Two prominent Yountville hotels will receive a fresher, more modern look at their front doors.

The Town Council has approved redesigns of the entrance areas at the Villagio Inn & Spa and the Vintage Inn, keystones of the Vintage Estate development that Brookfield Hotel Properties purchased in April from three families for $148 million.

The makeovers, planned to start in mid-November, are intended to recast the architecture of both hotels – anchors of Yountville’s business district along Washington Street – in the airy, clean-lined character of newer lodgings and wineries in the Napa Valley.

“It’s a beautiful aesthetic; I think it immediately updates and refreshes the property,” Mayor John Dunbar said of the Villagio plan before the Town Council’s unanimous approval last week. “It’s a high-priority location, one of the first properties you see when you come into the south end of town, and it will make a very distinct and impressive impact for residents, for visitors, for hotel guests, for everybody.”

Since buying the 22-acre Vintage Estate in April, Brookfield has planned a modernization of its hotel properties, substituting a farmhouse-style look and native landscaping for the current lodgings’ cultivated plantings and the Villagio’s Italianate architecture.

Capturing the Napa Valley’s rural character in architecture will help the Vintage Estate keep its hold on future vacationers, predicted Bruce Wright, principal of SB Architects, which is partnering with Brookfield.

“In the hospitality business, what we’re seeing these days is the increased awareness of travelers for kitsch,” he told council members. “Overly thematic developments are falling by the wayside, and people are looking for expressions of architecture and experience that are much more authentic to the place. Yountville is a place that is known for wine and food and the outdoor experience, and we want a renovation that really speaks to those core ideas.”

The Vintage Inn lobby would be painted mainly in white, and receive a reshaped roof and a two-story windowed entrance gable. To the south, the Villagio lobby building, currently a columned Tuscan-style design, would be recast with a metal seam roof and wooden posts, and a transparent entry portico at a new location near the hotel pool, lobby and Washington Street.

Also planned for the Villagio are an outdoor fire pit and seating area, which will be accessed from glass doors that eventually will lead to a new bar. Five guest rooms will be added to the hotel’s former spa building.

Brookfield directors first brought their renovation plans in September to the town’s Zoning and Design Review Board, which endorsed the Villagio’s redesign but declined to vote on the Vintage plan amid concerns its new architecture might clash with existing downtown buildings. Board members also asked for more detailed landscaping plans for the hotels.

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Developers returned to the council with more developed renderings showing the installation of drought-tolerant plantings around both hotels. The company also agreed to preserve some of the Vintage Inn’s existing trees, including palms, maples, pines and magnolias, although the property’s five cypresses will still be removed.

With room taxes accounting for two-thirds of Yountville’s revenue – and the local market dominated by high-end lodgings in a 1 ½-mile corridor – Councilwoman Margie Mohler stressed the importance of keeping local hotels fresh and appealing.

“I’ve been waiting a long time for this remodel, so I’m very, very happy that it’s coming along,” she said of the Villagio and Vintage inns. “It’s going to be very economically important to Yountville.”

Renovation of lobbies and guest rooms is expected to continue into May 2017, said Steve Davino, general manager of the Vintage Estate, which also includes the V Marketplace and a spa, meeting space and three-acre vineyard.

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City of Napa/Town of Yountville Reporter

Howard Yune covers the city of Napa and the town of Yountville. He has been a reporter and photographer for the Register since 2011, and previously wrote for the Marysville Appeal-Democrat, Anaheim Bulletin and Coos Bay (Oregon) World.