13 October 2016

Travel Review - Napa Valley


Travel Review - Napa Valley / www.delightfulrepast.com
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Once is never enough with a place like Napa Valley! It had been three years since our last visit, so we were overdue. Napa Valley is easy to get to from three major airports. San Francisco, Oakland and Sacramento international airports are all about an hour's drive from Napa.

If you prefer not to rent a car, there are other ways to get to Napa from the airports; such as, Napa Valley Tours and Transportation or Evans Transportation. I have no experience with either, so this is just information rather than a recommendation.

The term "luxury travel" makes me a little uncomfortable, and I don't like to come across as some kind of snob, but I have to admit I'm one of those people who would really rather stay home than stay in accommodations that are less than fabulous. I never really relax and enjoy a vacation unless I'm staying in a really nice hotel with really good food nearby! 

I've always admired the kind of people who can fly for hours scrunched up in coach on bargain flights, throw a sleeping bag on a friend's floor or be perfectly content in less than stellar surroundings and just have an adventure! But I'm not one of them, and I've come to accept it!


SENZA Hotel


So when I had the opportunity to stay at SENZA Hotel in Napa, I was happy indeed. A boutique hotel with 41 guest rooms divided among five buildings set on two acres of gorgeous gardens, SENZA has the understated luxury and relaxed vibe that I prefer.


Travel Review - Napa Valley - Senza Hotel / www.delightfulrepast.com


I fear my enthusiasm for this place is going to sound "advertorial!" But if you've been reading Delightful Repast for any length of time, you know that even when I've received something (whether an appliance, product or a hosted stay) I tell you what I really think. 

The design of the guest rooms is far more contemporary and modern than my own style, and yet I loved it and felt very much "at home" with it. Our Vineyard View Suite met my basic requirements for a hotel room -- spacious, clean, quiet, well appointed, pleasant view -- and then kicked it up several notches!


Travel Review - Napa Valley - Senza Hotel / www.delightfulrepast.com


One might expect a guest room with these clean lines, hard surfaces and cool neutrals to feel "cold" or stark; instead, it feels energizing and relaxing, warm and inviting. With lots of natural light and lovely views beyond the comfortable balcony, it had a real "indoor/outdoor" feel. 


The lovely views beyond our balcony included the Merlot grapes
being harvested and the sky filled with hot air balloons at sunrise

(Though I've only ever been a hot air balloon spectator, if I decide to be a passenger, I'll check out Napa Valley Aloft.

But back to the hotel!

The bathroom? Fabulous! Though I can live without the dual sinks (hey, we haven't kept the romance alive all these years by brushing and flossing together!), I always appreciate ample counter space. 


Travel Review - Napa Valley - Senza Hotel / www.delightfulrepast.com


The enormous shower with two shower heads, deep soaking tub and my personal favorite, heated floors, take the bathroom right over the top! Mr Delightful was dazzled by the huge mirror with its built-in surrounding light.


Travel Review - Napa Valley - Senza Hotel / www.delightfulrepast.com


Other things that made our stay perfect: a wonderful wine and cheese hour in the evening, lavish continental breakfast buffet in the morning, pool with cabanas for shade-loving palefaces like me and a really powerful hot tub.


Travel Review - Napa Valley - Senza Hotel / www.delightfulrepast.com

I never see a hotel's parking situation mentioned in reviews, so maybe I'm the only person who cares about it; but it's something I always call ahead about and have definite opinions about. SENZA has a perfect parking situation. Spaces scattered about so that guests can park near their room, but unobtrusive, hardly noticeable amidst the lush landscaping.


Travel Review - Napa Valley - Senza Hotel / www.delightfulrepast.com

SENZA Hotel | 4066 Howard Lane | Napa CA | 707-253-0337


HALL Winery


We were invited to HALL Winery (St Helena) for a special HALLmark Tour & Tasting with wine educator Chris Burton, who amazed us with his knowledge and enthusiasm. Chris gave us a tour of the art and architecture that are as much a part of the winery as the vines and wines! One of our favorite pieces was the life-sized "Camel (Albino) Contemplating Needle."


