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NAPA - WESTIN VERASA

JUNE 9-11, 2012

We decided that we wanted to do something close to home for our Anniversary and things just sort of fell into place for a quick getaway to Napa.    Life has been pretty crazy this year with my mom in so many hospitals and skilled nursing facilities and then having my nephew graduate on June 8th from High School, we had a very small window of time with which to work.   

We had a quick, uneventful drive from Redwood City to Napa on a Saturday evening.  Upon arrival at the hotel we valet parked the car (you really don't have a choice on this), but it is "free" as part of the "mandatory" resort fee.  I really do HATE resort fees, but they seem to pop up everywhere you go these days.  It's just another way for hotels to make more money,   but trick you into thinking you are getting such a value for it.   The resort fee did include valet parking, free in room wi-fi and a few other things that were of no interest to us.   We arrived in the evening, so our room was ready.  There was a bit of a discrepancy on the rate.  I had initally booked a travel agent rate for Sunday night only; but had asked if we could add on Saturday night.  The Travel Agent rate was not available, but calling them that day and sort of pointing out the obvious, "well would you rather give me the room at the travel agent rate and make money off of us with meals, drinks, etc. or would you rather have that room go empty?"  Yes, I can be a good sales person when needed.    They did offer either a downgrade in room type to keep the rate the same because our Deluxe room was not available OR we could upgrade to the suite for $50 (well guess she said $60 on the phone and I heard $50) - in any case it was a decent price for the upgrade. 

Our suite was on the first floor and located just around from the lobby/main hub of the hotel.  It's not a huge property, but nicely laid out and has a cozy vibe to it.  We had a relatively large patio area that opened up out to a  larger courtyard area and that courtyard area lead to the Bocce Ball courts.  We ordered room service for dinner and ate in our "Dining room"- the suite had a full dining area, small kitchen facility and small living room.  The bedroom was decent size and the bathroom was huge!   Sort of odd that the bathroom was out of the bedroom and around the corner, but I suppose that design was to make the bathroom easily accesible from the dining/living areas if you were entertaining guests and did not want them to go through the bedroom.    We enjoyed our dinner, everything was served hot as it should be and we had brought up a few bottles of our own wine to have in the room - smart move.  We rented a movie on TV and just relaxed that evening.

Sunday was our Anniversary, so we got up for Brunch in their lobby restaurant and although not as expansive as we would expect for a Brunch, it was still very good.   I think we are used to "Brunch" being synonomus to "Buffet" and endless choices at your disposal.  This was an "order off the menu" type of Brunch with some breakfast and some lunch choices.   Afterwards, we spent the day by the pool.  Small pool overall and fairly quiet, but  it was perfect for what we needed.  Bar service was good and attentive and we were able to order lunch poolside from the restaurant.    The pool area overlooks the Napa Valley River and there is a pathway that goes along the River, suitably named "the River walk"- not to be confused with San Antonio's River Walk.   We did walk along the path Saturday evening, but then quickly came in because of my susceptibility to mosquito bites!

For dinner we had reservations for the Napa Valley Wine Train and the hotel could not have been any more convenient- which was the reason we chose to stay at the Westin.  We literally walked across the street to the train station.  I would highly recommend this combo of hotel and train outing.  We did the dinner and confirmed in the Dome Car.  Since it was a Sunday, the train was not sold out so we were at a table for two- which was nice.  They did know that it was our Anniversary, my wonderful Travel Professional advised them in advance - so we were greeted with a "Happy Anniversary" from every staff member that we came into contact with.  Very personalized !  The menu comes with a few choices and all of the food was very good.  A great experience to watch the vineyards going by while dining and wining.  All in all, the experience was about 3 hours and the waiters and waitresses do point out some of the note-worthy vineyards as we passed them.   They do take pictures of you as your board the train and also while on the train and you have the option to purchase them afterwards.  We did purchase ours- the nice thing is that if you get a package you can mix/match the pictures taken so we didn't get 5 prints of the same pose.   Of course, these pictures aren't cheap, but this is also something that you don't do everyday either.

We finished off our weekend Monday by driving into Yountville and having lunch at Bouchon, which had been recommended by a friend of ours.  We had a very nice lunch,  very high priced, but they don't hold back on the quantity of food that you get.  Although, it is a bit wasteful.  I would prefer to get less and pay less vs. paying more and leaving 1/2 of my plate untouched.   Afterwards, we stopped by to visit parents of a friend I've known since 1st grade who have retired to Yountville.  Had a nice visit and then leisurely came back home.

It was a great weekend and I would higly recommend both The Westin Verasa AND the Napa Valley Wine Train!

To view pictures of the Westin Verasa, please see my WESTIN VERASA FLICKR ALBUM HERE.