Carneros Inn - Napa Valley, CA:Napa Valley is the award winning Carneros Inn. During our visit to Napa Valley, we knew this was one resort we had to visit and review. Could it really be as good as it sounded? After our two night stay at Carneros Inn we decided, no, it was not a good as it sounded. Click here to see over 50 pictures of Carneros Inn.
First Impression/Lobby: As we drove into Carneros Inn in Napa, I got the distinct feeling that this resort was going to be large. As we passed the security gate, we passed row after row of small houses and cottages. I was expecting (and hoping for) a small, more intimate resort, but from what I was seeing, it wasn’t.
We finally made our way to the reception desk and were quickly greeted by the bellmen and headed to the front desk. The lobby of Carneros Inn was simple; to the right of the entrance was a small reception area and concierge desk, to the left a small, casual sitting room.
Reception: Our check-in process was quick and simple; within minutes we were back in our car and following the bellman as he rode his bike to show us the way to our “suite”.
The Suite: We had booked a Vineyard Suite for our stay in Napa. Based on the description of the suite from the Carneros website, our suite offered “panoramic views of the rolling hills and distant vineyards”. I pictured ourselves sitting on our back patio, drinking wine and enjoying the views. Sadly, this did not happen!
Our suite, #2 and #3, were small cottages set in a L shaped configuration. They reminded me of modular homes or travel trailers that were converted into cottages. While they were nicely furnished, the structure itself had a rather cheap and low-end feeling.
The main bedroom suite had a large bed, facing the fireplace and TV, a reclining chair and stool, and two nightstands. Believe me, they could not squeeze in one more thing! Luckily the room had tons of windows and a tall peaked ceiling so it didn’t feel as tiny as it really was.
The master bathroom had twin sinks, a private shower stall, a deep soaking tub, a private toilet stall and access to outdoor shower located on the patio.
The living room “cottage” decorated in blues, olive and beige, was a narrow room, with a small couch facing a fireplace, four placed chairs around a very low, not even knee-high, table, not at all designed for using dining; a small work desk and at the end of the room, a large bathroom with a shower stall, toilet and one sink.
Along one of the long walls of the living room were windows and sliding glass doors that opened to the patio. The other long wall of the living room was covered by a tall, heavy drape, giving the impression there were windows behind it; there were not. It did however, add some texture to the room and was better than a long, barren wall. Oddly, the living room did not have a TV, so really for us, this room became just a large storage area for our luggage.
The suite was comfortable and decked out in fine materials, but it was just too small to spend any amount of time it in without becoming claustrophobic. I think the suite is really designed for people visiting Napa for just a couple days and don’t need much room for luggage storage.
The large patio, located in the back of the rooms, connected the two rooms together and offered the most “living” space in the whole suite. The patio had a small dining table and three chairs, two lounge chairs, perfect for relaxing under the warm Napa sun and a small love seat tucked under part of the roof for those rare rainy days.
The patio was fenced in and had a small, overgrown garden, in desperate need of attention. The views promised on the website were non-existent. Maybe at one time you could see the rolling hills and distant vineyards, but now all I could see from the patio of the “vineyard suite” were wildly growing trees and shrubs.
Room Service: Room service at Carneros Inn in Napa was not impressive. While the food was above average, the service was slow and uninspiring. Rather than the superior service and nice presentation that most high-end resorts provide, here at Carneros Inn it was drop the food and go. The order was incorrect, the order was late, and the presentation non-existent.
Housekeeping:Carneros Inn housekeeping did the basics in servicing the room.
Concierge: We used the concierge service a couple times, one for directions, once to make dinner reservations and once to make breakfast reservations. The first two were completed promptly, but the breakfast reservations were a huge hassle.
She did not want to make reservations for their restaurant Boone Fly Café, saying even though we were guests at the resort it was first come first served. And then, the day of our dinner, at Carneros’ restaurant, The Farm, we asked her to push our reservation back an hour and you would have thought we were asking for a small miracle. She basically said she couldn’t and we would have to deal with it ourselves. Needless to say, a call to management was made and quickly our dinner and breakfast reservations were completed. The concierge at Carneros Inn in Napa received a failing graded.
Restaurant: See our reviews for The Farm at Carneros Inn and Boone Fly Café at Carneros Inn in Napa.
Pool/Spa/Activities: The main pool, for adults, at Carneros Inn was gorgeous. Set in the center of a grassy area, it was open, remote and refreshing – glorious! Service at the main pool was slow but the expansive views the pools area offered helped you forget about the slow service. Located at the fitness center is the main family pool and children's pool as well as the Spa at Carneros Inn.
Check-Out: Check-out at Carneros Inn in Napa was, as it should be, simple. However, we called to let them know we were checking out and to have a bellman come to get our bags, but they said they were very busy and it would be 30 minutes before someone could come get our bags. Needless to say, by this time, I was very ready to leave Carneros Inn and decided to load our bags myself. The funny thing is, as I was loading them, I saw a bellman that was just leaving a cottage (he had just showed new guest to their room) and all he said was good morning, never even offering to help.
Overall Impression: Larger that I was hoping for”, sub-standard service for a high-end resort like Carneros Inn, small and poorly laid out rooms and non-existent views from our patio give Carneros Inn in Napa Valley our between bombastic and not rating. Even with all the awards they have won in the past, Carneros is not a Napa resort I could easily recommend.
One final thought, during our stay we learned that the Carneros Inn property offers privately owned cottages, time-shares and the resort suites and cottages that we stayed in. I believe this in part explained why there were so many areas that failed to impress. I think Carneros was trying to be too many things to too many people and has lost focus of providing consistently good service.