Location: 875 Bordeaux Way, Napa, TheMeritageResort.com
Owner: Pacific Hospitality Group LLC, Irvine
Description: 131,300-square-foot, two-building expansion of a 158-room hotel, resort and convention center
General contractor: Midstate Construction, Petaluma; Tom Stallings, superintendent; Dana Vallimont, project manager; Ben Honsvick, project engineer
Architecture: structure -- PK Architects, Tempe, Ariz.; landscape -- Gretchen Stranzl McCann, Napa
Engineering: civil -- Riechers Spence & Associates, Napa; electrical -- DC Engineering, Meridian, Idaho; mechanical/plumbing -- NP Mechanical, Phoenix
Subcontractors: electrical -- Capitol Valley Electric, Sacramento; mechanical -- Simpson Mechanical, Santa Rosa; plumbing -- RCI Plumbing, Rio Linda; framing -- Ellison Framing, Brentwood; tile, flooring, showers and embellishments -- Dennett Tile & Stone, Santa Rosa; drywall -- Maudlin Drywall, Santa Rosa
Bowling alleys: All American Bowling Equipment Co., Moon Township, Penn.
Start of construction: October 2010
Completion: April 2012
Cost: $40 million
NAPA -- The scale of the recently opened $40 million expansion at The Meritage Resort & Spa -- effectively doubling the size of it -- already is contributing significantly to the ongoing resurgence of Napa Valley tourism.
In May, the number of rooms increased by 165 to 319 with a new three-story lodging building. That's not including the affiliated 182-unit Vino Bello vacation housing complex across the parking lot. Meeting space expanded to 50,000 square feet with the new 7,300-square-foot Carneros Ballroom, divisible into 10 "salons" just as the 10,500-square-foot Meritage Ballroom in the existing hotel building is.
Also added were the Crush Ultra Lounge with six bowling lanes, 1,600-square-foot fitness room, Blend cafe and bistro, and outdoor meeting areas, croquet lawn and fireplace between the new buildings. The existing pool area also got a $500,000 upgrade, including a firepit and eight permanent cabanas.
The additional rooms and amenities are boosting group bookings by attracting functions the resort couldn't before, namely companies or organizations wanting to reward star employees or customers, according to General Manager Michael Palmer. Attractions at the resort predating expansion have been the Siena fine dining restaurant, Spa Terra and Trinitas Cellars tasting room in a 22,000-square-foot cave bored under the landmark Grapecrusher statue overlooking the area.
"We were fortunate to do a lot of site tours before we opened, and that has allowed us to put a lot more heads in beds Sunday through Thursday with group bookings," Mr. Palmer said. Such reservations help keep hotel occupancy up between waves of tourists making weekend trips to Wine Country.
[caption id="attachment_58575" align="alignleft" width="320" caption="Spa Terra and Trinitas tasting room are nestled into a 22,000-square-foot cave bored underneath the estate vineyard surrounding the hotel and landmark Grape Crusher statue atop the knoll."][/caption]
In 2011, groups accounted for about 17,000 room nights at The Meritage, according to Mr. Palmer. The group total is on track to reach roughly 30,000 nights this year then expand to 40,000 nights in 2013.
The resort expansion is allowing existing group bookings to expand and get back ones that had taken their events out of Napa Valley, according to Mr. Palmer.
For example, a group that had reserved all the rooms in the resort in past years, instead moved the event to larger venues in San Francisco as of 2011. With The Meritage expansion, the group will be back, signing a multiyear contract to reserve the entire property, according to Mr. Palmer.