AVIA Napa: The Sexiest Sleep in Town

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AVIAexterior.jpgBy Deirdre Bourdet

The AVIA Hotel opened its swanky wrought iron doors last summer at the western frontier of Napa's downtown.  Since that time, the hotel has become a touchstone for the energy and excitement transforming the neighborhood.  It's the place I recommend every fun-loving visitor stay in Napa, whether that visitor is my seventy-something mom or my thirty-something best friend and her boyfriend.  Everyone who stays there loves it.

The hotel's location on First Street at Franklin puts it right in the thick of Napa's West End, the fast-growing community of hip art galleries, restaurants, retail, and tasting rooms. The bigger-than-life main doorway looks out at Oenotri and the Gordon Huether Gallery immediately across First Street, and all of downtown Napa's best restaurants and tasting rooms are within easy walking distance.
Just as importantly, the hotel itself is a gorgeous addition to Napa's downtown.  Heller Manus and Krehbiel Architecture designed the hotel's soaring structural aspects, and Colum McCartan created the eclectic and charismatic interiors.  The lobby's honed marble tiles are flanked by knotty blackened oak flooring, and the textural intrigue of velvet, silk, and leather enliven the space with deep purple, shades of Bordeaux, moss green and worn leathers.  European-style columns and antique-styled desks evoke the sophistication of other, older wine regions, but the clean color palette and eclecticism mark the space as 100% now.  The high-style design is both avant garde and accessible, combining traditional with ultra-modern in a seamless whole.  

AVIAbedrm.jpgThe 141 rooms and suites maintain the clean contemporary lines and luxuries of the lobby.  Leather-padded headboards, sleek lounge furniture, Dean & DeLuca snacks, and dividing walls equipped with rotating 42 inch flatscreens and fireplaces make every seat in the room a winner.  Spacious white marble bathrooms with walk in showers, waterfall showerheads, and lighted mirrors entice you to relax into the spa-like surroundings, and 48 Tub Suites offer guests an enormous platform bathtub mere steps from the king-size bed.  Complimentary wireless and wired internet access, mp3 docking stations, complimentary printing, valet services, in-room massage options, and full concierge assistance complete the modern sensibility and conveniences.

Executive Chef Chris Aken sets the agenda for the AVIA Kitchen downstairs, which dishes out tremendous breakfasts (think seasonal, locally grown fruits, breads, meats, and eggs) and farm to table small-plate dinners.  Every evening from 5 to 6pm, the hotel offers guests a Tasting of the chef's featured appetizer to celebrate the flavors of the moment.  Frequently, local wineries will have staff on hand pouring complimentary samples of their wines on Thursday nights to enhance guests' Tasting experience.  

Chef Aken also oversees the new Riddling Rack in the lobby, which churns out espresso drinks in the morning, and a perfect combination of indulgent and sensible snackage from 3pm into the evening--along with an extensive selection of wines, beers, and creative cocktails, as well as the full restaurant menu.  Glass-encased riddling racks serve as the bar countertops and impart an unmistakable wine country flavor to the lobby scene.  Comfortable leather barstools, cozy couples niches, and plush velvet couches offer lounging space for everyone seeking some style with their libations.

AVIAterrace.jpgOne of my favorite hotel amenities, however, is the 4500 square foot second-floor terrace--a sexy and secluded cross between a rooftop terrace and modern garden deck.  Vine-covered nooks, loveseat swings, communal tables, cafĂ© tables, and a hypnotic firepit are all serviced by a mobile bar and suggestive lighting.  Wandering up here late at night is the perfect end to an evening in Napa.  Unless, of course, you have a room booked at the AVIA.

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