As with most resorts
, the first thing you'll notice at Bardessono
in Yountville, Calif., is the lobby. But this one's a bit different from the usual. Swaths of plants grow on strings running from the floor to the ceiling, nourished by nothing but the air. A sepia sculpture
made from recycled newspaper hangs on a parallel wall. Those might be unusual touches at a normal hotel, but in the Napa Valley's premier eco
-lodge, it's par for the course.
Founded in February of 2009, Bardessono
, which was a Luxist Awards' nominee for best green spa
in March, boasts the largest renewable power system of any hotel in North America. Over 900 photovoltaic panels convert the sun's energy into 260,000 kilowatt hours annually; unused output is sold back to the grid. The resort is heated and cooled by a network of 82 geothermal wells that stretch 300 feet below the grape vines out front. Motion sensors control lights and shades in each of the 62 rooms, ensuring that nearly nothing goes to waste. Along those lines, you won't find plastic bags in the hotel's wastepaper baskets, and filtered water is served in reusable glass jugs instead of bottles. Even the bathroom toiletries come in big, refillable bottles instead of the disposable (and easily pilfered) airline-safe containers.
dining room keeps with the resort's "deep green" mission statement. The delicious, heavily organic menu draws from local farms and fisheries; most of the wines hail from nearby vineyards as well. Like the guest rooms, which are free of the rugs, bedspreads and curtains deemed unnecessary by the green
police, the dining room is somewhat spare. The only flourishes are a wispy, LED-lit chandelier and a magnificent long wood table made from a reclaimed tree trunk. A few paintings
– or eco-friendly
art installments – would be a welcome addition.
The resort's strongest point is its integrated spa services
. Though there's a dedicated spa near the communal pool and hot tub, each guest room is designed to accommodate two massage
tables and two masseurs. Call ahead to book a couple's massage and watch as your room is transformed into a miniature spa, complete with tea lights and soothing music
piped in from Sirius Satellite Radio's unlikely spa channel. Bardessono's
massage therapists will customize your treatment no matter how specific (they proved adept at soothing this writer's keyboard-addled wrists). When they're done, they'll leave you to luxuriate on the massage table as long as you like.
guests don't have to worry about staying sober enough to drive – the resort is less than ten minutes by foot from fine restaurants
including the French Laundry
, the only establishment in the area to earn Michelin's
coveted three star rating. Don't forget to check out one of the nearby tasting rooms, especially the new and funky Ma(i)sonry
. Bardessono also offers a bike shop where guests can rent cycles for free.
As a Napa Valley connoisseur might say, Bardessono
is a little young. Barely a year old, there are still trees that need to grow taller and walls that perhaps need more adornment. But the amenities and design elements are there – like a fine wine, Bardessono
will only get better with age. In the meantime, guests can enjoy a fine spa and resort on a clean environmental conscience.