Architecture Things » Napa Valleys Historic Bardessono Farmstead Morphs Into Americas Greenest Luxury Hotel

Napa Valleys Historic Bardessono Farmstead Morphs Into Americas Greenest Luxury Hotel

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Phil Sherburne, a pioneer in modern green development, will open his long-awaited Bardessono hotel, restaurant and spa in California’s famed Napa Valley during the first week of February.

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The 62-room luxury hotel with its 92-seat restaurant and bar is situated on the Bardessono family farmstead in the heart of historic Yountville. Sherburne, who was hand-picked by the Bardessonos to develop their six-acre property, promised an ecologically-friendly development that would literally “tuck itself” into Yountville’s tiny wine country community.

With the help of Seattle architect Ron Mitchell, Sherburne oriented the property’s 540-square-foot guest rooms around a series of four courtyards, giving the property a more compact, intimate feel. Guest parking is contained in an enclosed valet space as there are no vehicular traffic corridors through the project. The property blends itself into the surrounding community through a series of extended community walking paths. All buildings and landscaping were set back 35 feet from nearby Hopper Creek. Landscape design bordering the creek is native and sustainable.

The landmark development, which is applying for Platinum LEED certification — the highest and most rigorous form of green development accreditation in the United States — could well be the “greenest” luxury hotel in America today.

In the tradition of his other award-winning projects, among them Decatur Island, the property employs a wide range of environmental initiatives, covering everything from material reuse to solar power and geothermal energy to onsite waste management, low water use and LED and fluorescent lighting.

The property will obtain approximately half of its electricity need from a 200-kilowatt photovoltaic solar system discreetly mounted and concealed atop the hotel’s flat-topped roofs. To heat and cool guest rooms as well as the property’s domestic water supply, a system of eighty-two 300-foot geothermal wells were drilled to work with a specially developed ground source heat pump system.

Structurally as well as aesthetically, the Bardessono makes prodigious use of “up-cycled” materials including recycled steel, green glass tiles as well as fly ash concrete. (Fly ash, a glass-like powder recovered from gases created by coal-fired electric power generation, is a recyclable material often used as a replacement for Portland cement.) Salvaged wood from locally-sourced Monterey Cypress, Walnut, Redwood, Eucalyptus and California Bay Laurel trees is featured throughout the property, used for everything from siding and ceiling beams to furniture and bathroom flooring. Locally quarried Tuffa stone, salvaged and re-cut from the Bardessono family’s original homestead, adorns the hotel’s entry way as well as its reception and dining areas.

Low profile as it may appear, the Bardessono was appointed with luxury in mind. A rooftop swimming pool lends rare views of the Stags Leap Palisades and Mayacamas Mountains while offering private poolside cabanas and a pizza oven. Guest rooms feature generous amounts of natural light as well as their own private landscaped courtyard. All rooms are equipped for in-room spa services and some feature both indoor and outdoor showers. A few have outdoor heated tubs. Bed linens, towels and robes are made from locally sourced organic cotton, all of which is green certified. Interior furnishings and features were crafted by a team of artisans selected by Sherburne especially for the Bardessono.

A one-time University of Oregon student activist-turned urban policy planner, Sherburne began his career not in private development but public housing. Before that, he lived on his family’s Oregon dairy farm. It is this combined experience that Sherburne carried with him into the development business more than 20 years ago. It is his touchstone for creating developments that balance the interest of the private client with that of the public and nature at large. The Bardessono, Sherburne’s latest effort, follows in this 25-year tradition.

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