Luxury in a Zen-like setting…

Who says that green-lodging needs to be a compromise? Certainly not Phil Sherburne, a Harvard graduate who found it more exciting and rewarding to create eco-conscious projects, from the Decatur island community in the Pacific Northwest to the just one year old Bardessono Hotel, Restaurant and Spa in Yountville, CA.

The Bardessono was just awarded LEED Platinum certification on their one year anniversary just this week.

This 62 room hotel, with a 68 seat restaurant, was built on the original Bardessono Homestead. I was lucky enough to meet the Bardessono’s at one of the hotels special culinary series dinners and I also had the chance to meet Phil Sherburne, all three are very special people. The culinary series dinners provide Executive Chef Sean O’ Toole an opportunity to collaborate with artisans from the world of wine and food…and I will add a chance for locals and guests to enjoy the fruits of their creativity. The Bardessono’s shared with me a bit about the history of the property where the hotel now sits but here is more about its present.

As far as it qualifying as a green-hotel its LEED Platinum certification verifies this, but I think that they have probably even exceeded what was needed. Here are just some of the ‘green’ elements at Bardessono, where compromise is a word that just did not exist in its design and execution:

There are over 940 photovoltaic solar panels which will produce 260,000 kwh of electricity each year. The panels work with 35 inverters that convert the current and then connect to standard electric panels. This allows the electricity that is generated to flow into the PGE (the local electric company Pacific Gas and Electric) system when more electricity is generated than the hotel can use. The Bardessono Hotel has the largest solar power system of any hotel in N. America.

This is really an amazing feature for a hotel. All rooms have a heating and cooling system that works with an infra-red signal that shuts down if there is no motion detected in the room after 20 minutes. Upon returning to the room it is activated and returns to the desired temperature. Motion sensors also turn off lights, electrical devices and drop window shades to maintain the rooms temperature. When you return to your room everything comes back on and shades open…it is a wonderful welcome when you come back to your room.

All of the guest rooms and the spa are heated and cooled through a geothermal system that consists of 82 three hundred foot deep wells. Through heat exchangers heat is either extracted from or introduced to water flowing through the system from the wells. Domestic hot water is also pre-heated in this way. The only energy that is used to power this system is a small amount of electricity to operate the pumps that power this system.

The buildings of Bardessono were made almost exclusive from reclaimed and “upcycled” materials and most were sourced within 100 miles of Yountville. During the site preparation and construction process the construction company and sub-contractors recycled 93 percent of their waste.

Stone that was quarried in Napa Valley 80 years ago for the original Bardessono homestead was later used for a wine and produce cellar when the Bardessono’s remodeled their home, and in its current incarnation it was salvaged and re-cut and now covers the walls of the entry area as well as in the reception and dining areas. This is stone that has led three lives at Bardessono.

This consciousness carries into daily operations as well. With the goal of having as small an impact as possible on the earth all kitchen and garden waste is composted. Locally produced and organic products are used whenever available. There is even a small vegetable garden on the grounds. Hotel landscaping is maintained organically and sustainably, and all cleaning products are organic.

I suppose you get the idea… they are not kidding around here. The commitment to sustainability is undeniable and I have to say you can feel it as you walk through the buildings and the grounds. There is something quiet and still, and at the same time exhilarating that you cannot help but sense and it is because of what has been created here and how it came to be.

The public, interior spaces are inviting and we have an opportunity to experience an authentic eco-hotel, where every comfort is more than satisfied. The guest rooms are spacious and carry the serenity that is felt throughout the property. You can sit in your private patio, enjoy your inside fireplace or linger in an oversized tub.

I love their spa concept. Each suite is equipped to be an in-room spa. Massage tables are hidden in cabinets in the dressing area so that you can go from the table to your bathtub following your treatment, or preceding it, if you like. It also allows you to really relax, for as long as you like once your treatment is over. They also have a more conventional spa if you prefer.

The Bardessono has just begun to include breakfast with your stay so if you need any more enticing, now is a great time to plan your visit. I cannot wait to return it was truly a memorable visit and knowing all that goes on behind the scenes makes it even more rewarding.

Congratulations Bardessono, and Phil on your LEED Platinum Certification. You have raised the bar on what it means to be a green-hotel. I know that you hope to inspire others to create such conscious and sustainable properties. You have shown that it is possible…….thanks for your efforts.

Here is a link to Bardessono’s photo gallery to see more of this inspired hotel.

Bardessono Hotel Restaurant and Spa

6526 Yount Street

Yountville, CA 94599