Travel Review - Napa Valley - Hall Winery / www.delightfulrepast.com

The fully restored original 1885 Bergfeld winery stone building is the centerpiece of the new winery complex that incorporates modern architecture, art and equipment.


Travel Review - Napa Valley - Hall Winery / www.delightfulrepast.com


The owners have a commitment to sustainability -- organic certification, green buildings, solar power, recycled water, bio-diesel in their farming equipment -- as well as to making award-winning wines.


Travel Review - Napa Valley - Hall Winery / www.delightfulrepast.com
Ultimate Cabernet Experience
in the founder's cellar
of the historic Bergfeld building

The HALLmark Tour concluded with a seated tasting in one of the salons where we enjoyed a selection of five award-winning wines. It was only when I had transferred my photos from camera to computer that I realized I didn't take a single photo of the tasting! I was so focused on the excellent wines that I forgot I was a blogger! 

HALL Winery | 401 St Helena Hwy S | St Helena CA | 707-967-2626

Disclosure: Though our hotel stay and winery visit were hosted, all opinions are, as always, well and truly my own. 

60 comments:

Linda Kay said...

Napa is a wonderful place to visit, and we have been there many times. Now we have our own "Wine Country" here in the Hill Country in Texas. A membership in one of them entitles you to a glass a wine at each visit, or a wine tasting, and there are many dinners and special events to attend.

Tony Grant said...

A very good review of your trip to Nappa Valley, Jean.I am sure I have drunk wine from the Nappa Valley. The exterior of your hotel belies the interior. It looks more rustic on the outside than the inner opulence reveals.We have visited vineyards in the Loire Valley in the past. A vineyard is always an amazing experience. "Bottoms up," as the saying goes.
One or two of the hotels we stayed in in the Lake District last year were of the standard you are used to Jean but most of the places we stayed in were guest houses, all to a high standard of hospitality and food I must add.We met some lovely people.The majority of places we stayed at were not high class hotels though.

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Linda, good to know. I've always wanted to visit your part of Texas, but I didn't know it also had a "wine country!" That does it -- Hill Country goes to the top of my Must-Do List!

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Tony, thank you. When we were in the Lake District years ago, my cousin told us of two possibilities, Sharrow Bay and Ullswater Hotel. We stayed at the closest one, Ullswater, and enjoyed it very much.

Thomas "Sully" Sullivan said...

Love your travel reviews, Jeani. And of course the shocking revelation that Mr. Delightful is a narcissist when it comes to mirrors has me cackling. Since I rarely ever drink any alcohol, I need a different excuse to hit the road (fleeing civil society works). But again, your almost ritual descriptions of formal settings are somehow in my wheelhouse. That said, I’m coming out. I am a BI-TRAVELER…can do the blanket on the ground thing but I definitely like the luxury as well. What I don’t like are accommodations that pretend to be formal but fail on cleanliness etc. No tolerance for that, and I will bring it to management’s attention and ask for another room or quit the premises altogether.

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Thank you, Sully. Yes, I'd rather sleep on the clean dirt of the ground than in a less than pristine luxury room. You would be very happy at this hotel! And there is plenty to do in Napa Valley even for those who don't drink wine -- hiking, bicycling, hot air ballooning, rowing, kayaking, etc.

Jeanie said...

Wow -- this sounds like such a wonderful getaway! I loved that bathroom, too -- and the wine and cheese hour is just my cup of tea. Or maybe I should say glass of cab. So as you might expect, I would be so very "up" for that winery tour! I can tell it made such a wonderful impression and that's a fine recommendation for me!

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Thank you so much, Jeanie. I think what makes the difference in this hotel is that the wife in the couple who owns it has put her hand to every detail, and I am someone who appreciates the details. I know you would love it!

Christine said...

Absolutely beautiful!
I never thought about the parking before... it's the little touches that add up to a great and memorable stay, worth blogging about.

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Christine, you're not alone, I'm sure most people don't think about the parking. But I think about every little detail; it's just how my mind works! It really was memorable.

Margie said...

