Suite Sophistication

The captivating village of Yountville, CA, is a haven for aficionados of the finer things in life. It boasts numerous gourmet restaurants, among them Ad Hoc, Bouchon, and French Laundry, three award-winning eateries from famed chef Thomas Keller. It is also situated amid the acclaimed Stags Leap growing region, home to Stags Leap Wine Cellars, producer of some of the most highly regarded cabernets in the world, including vintages that consistently beat out their French counterparts in prestigious international competitions. But perhaps most compelling, this charming, walkable Napa Valley town is the site of the landmark four-diamond Vintage Estate and its luxe new Spa Villagio.

Fragrant herbs found throughout the 23-acre property are used in the spa.
Fragrant herbs found throughout the 23-acre property are used in the spa.

The 23-acre property, which is home to both the Tuscan-inspired Villagio Inn & Spa and the French country-style Vintage Inn, has provided relaxation-seekers with spa services at its intimate on-site spa since 1998. But after listening to guest feedback, the management team realized that their sophisticated, well-traveled clients were looking for more when it came to their spa experiences. Thus, the concept for the current 13,000-square-foot, 21-treatment-room sanctuary was born, and the spa opened its doors in April to much fanfare. "Guests absolutely love the new spa," says spa director Leslie Wolski, who initially worked with the property as a spa consultant then signed on as spa director as her passion for the project grew. "This is the spa they were asking for."

Spa Villagio is the epitome of Mediterranean-inspired style. Guests enter along a flower-filled walkway that is surrounded by soothing fountains and serene reflecting pools. Vaulted stone arched entryways then lead them into an airy reception atrium complete with rich woods and Napa Valley fieldstone. After a greeting from a spa host and check-in, guests are introduced to a spa concierge who helps them plan their perfect spa experience before guiding them to either the men's or women's spa lounge to relax prior to their treatments. Each opulent lounge includes relaxation areas with wood-beamed ceilings, hardwood floors, Italian-style tiles, wrought-iron and crystal chandeliers, and fireplaces. Lounge amenities include Swiss showers, steam and dry saunas, and outdoor thermal soaking tubs. Individual guests or couples looking for a more intimate, luxurious experience can bypass the lounge and head directly to one of the spa's five luxuriously appointed spa suites. Each of the suites features fireplaces, daybeds, steam showers, wet bars, flat-screen televisions with Bose surround sound and iPod docking stations, and private outdoor terraces with jetted infinity-soaking tubs.

The Loft, one of five spa suites, features a fireplace, a daybed, a jetted infinity soaking tub, and an inviting outdoor deck.
The Loft, one of five spa suites, features a fireplace, a daybed, a jetted infinity soaking tub, and an inviting outdoor deck.

According to Wolski, one of the spa's biggest successes thus far has been the suites, where the decadent Suite Sensations ($575 per person, 3 hours 30 minutes) customized experiences occur. Already, the packages have been selling out on weekends and enticing spa-goers, particularly couples, regularly throughout the week. "The suites are popular and gaining in popularity," she says. "The booking pace for the Suite Sensations has been more than we anticipated, and the feedback has been extremely positive—we are very excited!"

This response isn't entirely surprising, however, considering the tempting introduction potential spa-goers receive. All Vintage Estate visitors are encouraged to enjoy a tour of the suites upon arrival at the property, during which time the spa concierge explains the details of the decadent signature experience. First, clients select from Citrus Notes (lemon and orange), Floral Notes (lavender and rose), Herbal Notes (basil and geranium), and Woody Notes (cypress and eucalyptus) room scents. Then, they choose a musical selection from jazz, classical, rhythm and blues, New Age, and nature options. Next, clients can select either Ambient Art Impression or Ambient Calm for their visual experience and view either a revolving set of 340 pieces of classical art or images of nature on the flat-screen television throughout the experience. Next, they select one of four customized sensual journeys—Awaken: An Escape to Energize and Restore; Breathe: A Journey to Breathe Away Stress; Shine: An Exhilarating Experience for Radiance; and Together: A Romantic Ritual of Pleasure—that incorporates Comfort Zone products and includes body treatments, hydrotherapy soaks, facials, or massages, depending on the selection. Additionally, the spa's culinary team provides light refreshments, lunch, or dinner, depending on the time of day.

