$40 million project set to finish on time after four-month delayed start
NAPA — A 165-room luxury hotel would be a large project for Napa Valley by itself, but that’s just the addition coming this spring to The Meritage Hotel and Spa.
When the $40 million, 131,300-square-foot, two-building expansion opens, it will bring the facility’s room count to 319. The new three-story lodging building also will have Crush Ultra Lounge with a pool table, sports entertainment and a bar; Blend café; 1,600-square-foot fitness center; croquet lawn and six-lane bowling alley. The 17,000-square-foot new convention center adds 12,500 square feet to 10,500-square-foot conference center, already the valley’s largest, including a new 8,000-square-foot main meeting room, and its own dedicated commercial kitchen. Between the two new buildings is a central courtyard and fountain.
And it’s opening on schedule in May, no small feat for such a large project delayed after the October 2010 groundbreaking by the wettest winter in years, according to Roger Nelson, president of project general contractor Midstate Construction of Petaluma. Before it started, the project already had been put off for two years because of the weak economy.
“We lost about four months at start of project, and they’re still moving in on schedule, so pretty pleased with that,” he said.
After the rains stopped, construction accelerated to make up lost time. In June, crews started working 10-hour days, six days a week and that’s been continuing.
The Meritage expressed gratitude for the effort to stay on schedule. Once a month, the hotel’s foodservice staff served lunches to as many as 125 workers, including a special Christmas white-tablecloth meal with roast beef, turkey and ham.
One interesting feature of the hotel expansion is the small bowling alley, a rarity among North Bay lodging establishments. Building it underneath hotel rooms posed a design and construction challenge, according to Mr. Nelson. To keep the rumble of rolling balls and racket of bouncing pins from striking the eardrums of guests above, the crew installed one ceiling on sound-isolating studs then double-hung a similar ceiling two feet below it.
The Meritage first opened in July 2006. The following spring brought the opening of a 20,000-square-foot cave bored into the knoll on which sits Gino Miles’ landmark 1987 statute Grapecrusher. The cave houses the hotel wine cellar, tasting room for the Trinitas Cellars house wine made from eight acres of vines on the property and Spa Terra. The spa is arguably the first subterranean spa and was recently named by luxury travel website Spas of America last year’s eighth-best spa in California and the 39th-best in the U.S.
Recently, an electric-vehicle charging station was donated and installed at the hotel by the Northern California chapter of National Electrical Contractors Association and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 180. It can charge two vehicles fully in six to seven hours. Hotel guests, restaurant patrons and events-goers can use the charger free of cost.
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