I didn’t have as much time as I would have liked to enjoy Hyatt’s Andaz Napa (still branded as the Hyatt AVIA Napa during my stay), what with dinner and wine tasting the previous day lasting until 10 at night and a rush the next day to Easter Mass and an early tasting at the Schramsberg cellars.
In case you didn’t hear, Hyatt rebranded the AVIA hotels, which it acquired recently as part of another hotel company. The Napa property became part of Hyatt’s Andaz boutique brand. How much of the actual hotel experience will change is something I’m unsure of, but there are a few areas for potential improvement. For those of you considering this hotel in the future, keep in mind that there is free parking in the garage behind the hotel. You’ll need to drive up to the third or fourth floor before you see signs permitting overnight parking. Valet service is $15 per night.
The lobby was especially impressive with its arty decor. There were no roaming check-in staff with tablets like I’ve heard of at Andaz properties. Instead, there was a small desk to the left as you’d see at most hotels, but it was fairly inconspicuous. Across from it to the right was the Riddling Rack wine bar, pretty active at that time of night. The hotel’s restaurant, the Kitchen, was past the lobby in the back and looked pretty empty.
Although the lobby was impressive, and the bell staff were quick to open the doors as we approached the entrance, I wasn’t as enthusiastic with the front desk. We had two rooms booked, both ADA-types with king beds, but I wasn’t too concerned. What do I care if there are a few extra handrails in the bathroom?
Unfortunately the rooms were actually quite different. I gave my parents room 221, which is right next to the back patio and fire pit (but fortunately well sound-proofed from the revelers). It was small and cramped since they had to take space out for the hallway from the elevator to the patio. My room, in contrast, was 410 and was not only far from the elevator but had a view of the (dead) street and enough space that they even put in a sofa and coffee table. I wish he’d told me the difference so I could switch the keys, because I thought I was just getting a higher floor.
Another complaint is that at check-in it was not made particularly clear how to claim the free breakfast from our AAA rate. It wasn’t until the next morning, after I groggily signed it all to my room, that the clerk at check-out explained there was a limit of $40 per room. She seemed surprised when I asked her to split the check after the fact so it would credit half to each room. Simple, right Apparently she thought I was supposed to suck it up and pay the extra $40 over the limit for a single room.
The decor of the rooms was okay. It was fashionably sparse, which may be the cool thing these days but not for me. I don’t particularly care for IKEA, and this had a lot of squares in places that didn’t seem necessary. For example, what’s up with that strange box sticking out from the wall for the wine glasses and water pitcher? I mean, I guess I should be happy they thought to provide wine glasses and a corkscrew in every room, but that looks like such an odd way to display them.
Rather than grab a drink at the Riddling Rack (and since I had chosen points instead of MORE wine and cheese for my Diamond amenity), we grabbed a bottle of pinot from the car and sat on the second floor patio for an hour. It’s a really nice area, with a built-in bar for summer months, swinging deck chairs along the side, and two large fire pits that turn off at 10:30 PM. We met some other guests and traded stories about Texas, the South, and Southern California, places Megan and I used to live before meeting.
The next morning at breakfast we noticed a large group of people near us with a box of pastries from Bouchon. That would have been nice! Although our coffee and juice came quickly, and there were newspapers waiting by the restaurant entrance (and at our door in the morning), service was generally slow. Looking at the hotel website later I learned there was a buffet, but I saw no evidence of it nor did the waiter mention it.
The food was okay–not great, but still better than an IHOP. I guess I felt there was too much focus on locavorism and “earthy” cuisine. That’s not bad by itself, and many restaurants do it well (take the example of Tilth in Seattle). But butternut squash pancakes don’t really scream “April” to me even if they can be cultivated year-round. The strawberry and pear jams looked more like ketchup and mayonaise, and were awfully runny and tasteless. I am a strong believer that the first criterion for making food is that it tastes and looks good. Where it’s sourced from comes second.
Internet was fast, beds were comfortable, black-out blinds worked (not that I got a chance to test that feature 🙁 ). Overall it was a good hotel, and with rates of $150-200 including taxes, I’m not complaining. I will complain if my stay/night credit and Gold Passport points don’t credit by next week, but that’s probably not a common issue, so I won’t hold it against staying here again. It was a very comfortable and convenient place to stay for a quick visit to the Napa Valley.
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