Hotels savor demand in northern California's wine country

New entrant, Hotel Trio, will play up location and affordability.

August 25, 2017 |

The 122-unit Hotel Trio in Sonoma County is one of several hospitality projects under development in California's wine regions. Image: Courtesy R.D. Olson Construction

The Wine Institute estimates that nearly 24 million people visit the 4,653 wineries in California’s wine regions each year. That tourism's economic impact in the state, which last year totaled $57.6 billion, includes a robust hospitality and lodging market. While construction slowed a bit last year, there were 26 hotels with 2,204 rooms in the planning stages for northern California’s vineyard-rich Sonoma County, and 13 hotels with 1,621 rooms being planned for Napa Valley, according Atlas Hospitality Group’s 2016 California Hotel Development Survey.

Earlier this month, construction began on one of those establishments, the $24 million, 122-key Hotel Trio in Healdsburg, Calif., which CU Investors, its developer, expects to open next April.

The 82,638-sf hotel, situated in the Sonoma wine country, will serve the Dry Creek, Russian River, and Alexander Valley areas (hence, the “trio”). It will be within walking distance of a host of wineries and have convenient access to hundreds more within a 30-mile radius of the site.

The hotel will include 13 one-bedrooms and 109 studios, and primarily will target individuals and couples who are staying over for a few nights, says Bill Wilhelm, president of R.D. Olson Construction, the GC on this project, who spoke with BD+C earlier this week.

“The hotel will bring a much-needed, cost-effective option to the area for visitors who are looking for a high-end experience in a prime location,” said Matt Grubb, Olson’s Vice President of Construction, in a prepared statement.

Hotel Trio’s amenities will include a bar, meeting room, outdoor pool, barbecue area, lounge, fully equipped fitness center, and multiple outdoor patios with fireplaces. There will be on-premises wine tasting events, and Wilhelm expects the hotel to eventually tie into some of the local vineyards.

The facility will offer guests on-site bicycle rentals, as biking is a very popular transportation mode for touring wine country. (Wilhelm says Olson has incorporated bike-rental services in several of its newer hotels, including one that it’s completing near Los Angeles International Airport.)

Axis/GFA Architecture + Design is the designer of Hotel Trio, which Wilhelm says draws some of its design features—such as its Craftsman-style exterior, clerestory windows, and trellises—from characteristics of the Alexander Valley.

The rest of the Building Team includes ZFA Structural Engineers, CSW/Stuber-Stroeh Engineering Group, and Tuan and Robinson Engineering.

Wilhelm says this project encompasses a 37-unit apartment building under construction on the same parcel as the hotel. Some of those apartments will be workforce housing that’s priced affordably based on the market’s requirements. This building’s design will match the hotel’s, and it will open around the same time.

Despite local impediments such as finding subs and managing costs, Olson, says Wilhelm, currently has two other hotel deals in the works for Napa Valley, each in its “conceptual” stage. 

Overlay Init