My first piece of advice is to avoid coming to Napa on a summer weekend if you have a choice. Hotels are $100 a night less on weeknights and the ability to navigate roads free of bumper to bumper traffic will allow you to travel much more quickly on the valley roads.
I jumped at the opportunity to book the Westin Verasa Napa last weekend using one of my free nights from Starwood Hotels “Stay Two Times, Earn One Free Night” promotion between May and July.
Driving over from UC Davis to drink wine all day for free at Napa County wineries was a regular field trip exercise as a fermentation science college student in the mid-1980s.
Those days are history – mine and Napa Valley’s. Free wine tasting is as rare as a $100,000 home in California these days.
While I haven’t located a $100,000 home lately, I did find my way to a free wine tasting at the Wine Train waiting room across the street from the Westin Verasa at 10:30am. To my dismay, I couldn’t even identify a Monterey Riesling from a Napa Chardonnay on a blind taste test, or a Napa Syrah from a Zinfandel. 22 years is long time removed from my A+ grade in the UC Davis course – Introduction to Enology. I do still know what I like and I did not like the wine samples I tasted.
I’ll stick with the Birra Peroni, if you please. That’s drink value.
Westin Verasa Napa Hotel
The hotel uses valet parking only for the garage under the hotel. There were about 10 street side spaces, unmetered and no hour limit. I parked on the street in front. I appreciated my decision when I went to my car around 5 pm just as a conference group had arrived in the lobby. A half-dozen people wanted their cars simultaneously.
I had to avoid getting run over by the valet parking kid running down the narrow sidewalk at me when I returned to the lobby pulling my luggage.
The front desk receptionist offered platinum member amenity choices at check-in. Choices were $10 mini-bar credit, free movie, or points.
The hotel has three floors. The lobby has an open seating area, cafe and bar area with stools and tables, and a large open space around the hotel doorway entrance. The room was quite bright on a sunny day and from the lobby I could see the central pool courtyard.
The bar off to the right was active, not busy.
Elevator hallway has furnishings and seating. The elevator speaks with a British accent female voice. Being on the second floor I tended to take the stairs when going to the pool side of the hotel, but I missed my elevator Bond girl.
Room 2013 is near the main elevator and sits over the lobby/fitness center area on the main floor.
I opened the door to a luxury one bedroom apartment with a full size kitchen.
This room even has a full oven and all mod cons with a full size refrigerator, dishwasher, two sinks, pots, pans, cutlery, two built-in drawer cutting boards, and microwave. Four sets of utensils and dishes were provided in the cabinets.
The sitting room had two chairs and a bed couch, large ottoman, and a tray.
The entertainment center had an X-Box system, small clock radio pod, and 32 inch HDTV with some real HD channel choices. One complaint is the TV is wall mounted and there is no swivel feature to view the TV if you are at the dining table or kitchen.
Room 2013 has a full balcony looking over the pool courtyard.
The view of the trees and hills is great.
The bedroom has a Westin Heavenly bed, chair, bed bench, and another 32-inch TV.
The bathroom featured a glass shower stall and separate bathtub with stone walls.
I wandered the hallways and there is a laundry room just down the hall from 2013 with one washer and one dryer for guest use. The hall corridors are long with a hotel design of three wings extending towards the river. Art work is located in some locations.
A wonderful feature of the hotel design absent in too many upper upscale hotels is the ability to travel through the hotel hallways to reach the pool, pool changing rooms, fitness room, and bocce court without walking through the lobby.
The pool area features cabanas with lounge chairs (no charge) and a large rectangular spa pool adjacent to the main pool.
Just beyond the pool is the River Walkway. Third floor rooms at the end of the wings have best river views.
The central pool courtyard had table seating and a central fountain with firelight at night.
La Toque restaurant at the hotel has a prix-fixe menu of two, three, or four courses. Wine accompaniment is also prix-fixe menu. I searched my hotel room and I did not locate any information about the restaurant in the room.
A good estimate is $100 to $150 per person for fine dining.
I wandered down one stairway looking for the north end of the hotel courtyard and found myself in the staff employee area of the hotel. Eventually I wandered out into the meeting area courtyard on the north end.
The River Terrace Inn is adjacent to the Westin Verasa Napa. The smaller pool there was quiet and empty at a time when 25 or so guests were around the Westin pools. That is a plus and a minus for the River Terrace Inn I guess.
The pool area guests at the Westin cleared out when the sun went behind the building. Pool hours until 11pm allowed me to take a night swim. The pool area was empty of people all morning Monday until I left around 11am.