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Project highlights

Four Seasons Resort and Residences Napa Valley will be the brand’s first resort in the state to include an on-site winery and vineyard.

Six months after opening, Vista Collina in January debuted its Food & Wine Center in south Napa. It's a project across the street from and by the same ownership as The Meritage Resort & Spa.

Senza Hotel incorporates 12 new rooms, which will bring the Napa property to 55 rooms total. Four new rooms are proposed for the back of the far left building; and eight rooms for the front building.

A 140-room AC Hotel by Marriott in downtown San Rafael, to be located at 1201 Fifth Ave.

Sonoma County’s hotel development in some ways differs from the needs in Napa and Marin counties. Some of the county’s activity will replenish 400 rooms lost in Santa Rosa from the three hotels destroyed in the October 2017 wildfires.

Below are highlights of hotel projects underway, as first reported by The Press Democrat:

The Inn at Santa Rosa, about 100 rooms on Commercial Court, next to Highway 101.

AC Hotels by Marriott, 142 rooms on a parking lot at Fifth and Davis streets on the edge of Railroad Square in Santa Rosa.

The historic Flamingo Hotel, $20 million renovation in east Santa Rosa.

A proposed Residence Inn by Marriott, 114 rooms, Fountaingrove neighborhood of northeast Santa Rosa.

Additional lodging projects and proposals in various stages in Windsor, Healdsburg, Cotati, Rohnert Park, Sonoma, Sebastopol and Petaluma.

New, reimagined and expanded high-end hotel operations are putting more heads in beds in Napa and Marin, adding jobs and more money to the counties’ coffers.

In Marin County, two new hotel projects are moving forward, including a 140-room AC by Marriott in downtown San Rafael, to be located at 1201 Fifth Ave. The 28,719-square-foot property currently houses a long-vacant, 12,000-square-foot bank building that will be demolished, according to developer Tom Monahan, co-owner of San Rafael-based Monahan Pacific Corp.

The $25 million project, expected to create 200 jobs, will break ground in October, and is on track to open for business in March 2021, Monahan said. The hotel will be targeted to business and leisure travelers.

The Marriott’s revenues in the first year of operations is forecast at $12.3 million, according to an economic impact analysis of the project prepared by Robert Eyler, chief economist with the Marin Economic Forum. The hotel also is projected to collect more than $1 million in transient occupancy taxes (TOT) taxes during its first year, rising by about 2% per year for years two through five, Eyler noted in the report.

The city of San Rafael projects an 85% occupancy rate for the hotel, with the potential to attract an additional 120 people to the downtown area.

“Hotel occupants are anticipated to frequent existing and future businesses in the downtown and help achieve the city’s goal of ‘alive-after-five,’ by providing an opportunity to activate the downtown in the evenings and on weekends,” the city reported to its planning division.

Further north in the county, look for a new Hyatt Place to pop up in Novato in winter 2020. Ketal Patel, project developer and co-owner of Woodland-based Golden State Properties, said the 87 guest-room hotel, to be located at 7701 Redwood Blvd., is estimated to create about 40 permanent jobs and bring in between $350,000 to $500,000 annually in TOT taxes.

The $16 million to $20 million project is expected to break ground shortly after summer, he said.

The hotel will be the first Hyatt in Marin County, according to Patel, noting the Hyatt and the coming AC by Marriott in San Rafael are much needed in the county.

“There have been no new high-end hotels in Marin for about 15 years,” Patel said. “It’s tough to find places to build.”

In some cases, there’s no need to find land for a new hotel. Sometimes an existing property is reimagined.

In West Marin, the former Lodge at Point Reyes was given new life last fall when hotel-management company Mosaic Hotel Group, a division of San Rafael-based Palisades Hospitality Group, acquired the 30-year-old property and revamped it as Olema House.

Tim Harmon, CEO and founder of Palisades Hospitality Group, said his company purchased an 80 percent interest in the property and spent more than $4 million in renovations. Olema House, situated on 4 acres at the foot of the Point Reyes National Seashore, mainly targets outdoor adventurers.

Harmon described Olema House as a 24-room eclectic bohemian hideaway retreat, made up of guest rooms and cottages, and an on-site restaurant called Due West.

“Since Fall 2018, we’ve incorporated meaningful touches throughout the property, such as bringing Chef Justin Bruckert on board to lead the culinary program at Due West restaurant and renovating one of our cottages,” Harmon said. “We also look forward to opening Due West Market this spring, which will offer grab-and-go items from Due West (restaurant) and other items from some of our favorite producers in the region.”

Project highlights

Four Seasons Resort and Residences Napa Valley will be the brand’s first resort in the state to include an on-site winery and vineyard.

Six months after opening, Vista Collina in January debuted its Food & Wine Center in south Napa. It's a project across the street from and by the same ownership as The Meritage Resort & Spa.

