One of only three LEED Platinum hotels presently operating in the world, the 62-suite Bardessono in Yountville, Napa is also a progressive take on modern luxury on par with the best hotels in America. We were seriously interested in this property because it marries sustainability seamlessly with the highest levels of pampered group experiences.
Just a few ways that Bardessono achieved the Platinum LEED cert include 947 solar panels, 72 geothermal wells and an “Earth Tub” that composts waste into fertilizer.
The list goes on but we don’t want to lose you here.
So we talked with GM Jim Treadway about eco-incentives and how much his groups prioritize low impact luxury.
“It can be important, it has been in the past,” he says. “Groups, corporations, businesses that have values around sustainability, they are automatically attracted to us because we have shared values. That said… 85% are here because we’re just an incredibly beautiful hotel.”
Treadway describes the vibe as contemporary with a lot of recycled wood, stone and tile. Much of the materials used to build the property were recycled from the original Bardessono family home, and no trees were cut down to build it.
And how does that low impact ambience affect guests? “The feeling is very private and inwardly focused around the landscaping,” says Treadway. “Since we’re in the town of Yountville and we are actually in a neighborhood, our whole design is focused to give our guests the feeling of exclusivity and remoteness, even though they can walk out our front drive to the best restaurants in Napa Valley, if not the world.
This is where people start to divide camps. The French Laundry is regarded as the best restaurant in America, so that diminishes the importance of, say, the Earth Tub for some people. But others see this property as the future of the 21st century, and would like to see how it works.
Jim, can groups take a look behind the scenes?
“Oh yes, you bet. We’re very proud of where we are with respect to our sustainability…. So we like to show it off, but we also don’t flaunt it. We don’t put it in the face of our customers, because very frankly, some of our customers, both group and individual, they don’t care.”
Groups can also easily learn about sustainable food since there’s an acre of gardens on-property where the chefs source many of their ingredients. Most of the other meats and produce come from farms just down the road, although the Maine diver scallops on the menu raised an eyebrow.
“We grow our own produce and vegetables, and herbs and spices, and then we pair our produce with an appropriate entree item,” explains Treadway. “For example, we grow eggplant, and we dig it right out of the ground that day and pair it with something like a nice lamb preparation. Everybody does food and wine pairings, but we do produce and entree pairings as well, which is really interesting. So it truly is a farm-to-table or garden-to-table experience.”
For wine education, area winery owners drop by on Fridays for guest-only tastings, including boutique growers like Fleury Wines, who cater to Hollywood A-listers. Treadway also arranges private dinners at the wineries.
“There are all sorts of things we can do,” he says, “because we’re in the heart of the food and wine capital of the world.”