Back in December, Napa’s Archer hotel was a shell of exposed metal, steel beams and concrete.
Today, construction at the downtown “luxury boutique hotel” is in the home stretch.
The walls are covered in stone and wood finishes, rooms are carpeted, kitchens are installed, meeting rooms are almost complete, decorative lighting is in place and flooring is mostly laid.
“Crunch time is on,” said Michael Collins, the general manager of the hotel. “We’re almost there.”
Work on the 183-room hotel, located at 1230 First St., began back in 2015.
LodgeWorks Partners of Wichita, Kansas is developing the downtown hotel. In 2014, developers estimated the cost of the project at $70 million.
About 50 percent of the hotel’s rooms are mostly finished, with the balance to be completed in the coming weeks. Immediately after that, beds, mattresses, chairs and lamps will arrive by the truckload.
If all goes as planned the first overnight guests will arrive in mid-October, said Collins. The Archer contains a Charlie Palmer steakhouse that will open at the same time.
“It’s exciting to see the finishes coming in,” said Jeff Roberts, director of engineering for the hotel.
Roberts pointed out decorative panels made of cork and walls made from pieces of sliced barrel staves. Pieces of reclaimed teak wood adorn some ceilings. Stone quarried locally has also been installed.
“It’s amazing” to see the progress of the construction, said Peter Triolo, director of food and beverage for Archer Hotel Napa and Charlie Palmer Steak.
“For me, it’s the details” that give “personality and character” to the hotel and restaurant, Triolo said.
One of the biggest challenges is moving the different trade workers throughout the 184,000-square-foot property so they are not working on top of each other, said Collins. That means that while some hotel rooms are almost done, others aren’t quite as far along.
Collins said the hotel plans a staggered soft opening starting in October “to work out all of our kinks internally.”
As of this week, rates for a weekend stay in mid-December ranged from $229 to $429 a night.
One big test for Archer will come the third week of October when a medical business from the East Coast arrives for a group meeting.
An estimated 50 hotel employees will be on hand by then, plus another 50 to 75 for Charlie Palmer Steak and hotel food and beverage operations. Valet parking, the spa and some laundry services are run by separate businesses, said Collins.
Don Marvin, executive vice president, development and construction for LodgeWorks Partners, travels across the U.S. overseeing such multi-million dollar projects.
Marvin jokingly compared building and opening a new hotel to having twins or triplets.
“You forget all the pain and start all over again” with the next project, he said.
Among the changes that Napans will notice at Archer today are the sidewalks in front of the hotel starting to reopen. Eventually, new trees will be planted in front. Archer signage and an artwork by Napa artist Gordon Huether will follow.
Collins said he was “thrilled” that the historical façade of the former Merrill’s drug store was preserved and incorporated into the hotel design. “It ties in perfectly,” he said.
Adjacent to the five-story hotel is the First Street Napa complex, which is being developed by Zapolski Real Estate and Trademark Property Co.
First Street Napa will include a mix of shops, restaurants and entertainment. A full roster of tenants has yet to be announced.