Saturday, March 05, 2011

Hennessey House Bed and Breakfast Inn

Hennessey House is a beautiful Queen Anne Victorian Bed and Breakfast Inn on a quiet residential street in Napa. It’s a fantastic place to spend a few days, or a quiet weekend, enjoying beautiful accommodation and fabulous hospitality.

The owners, Kevin and Lorri, are incredibly friendly and helpful, as are the rest of the staff. The bright and airy reception areas of the house are beautifully decorated, and the painted tin ceiling in the dining area is just stunning. Accommodation is spread over the house and an adjacent carriage house. Photographs and detailed descriptions of each room are available on the easy to navigate hotel website, and you can select the actual room you wish to stay in when you book. Some include four poster beds and /or Jacuzzi baths.

We chose the Mary Delight, a beautiful room in the main house, built in 1889. It is furnished with exquisite Belgian antiques and a wonderful four-poster canopy bed. The room was sumptuously decorated, with gorgeous gold toned linens and we were surrounded by luxury during our stay. In the window alcove there were two antique chairs, perfect for relaxing in, either side of a small table with a decanter of complimentary sherry, tiny crystal glasses and some chocolates, which were replaced daily.

It’s this attention to detail that we loved. Nothing is too much trouble for the owners or staff, and they do everything they can to make sure your stay is a memorable one. There is always coffee brewing in the dining room, along with a pretty decanter of iced water and cakes or cookies on the antique sideboard. They recommended restaurants and made dinner reservations for us, offer a complimentary wine and cheese hour every evening, and the breakfasts are just amazing.  Homemade granola, grapefruit with sherry sauce, pineapple with red wine sauce and lovely hot dishes are only a few of the delights on offer. In fact, the breakfasts are so good I’m going to devote my next post entirely to them!

There are also special events arranged for guests. When we arrived Friday night, we were just in time for a special wine and food pairing tasting. Given by Chris Rota from V Sattui vineyards, generous tastes of wonderful wines were paired with complementary foods. I have to confess I was so enjoying myself I didn’t take detailed notes, but the wines were just beautiful. We tasted over eight, including a crisp Sauvignon Blanc with artichoke dip, a full-bodied Riesling with salty smoked almonds and a rich Cabernet Sauvignon with a delicious cheddar and also with chocolate! We finished with a wonderful Madeira matured using very old barrels and a special technique that means some of the wine contained in the blend we drank was 128 years old. It was like nothing I had ever tasted before – rich, full bodied, and gorgeous.  This tasting was such a wonderful opportunity to learn more about wines and the foods they go with, well beyond the old-fashioned  and sometimes erroneous ‘red wine with red meat and white wine with poultry and fish’ we’ve all grown up with. It also started the evening off on a wonderful note, and gave us the opportunity to chat with other guests and get to know them a little.

Hennessey House is the perfect base from which to explore the Napa Valley, located as it is in the town of Napa itself. You can strike out easily from there to explore the beautiful nearby towns of St Helena and Calistoga, or go further afield if you choose. The scenery in this area is just stunning, with green rolling hills leading off to the mountains in the distance and incredibly blue skies. Wineries open for tastings are around virtually every corner, and when you return to Napa at night there are plenty of excellent restaurants within walking distance of the Inn.

I highly recommend staying at Hennessey House when you visit the Napa Valley. We had a marvellous time during our weekend there, and look forward to returning in the future.  Be sure to check back for my next post about their wonderful breakfasts – along with a special recipe from Lorri for one of the tastiest breakfast dishes I have ever eaten.

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