Embassy Suites Expansion

Embassy Suites has announced plans to expand at its First Street and California Boulevard location.

J.L. Sousa/Register

As local hotel occupancy rates continue to rise, lodging experts have cited the need for more hotel rooms in Napa. Embassy Suites would like to help meet that demand.

Representatives of the California Boulevard hotel have asked the city to review plans to build a detached 41,402-square-foot, 54-room hotel addition.

The new building would be located south of the main hotel, on a triangle of land currently used as a parking lot, near the intersection of First Street and California Boulevard.

“We’re always evaluating ourselves and making sure we’re meeting the needs of the guest,” said James Whitney, a representative for hotel owner FelCor Lodging Trust.

“The hotel market in Napa is strong and on the rise,” he said. Adding rooms and meeting space are “a logical progression of the hotel.”

If the Embassy Suites expansion sounds familiar, that’s because it’s been under discussion for more than a decade. Back in 2002, the city gave developers the go-ahead to add additional rooms at the parking lot. In 2006 and 2012, the project seemed to be revived, but did not progress.

While two other hotel projects under construction — the 183-room Archer Napa hotel and the 115-room Hampton Inn & Suites at the Century Center — will be adding to room inventory, Napa can accommodate even more lodging, said Clay Gregory, president and CEO of Visit Napa Valley.

“We are at a consistently high rate of occupancy,” said Gregory.

Whitney said that now’s the time to add rooms. “Large hotel ownership companies like (FelCor) have a tendency to do more capital improvements when markets are showing promise and strength, and that’s what the market is showing in Napa,” he said.

There’s a lot of interest in the hotel industry in Napa, Whitney added. “There are a lot of hotel companies that want to have a strong offering in the Napa market. And we want to do the same.”

According to the FelCor website, the Napa Embassy Suites has 205 rooms.

Whitney described the 54 new rooms as “more upscale Napa room products. We’re stepping up one more level than what’s being offered now to expand opportunities at the hotel.”

Rooms would feature a “more contemporary Napa feel,” Whitney said.

“People want more unique experiences” when they come to Napa Valley, “and it sounds like that’s what they are planning on doing” at the Embassy Suites, said Gregory.

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Details on the rooms, as well as rates, have not been announced. The hotel website listed current room rates from $139 to $319.

Embassy Suites General Manager Reynaldo Zertuche said with today’s healthy economy, “we can absorb more rooms” in Napa.

While he declined to elaborate on the expansion plans, Zertuche pointed out new high-end lodging properties opening in the valley such as the Four Seasons resort in Calistoga, VieVage Napa Valley in Carneros and Las Alcobas in St. Helena.

“These high-quality accommodations are good for everybody,” said the hotel general manager. “They put us on the map as a high end luxury destination.”

New hotels also mean more marketing dollars spent on promotion and advertising. “Everyone in the travel industry wants to talk about them and the destinations,” Zertuche said.

Other growth plans at the Embassy Suites also include adding 4,045 square feet to an existing ballroom at the north end of the property. Interior renovations would include reconfiguration of the existing lobby, new landscaping and pool within the interior courtyard and removal of the interior atrium roof.

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Jennifer Huffman is the business editor and a general assignment reporter for the Napa Valley Register. I cover a wide variety of topics for the newspaper. I've been with the Register since 2005.

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