With plush chairs, a toasty fireplace, and locally influenced design accents, the cozy relaxation lounge is a perfect site for pre-treatment soothing.
With plush chairs, a toasty fireplace, and locally influenced design accents, the cozy relaxation lounge is a perfect site for pre-treatment soothing.

"I think that guests are attracted by the level of personalization in terms of the amenities provided and the treatment customization and also the fact that they can choose the timing," says Wolski. "Each Suite Sensation is three-and-a-half hours long, but only two-and-a-half hours of that is treatment. The guest has one hour of rest built in, and they can also choose to add more free time to relax and listen to their iPod, enjoy a glass of wine, steam and soak a bit longer, or even take a nap on the daybed. The suites provide a complete getaway that can be experienced and enjoyed in less than a day."

While the suites set Spa Villagio apart from other spas in the region (Wolski says the spa is the only one in Napa to offer such an option), the menu also makes the spa distinctive. "In terms of locally inspired treatments, we've taken a different approach," she says. "We were definitely inspired by the beautiful Napa Valley, but at the same time we didn't want our menu to resort to the typical 'grapeseed/lavender/citrus/olive oil' treatments." Instead Wolski and her team decided to take a more subtle approach. Along with a distinctly Napa decor and spectacular views of the surrounding vineyards, the spa's signature Lemon Juniper product line, which is available for use in the lounge areas and incorporated in a selection of treatments, showcases some of the herbs, citrus, and flowers found on property. The steam rooms are also infused with locally grown eucalyptus, lavender, and lemon, depending on the season. "And, with the spa concierge, we can absolutely consult with guests on what treatments are best for sunburn, breakouts, or jet-lag without resorting to the obvious Jet Lag Massage," adds Wolski. "We wanted to create a menu that recognized the level of sophistication today's spa-goer has and at the same time focused on the individual and what a visitor to Napa Valley expects—results, high-end product lines, a variety of focused treatments, and the opportunity to indulge. Our guests appreciate that we have taken a more sophisticated approach to spa."

Bubbling fountains throughout the property add to the resort's Mediterranean appeal.
Bubbling fountains throughout the property add to the resort's Mediterranean appeal.

This high level of service is achieved courtesy of a large—and growing—team. Currently, the spa staff includes approximately 80 employees, but Wolski has been hiring steadily since April and anticipates a staff of about 100 by 2009's peak season, which runs from May to mid-November.

Already, the new spa is attracting wine-country tourists, resort guests, and local clients who partake in a special program that offers them upgrades and other perks. Still, the Vintage Estate owners wanted to be able to accommodate various groups, such as bridal parties, meeting-goers, and corporate incentive travelers, who regularly visit the property. As such, they maintained the former spa, and have now converted it into a private space called The Retreat, an exclusive venue for spa-going groups that includes 10 treatment rooms, a 40-foot lap pool, two thermal soaking tubs, an outdoor shower, steam and sauna areas, and a dedicated manicure/pedicure room. "This gives them the option for an exclusive private space where they can enjoy a sauna, steam room, soaking pools, and spa treatments together," says Wolski. "Groups are showing a definite interest—especially the bridal parties."

Also growing are the spa's retail numbers. Homecare is promoted via guest education in the treatment room, and the spa concierges follow up at checkout. All of the lines used in the treatment room, including Being TRUE, Biotone, Comfort Zone, Jack Black, the Lemon Juniper line, Pharmacopia, and SpaRitual, are available for purchase in the airy retail area. Additionally, Wolski is always on the lookout for new lines and has begun featuring more clothing, jewelry, and lifestyle items than were available in the former spa.



Inspired by the exciting growth, Wolski and her team have no interest in slowing down and simply basking in the spa's initial success. "Our plans for the future include growing our local market, increasing our group business through expanded treatment and service offerings, intelligently adding products and services, and, of course, constantly improving and honing our guest service," she says. It's an approach that virtually guarantees Spa Villagio's sweet success.

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