guest rooms are furnished in the same distinct style, with interesting pieces like the mirrored "Evan Armoire" by Hickory Chair Furniture and the "Savannah Sleeper" from American Leather.
If your expectations for your Napa accommodations are as high as your expectations for Napa wine, then book a room with the Wydown Hotel of St. Helena. The deliberate care and informed design of this one-of-a-kind hotel will not disappoint.
Mark Hoffmeister, your host — Photo courtesy of Frankeny Images