What a fabulous way to get some R & R! I'm all about cleanliness and good plumbing when I travel. I've stayed at European hotels that were really pretty, but the (ancient) plumbing was awful! I totally want to have that cabana!

I'm glad that you enjoyed the gratitude video. Thanks for stopping by.

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Thanks, Margie. I really needed it -- the R&R *and* the cabana!

Judith @ Lavender Cottage said...

At this stage of life I want luxury when I travel and where you stayed looks like a 5 star place. We looked in a few new homes when visiting our daughter over Thanksgiving and those bathtubs are what they're installing. Very deep and narrow, aren't they?
Glad you had a nice vacation with your hubby.

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Thank you, Judith. Yes, we really enjoyed it. I always say if the hotel room isn't at least as nice as my bedroom at home, I might as well stay home! Wish I had heated bathroom floors at home.

kitty@ Kitty's Kozy Kitchen said...

What a fabulous stay you had in Napa, for you and your hubby, Jean. My late beloved and I visited Sonoma several years ago, but did manage to get over to Napa, also. However, my very favorite part of the vacation was going to Armstrong Redwoods State Reserve. I'll never forget the beauty, peace and calm of that special place.

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Kitty, I'm so glad the two of you got to see the redwoods. They are magnificent! It has been quite some time for us, and we had hoped to see the redwoods again on this trip but couldn't quite manage it. But they are on our list!

Life Redesign 101 said...

This sounds lovely. Napa Valey has been on my to go list for awhile. I love the understated luxury of a hotel also.

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

LR101, thank you! You will love Napa Valley, beautiful at any time of year really. Isn't understated luxury the best kind?!

Susan J Meyerott, M.S. said...

Lovely write up, Jean! Makes me want to visit Napa! As always you outdid yourself on the beautiful photography bringing our attention to the delights you experienced. I loved everything...but most of all the Camel contemplating a needle! Reposted.

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Sue, thank you so much. There was other artwork there you would have loved. In fact, I thought of you when I saw one colorful piece called "Garden Plot", of repurposed beaded and sequined garments.

A Brit in Tennessee said...

Thank you for sharing this delightful tour, I hope one day to visit it's beauty.
~Jo

Kathleen Aherne said...

What a lovely place you describe and your photos are good. These days I go for comfort too, well the best I can afford. I gave up roughing it years ago.

Kathleen
Bloggers Pit Stop

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Jo, thank you. I hope you will visit there soon. Of course, Tennessee is beautiful, too, but it's a different beauty.

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Kathleen, a friend and I were discussing this about a month ago. She said she had reached a point in life where roughing it just wasn't going to "do" any more!

Kelleyn Rothaermel said...

What a gorgeous hotel and looks so homey at the same time!

Richard Sheppard said...

That's quite a place you stayed in Jean! I've not heard of Hall before but it looks great. Sounds like you had a fantastic time. I'm all for luxury accommodations when I can afford it but sometimes I don't mind roughing it.

Michelle said...

What a beautiful review Jean and the photos are gorgeous. I definitely have to put this on my bucket list. It looks so relaxing and the ideal place to refresh your soul. Thank you for sharing.

Julie Syl Kalungi said...

What a pleasure you seem to have had with your Napa Valley hosted visit. The rooms look delightful indeed and I too would find it a pleasure to stay there. As a World traveller I definitely dont do camping. I am one of those peole that will fly for hours to a dream luxury resort! Thaks for sharing at the Pit stop

Julie Syl Pit Stop Crew

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Kelleyn, that's exactly right - gorgeous and homey at the same time!

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Richard, I'm sure you're one of those good travelers who can be comfortable over the spectrum of accommodations. Wish I were! (Then, of course, you are an artist and by the time you've sketched and painted it in your mind's eye, well, ...)

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Michelle, thank you. "Relaxing place to refresh your soul" is a good way to put it! I'm still feeling it! I hope you can visit there soon.

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Julie, camping might be fun, but the prep is sooooo much work! Nope, give me the luxury hotel!

Angie Schneider said...

Beautiful and I am glad that you enjoyed it. I love the bathroom there, esp. that deep soaking tub.