Senza Hotel incorporates 12 new rooms, which will bring the Napa property to 55 rooms total. Four new rooms are proposed for the back of the far left building; and eight rooms for the front building.

A 140-room AC Hotel by Marriott in downtown San Rafael, to be located at 1201 Fifth Ave.

Sonoma County’s hotel development in some ways differs from the needs in Napa and Marin counties. Some of the county’s activity will replenish 400 rooms lost in Santa Rosa from the three hotels destroyed in the October 2017 wildfires.

Below are highlights of hotel projects underway, as first reported by The Press Democrat:

The Inn at Santa Rosa, about 100 rooms on Commercial Court, next to Highway 101.

AC Hotels by Marriott, 142 rooms on a parking lot at Fifth and Davis streets on the edge of Railroad Square in Santa Rosa.

The historic Flamingo Hotel, $20 million renovation in east Santa Rosa.

A proposed Residence Inn by Marriott, 114 rooms, Fountaingrove neighborhood of northeast Santa Rosa.

Additional lodging projects and proposals in various stages in Windsor, Healdsburg, Cotati, Rohnert Park, Sonoma, Sebastopol and Petaluma.

Heading west to Napa Valley, the city council has given the go-ahead for the Senza Hotel to add 12 rooms to its current 43-room property and perform additional upgrades, according to Craig Hall, who, along with his wife, Kathryn, bought the hotel in 2012.

In 2013, the couple expanded and renovated the 2.4-acre property on Howard Lane. This next expansion, scheduled to be complete in spring 2020, will be the last, he said.

“We wanted to really upgrade the quality of the common areas,” Hall said, noting the pool will be redone and existing meeting rooms will be expanded. “We’re also adding 12 rooms, in particularly great locations, so overall it enhances the quality experience of the guest. And we’ve done it in a way that (won’t adversely) affect the neighborhood.”

Most visitors come from the greater Bay Area and Sacramento for long weekends, he said, adding the meeting space will be key to bringing in more business.

“We really have a lot of demand for our meeting space, so (we’ll be able to) do events for 50 to 80 people,” said Hall, who also is chairman and founder of Hall Group, a Dallas-based developer and lender for multiple industries that include wineries and real estate.

In the last two years, Napa Valley has added three hotels, including the 68-room Las Alcobas in St. Helena, the 183-room Archer Hotel Napa, and Vista Collina, a 145-room resort that opened in July.

In January, just six months after its debut, Vista Collina launched its Food & Wine Center.

The Food & Wine Center consists of a multiuse space that contains an exhibition kitchen with two fully equipped commercial cooking stations, four high-definition televisions, and multiple interactive guest workstations, Dave Elcon, the resort’s general manager, said.

Located in Vista Collina’s Village, the Food & Wine Center is surrounded by nine tasting rooms.

On-site classes range from beer and winemaking, to healthy trends and kitchen takeovers, he said. Classes are led by Executive Chef Vincent Lesage, Chef de Cuisine Mackenzie Rupp, and rotating guest chefs.

Prices range from $40 per person for a lunch course, to $150 per person for a full-course meal with paired wines, Elcon said.

The Food & Wine Center is just a few miles away from the Culinary Institute of America at Copia, but with the growing experiential trend, Elcon said there’s plenty of room for more class-oriented food and wine experiences in Napa’s expansive Wine Country.

Next up for the Napa Valley is the Four Seasons Resort and Residences Napa Valley, which is now accepting reservations for its November opening, according to its Feb. 6 press release.

The property, located at 400 Silverado Trail in Calistoga, will have 85 guest rooms and suites, along with 20 residences. Four Seasons also said it will be the brand’s first property in the state to include an on-site winery and vineyard.

“As a company, we have all sorts of resorts,” Mehdi Eftekari, general manager of the property, said in a release. “But this is the first time we have one on a vineyard. I don’t know if there will ever be an opportunity to create another Four Seasons like this in America.”

The 5.6-acre vineyard will be planted with cabernet sauvignon and operated by regional winemaker Thomas Rivers Brown, according to Four Seasons.

Other amenities will include a full-service spa, several outdoor pools and an on-site restaurant called Truss Restaurant and Bar.

These new and enhanced properties strengthen the vital role hotels play in generating funding for Napa Valley’s tourism industry, including helping contribute to supporting nearly 4,000 jobs, said Linsey Gallagher, president of Visit Napa Valley. As of 2016, spending by visitors staying in Napa Valley hotels exceeded $1.32 billion, and more than 80 percent of overnight visitors stayed in a hotel within the Valley, she said.

Staff Writer Cheryl Sarfaty covers tourism, hospitality, health care and education. Reach her at cheryl.sarfaty@busjrnl.com or 707-521-4259.