Whole Ownership Hotels: The Westin Verasa Napa Residences is about to awaken Napa from a sleepy little town to a highly desirable destination for elite travelers. The area previously regarded as the penultimate stop before entering the Wine Country is receiving a major makeover with the opening of the first upscale mixed-use development is going to forever change the social climate of Napa for the better.

The opening of the Westin Verasa along with the nearby 40,000 square-foot Oxbow Public Market and the developments along the Napa River is shaping Napa into the hospitality hub of the entire Napa Valley. The hotel is going to be quite the gastronomical experience for epicureans being a block from the Oxbow Public Market and the American Center for Wine, Food and the Arts (COPIA), as well as the wineries and wine trains. However, the coup de grâce is having the award-winning restaurant, La Toque, onsite.

Chef Ken Frank, the owner and former corporate executive chef for the Lancaster Hotels and Resort Group, brings his unique French-California cuisine to the Westin Verasa with great expectations for Napa.

I've watched Napa evolve to the point where it's really ready to take center stage in the valley, said Frank. He further added, I'm very excited about all the development and the positive things that are happening in downtown Napa. With Oxbow, COPIA, and a bunch of wine bars downtown, Napa is going to become the go-to destination in Napa Valley in the next 10 years.

La Toque was named one the Best Restaurants in America by Wine Spectator magazine. Chef Frank is also known for his charity work, including supporting Love Is Feeding Everyone (LIFE), Share Our Strength (SOS), Project Angel and several others.

The three-story whole-ownership hotel located along the scenic Napa River is set to open in late September. The 4.5-acre complex is made up one-and two-bedroom suites as well as studio units. The American Craftsman architecture of the WVNR is without question inspired by the indigenous surroundings, as there are numerous accents of wood, stone, and concrete throughout the landscape. There is a large courtyard around the pool that leads up to the river walks and the surrounding festivities.

Owners can stay at the hotel for up to 29 days yearly. Along with the swimming pool, additional amenities include a Reebok gym, bocce ball courts, hot tubs, a lobby bar and a very special restaurant. Conference space for both business and social affairs also is on the premises.

Intrawest is the developer of this soon-to-be-completed project. The company has developed several upscale properties with Westin Hotels & Resorts in Copper Mountain, Whistler, Mammoth, and Squaw Valley. A limited number of resort residences are available starting from the mid-$400,000s. Alain Pinel Realty is managing the sales effort.

The Westin Verasa Napa Residences, which is the first luxury property built in Napa in around five years, is certain to stimulate the affluent community most positively. Let the wining begin!

For LxM James Rothaar