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Thanks, Angie. I love where the faucet was placed on the tub, too. Very sensible.

Leanna Forsythe said...

Beautiful blog post. The hotel looks like an amazing get away spot. If we are going on a driving holiday I am okay to just stay wherever but if we fly I want to feel pampered in a beautiful hotel. Love your choice.

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Thanks, Leanna. Yes, after suffering through the rigors of air travel these days, one deserves to be pampered in a beautiful hotel!

Cocoa and Lavender said...

I love Napa and the hotel looks lovely. Thanks also for the balloon company info - I dream of a balloon trip sometime, and have always thought it should not be in the desert, lest I land on a cactus!

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Thanks, David. I'm with you -- I don't want to land on a cactus! But I don't know if I'll ever get my nerve up to do it. I get motion sick very easily and very badly; I'd probably be all dizzy and fall out of the basket!

Pam List said...

This is a wonderful review and I had not idea this place existed. If I can score a sitter for a night John and I would love to go.

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Pam, thank you. You'll have a wonderful time!

Jenn @ Mad Mommy said...

I'll just go ahead and add this to my bucket list! #dreamteam

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Yes, Jenn! I'd like to go back already and do it all again!

Andrea said...

Napa Valley is a beautiful place! We live only about 2 hours away but haven't been in about 10 years, which is a shame. We'll definitely have to change that!

Sounds like you had a fantastic visit!

Andrea
Andrea’s Wellness Notes

Lavender and Lime (http://tandysinclair.com) said...

I am with you on needing / wanting decent accommodation. I just love those cabanas and need to find that for home. We recently stayed in a place where each room had its own garage and lift! Great review Jean :)

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Andrea, thank you. Yes, it's time for you to go! But I know what you mean. We have lovely places to go two hours from us, and we rarely go!

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Thanks, Tandy! When there are just two floors, I like having stairs to climb (for exercise), but I usually take the lift for more than that.

Linda @ Life and Linda said...

A great review and a fabulous place to stay. I used to live closer to Napa and the surrounding areas. So many places to enjoy. many reasons to go back and visit.

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Linda, thank you. A great place to visit AND it seems like it would be a great place to live.

Annette, 3 Little Buttons said...

This looks like an amazing place to visit. I love the look of the hotel, and wine tasting sounds like a great way to enjoy a break. Thank you for sharing with the #DreamTeam

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Thank you, Annette! In my mind, I'm already there again! :D

Daniela said...

What a great trip you had, darling Jean, and how stunnning the places you've visited were, I'm sure they won your heart !

Hope your week is off to a good start I'm sending my dearest hugs to you

Much love and blessings

Xx Dany

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Thank you, Dany. Yes, my week is off to a good start, but I can't help longing to be back in Napa! :-)

Cathy @ My 1929 Charmer said...

Napa is a beautiful place and we went there on our honeymoon and stayed at a working winery (don't remember name). The hotel is really pretty and I love doing wine tastings. Vacations are waited for so long and it over so fast. Hope you go back soon!

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Thanks, Cathy. I'd love to go back every year! What a grand place for a honeymoon!

Sharon @ Blue Willow House said...

I love Napa also but haven't visited for a very long time. Thank you for sharing your experience at Vintage Charm.

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Sharon, thank you. It was a wonderful experience!

Kristine said...

Gorgeous!! I lived in San Jose when I was a kid. Still ♥ that whole Bay Area and to the North!
If I ever get a windfall of $, I'm buying a house there for sure!! LOL! #smallvictoriessundaylinkup

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Thanks, Kristine! That would be great -- it looks like a wonderful place to live!

April J Harris said...

I so enjoyed reading your post, Jean. I too am "one of those people who would really rather stay home than stay in accommodations that are less than fabulous". I adore Napa - we've spent two wonderful weekends there already and can't wait to return. I'll have to check out Hall Winery and although we do have a place we stay that we love, I think that the SENZA hotel looks wonderful! Thank you for sharing with us at Hearth and Soul. Will pin this to my Travel - California board!

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Thank you, April. I had a feeling you might be "one of those people" like me!

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