Posted on | August 20, 2012 | No Comments
Westin Verasa Initial Impressions
On arrival at the Westin Verasa in Napa, Murph and I both remarked on the similarity of the hotels’ exterior to properties we’ve stayed at in various ski resorts – not what we’d expected on arrival in California wine country. The earth-toned colors used in wall coverings and carpeting extend a great outdoors feel through the hotel hallways. Most of the rooms in this 180-room property are suites which made it feel even more like a ski lodge – but that might be just me since most of the all-suite hotels I’ve stayed at have been ski lodges. I walked into the hotel expecting a quiet, serene National Park-like feel which was unfortunately dispelled immediately by the lively chatter and music coming from Friday evening revelers at the Bank restaurant and bar. I didn’t have a chance to lament…
“They play good music here”
Apparently we were traveling with a music critic (BigB). Who knew?
Westin Verasa Rooms
Our two-bedroom suite in the Westin Verasa might be the largest hotel room we’ve ever had. I’m serious. The living room and kitchen area seemed larger than our first apartment – with plenty of room for at family of four to hang out in comfortably. The room also had fabulous high ceilings which added to the overall airy, spacious feeling. Just to be clear here, I think one of the biggest challenges for traveling families with hotels is having enough space. The large suites at the Westin Verasa are a huge bonus and one reason why we’d certainly consider returning here.
The xbox 360 in the living room got a big thumbs up from BigB. I was impressed at this as an in-room entertainment system option, one which is particularly welcome for families like mine, traveling with tween and teen boys. Murph was thrilled to see that the Westin has selected the product he’s been working on since 2002.
The bedrooms themselves are moderately-sized and the decor is simple – possibly even a little too sparse – but it does lead one to focus on Westin’s Heavenly beds which isn’t a bad thing at all. BigB practically fell into his bed.
Our two-bedroom suite had two bathrooms, one master, both spacious with piles of fluffy white towels, complimentary Heavenly Bath toiletries and inviting double-headed showers.
Westin Verasa Location
The following morning we walked the short three blocks to the Oxbow farmers market passing the station from which the Napa Valley Wine Train departs and the enticing smells of fresh-baked goodies coming from Model bakery. We stocked up on treats and headed off for a fun day cycling and visiting vineyards.
I’m sure there are people who are passionate about the optimal place to stay when visiting Napa Valley. Personally I’ve been here on day trips (from San Francisco), stayed in St Helena which is at the northern end of the valley and now here, in Napa, at the southern end. As a weekend visitor, coming from a Bay Area airport and arriving late into the area, the location of the Westin Verasa at the southern end of the valley certainly wins in terms of convenient access. It’s also not so far away that you feel like the drive to wine-tasting rooms in the valley proper is a haul.
Westin Verasa Special Features
As we relaxed by the pool later in the afternoon, the boys happily playing in the water, Murph and I agreed that the resort feel of the pool area and central courtyard was hard to beat. The Napa River winds through the area behind the hotel giving a pleasant, rural feel to the location. It’s the perfect combination of town and country.
Our room opened on to this courtyard. I could imagine relaxing here in the early morning or late afternoon if we return to the Westin Verasa for a longer stay. There’s also a bocce court at one end of this space. That and the ample gym are just a couple of the fitness amenities provided at this hotel.
Westin Verasa Restaurants and Staff
While staying at the Westin Verasa we ate at the Bank restaurant and at the Michelin-starred La Toque restaurant. The food was delicious, imaginative and beautifully prepared using – as you would expect since we were in Napa – fresh, local ingredients. That said the I’ve already almost forgotten the details of the meals but what will stay with me for a long time is the friendliness, professionalism and just plain good fun we had chatting with our waiter at the Bank and the Wine Director at La Toque – particularly the Wine Director, Scott Tracy. We opted for the paired menu and as he served every pour, we were educated about every wine – with embellishments on the story of the people or the vineyard involved. He answered our questions about Napa, the menu, the wines and making wine in Napa with patience and gusto. It made for a fantastic dining (and drinking) experience.
Do you have a favorite property in Napa Valley? Leave a comment and let me know what it is – I’ll be happy to check it out on my next visit to the area (hopefully soon…)
My stay at the Westin Verasa was provided by Starwood Hotels as part of the Starwood Hotels LoveYourFamily package, which includes a complimentary suite upgrade, or adjoining room, daily $50 resort credit and an optional SPG Kids Pass program, where at this hotel, you can get all of your kids’ meals for only $16 per child per day with www.spg.com/kidspass Book online, or call 866-716-8147, and reference promotion code FAM50 to make your reservation.
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