On back to back weekends, my husband and I decided to experience and compare polar opposite hotels—one eco-resort recently opened in California’s Napa Valley and the other a long-time award-winning destination in Beverly Hills.
The Bardessono , a modern hotel and spa conveniently located in the adorable town of Yountville, goes to the extremes to prove it’s both eco-friendly and local-friendly. I noticed there was no paper in our room (except toilet paper, thank goodness), nor plastic water bottles (reusable glass containers instead). Revolutionary technology is pervasive: automatic sunscreen shades, varying levels of lighting, and Avanti wine refrigerator and Cisco phones. Every room features a gas fireplace, private furnished courtyard and a bathroom that doubles as a private spa (two concealed massage tables are located in a cabinet near the double closets). During the morning sunshine, we tried out the indoor steam shower that opens up to an outdoor private shower. A good morning, indeed! Then we lounged by the hotel’s main pool and lost track of time.
It’s no secret that the Bardessono is poised to become the leading green luxury hotel in America—the hotel was chosen as one of TIME Style & Design’s GREEN DESIGN 100.
The next weekend we traveled to a wedding in Beverly Hills and chose to stay at Hotel Bel-Air , a boutique hotel with 91 rooms set among a tropical wooded canyon only half of a mile off of Sunset Boulevard. Not your typical glossy Los Angeles hotel, it’s sophisticated but with a softer type of feel due to its many fountain courtyards, gardens, and a koi pond. The secluded environment still attracts the entertainment industry’s elite (we walked past Michael Eisner), and the staff treats everyone like they’re Rupert Murdoch. French and Italian furnishings inside the room add to the hotel’s charm, unlike the simple and characterless décor we experienced at the Bardessono.
Some much-needed renovations to Hotel Bel-Air are in the works (and dozens of updates have been completed since the 1940s), but I imagine the hotel will always stay true to its rustic tranquility.