La Belle Epoque Napa Valley Showcased Its New, Improved Look During An Open House-It Was Standing Room Only At This Special Affair.

Share Article

Napa News, the publisher of the Napa Register and other local newspapers published this article by Julie Gordon, Staff Writer. La Belle Epoque completes 2-year upgrade Historic bed and breakfast, inn remained open during the upgrade work in Napa.

La Belle Epoque showcased its new, improved look during an open house - it was standing room only at this special affair.

Napa News, the publisher of the Napa Register and other local newspapers published this article by Julie Gordon, Staff Writer.

The historic bed and breakfast at 1386 Calistoga Ave. in Napa recently finished a two-year upgrade of its nine bedrooms, which now have 600 to 900 thread count sheets, new wallpaper and paint on the walls and reupholstered furniture, according to Lynette Sands, who owns the business with her husband Steve. Some of the rooms also now have Jacuzzis.

"Everything is brand new," Sands said.

"It was pretty before, but now we've just stepped up a notch," said hospitality manager Ramona Newman.

La Belle Epoque never shut down while the rooms were being remodeled, Newman said. Each of the rooms was worked on and closed at a different time, enabling La Belle Epoque to remain open. Much of the design work was done by Indra Fortney, owner of La Vie Belle Interiors in Napa, whose emphasis is on European and Asian-influenced design. Fortney, who makes regular trips to France and Italy, selected artwork and accessories for the rooms.

"The idea is opulent," she said. "People want to feel like they're in a luxurious, opulent environment."

Several of La Belle Epoque's previous owners attended the open house.

Georgia Jump -- who sold La Belle Époque to the Sands about four years ago and now lives in Tucson -- said she likes the new look.

"She did a fantastic job," Jump said.

Claudia Wedepohl, who owned La Belle Epoque with her husband Merlin from 1989 to 1996, concurred.

"It's really quite nice," she said. "She continued the tradition of all the people who poured their life savings (into this bed and breakfast)."

Heidi Greer, who owned the house with Gene Webb from 1975 to 1979, said she is grateful that it is still in good condition.

"The old charm, the old woodwork, is all intact," she said. "That's the part I like the most."

La Belle Epoque's rooms are all named after wine varietals. Two of the rooms are actually in the Buckley House next door, which Lynette and Steve Sands also own.

La Belle Epoque, which means "the beautiful era" in French, is a fitting name for a bed and breakfast that has all the modern conveniences, yet takes guests back in time with its antique decor, stained glass and old time charm.

It's the only bed and breakfast in Napa Valley that has a wine tasting room, Sands said. The wines come from wineries such as Goosecross Cellars, Vintners Collective, Terra Valentine and Honig.

La Belle Epoque was named the No. 1 inn in the United States for wine tasting by Inn Traveler Magazine. It also was named one of the six bed and breakfasts with the best food in the United States by Reader's Digest New Choices Magazine.

The Victorian beauty was designed in 1893 by architect Luther M. Turton (who designed many of the buildings in Napa between 1876 and 1925) and built by Herman Schwartz, a successful hardware merchant and community leader, for his daughter Minnie, who occupied the house for less than four years before her death.

After standing vacant for several years the house was occupied by the Eagle Cycling club, which used it as a clubhouse. In 1903, the Silva family, owners of the Napa Soda Springs Mineral Water Company, purchased the house as a private residence. The family lived in the house until 1941 with their son Frank, who eventually became district attorney of Napa County. Between 1941 and 1980, the house had several owners. In 1981, Blanca Semmler acquired the house and gave it the name La Belle Epoque Bed and Breakfast Inn, which was one of the first bed and breakfasts in Napa Valley.


Lynnette Sands

La Belle Epoque Bed And Breakfast

1 800 238-8070


Share article on social media or email:

View article via:

Pdf Print

Contact Author