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Hennessey House

Napa Valley’s Bed and Breakfast Gem

Hennessey House

Hennessey HouseThe legendary Napa Valley is undoubtedly a favorite destination by many.  In addition to its growing food scene with new restaurants and markets popping up, the experience of visiting wineries in Napa Valley is simply unforgettable.  Both large commercial wineries and small, independent producers in Napa make spectacular wines and because you can never try them all, that is a reason to always return to Napa.  Once you have decided to visit Napa, the next step is finding the ideal place to stay that will make your trip a special and wonderful one.  Skip the big chain hotels that cost over $400 a night and instead treat yourself to a more pampered and personal experience at the family-owned Hennessey House, a bed and breakfast that has been in operation for over 30 years.  Located in Historic Downtown Napa, they are a short walk to Napa’s restaurant row for food and entertainment, but within a residential district to offer quiet and solitude. 

Hennessey HouseThe Hennessey House holds a great deal of history as it was built in 1889 by Dr. Hennessey, a prominent local physician and the mayor of Napa.  The Hennessey family established its roots in Napa as Lake Hennessey, the main source of water for the city is named after the family.  Today, the family that owns and operates the inn is The Walsh Family.  Innkeepers, Kevin and Lorri Walsh, purchased the establishment in the summer of 2004 and made it their own.  Before that, they were stressed from working high powered jobs in Silicon Valley that competed for time with their three children.  Kevin and Lorri decided they wanted a lifestyle where one parent would not have to consistently travel for business.  When they found the Hennessey House in Napa, the rest was history and they are now 12 years going strong. 

Hennessey HouseThe inn is situated on a ½ acre lot surrounded by beautiful gardens and a relaxing and inviting patio where guests can unwind with a glass of wine.  There is a private parking lot in the back for guests.  The Hennessey House has ten uniquely decorated guestrooms split between the main house and the back carriage house, so that guests can pick which room would suit them best.  The carriage house is a detached property a few yards away from the main house and has four guestrooms.  In the main house, there are six guestrooms, in addition to the reception desk, dining room, and parlor.  The parlor, or commonly referred to as the living room entertainment center, has a television for guests to watch, as well as books and games to borrow. 

Hennessey HouseOur stay in the Upstairs Hideaway room could not have been more perfect as this very private room located up the back staircase offers privacy and quiet.  The room was spacious with a separate sitting area with two lounge chairs and a day bed that can sleep a third person.  The electric fireplace was a nice touch as well as the television in the sitting area, which is also the only television in a guestroom in the main house.   Since guests are there to get away, the innkeepers refrained from putting televisions in the main house guestrooms, with the exception of Upstairs Hideaway.  However, all guestrooms in the carriage house have televisions available for guests who prefer such.   

The Upstairs Hideaway had a gorgeous bathroom with lovely marble tile and a claw foot tub that beckoned you to indulge in a relaxing bubble bath.  There was also a showerhead option which was a well-thought out feature on the part of the innkeepers, knowing that some guests would want the option of both a bath and shower.  Our room also had a decanter of sherry and two chocolates to welcome our stay.  All guest rooms offer private baths with showers, luxury linens, custom bath accessories, sherry, chocolates, free high-speed wireless Internet access, hairdryers, and irons with ironing boards.  By luxury linens, they mean the softest, silkiest, most comfortable sheets and bedding you have ever experienced.  This inn is known for their exquisitely comfortable bedding and as a courtesy for their guests, they are happy to order you a set to take home. 

Hennessey HouseSelf-serve coffee is ready by 7 a.m. for guests to enjoy there or take up to their rooms.  Afternoon tea and fresh baked treats are available starting 3:15 p.m.  One of the most memorable aspects of our stay was being pampered with a home cooked breakfast.  Served daily from 9-10 a.m., Lorri and her wonderful staff prepare the breakfast from scratch each day.  Breakfast starts with a first course, usually fresh seasonal fruit of some sort, Hennessey Housefollowed by a hearty homemade breakfast entrée.  The kind and attentive staff brings the dishes to each guest at the table and collects the plates as well, exemplifying the spectacular service Hennessey House offers.  Lorri shared that her favorite first courses are Berries Lemoncello and Watermelon Gazpacho.  For entrees, her favorites include Tarragon Leek Eggs with garden seasoned Hennessey House potatoes, and Crepes Florentine with asparagus in an orange butter sauce.  In the afternoon, not to be missed is their daily fabulous wine and cheese reception from 5-6:30 p.m.  On warmer days, it is held on their patio under the trees so guests can sample a delicious array of fine cheese, fruits, preserves and variety of Napa wine. 

Given that Napa has a plethora of inns to choose from, we asked Kevin and Lorri what makes Hennessey House unique from other inns in Napa.  They said, “We have a great location at the top of restaurant row on Main Street Napa.  We are also the closest B&B to the Napa Valley Wine Train.”  While we did not have a chance to ride the Wine Train on this visit, we spoke with other guests who did, and enjoyed it immensely.  A building like Hennessey House is sure to hold great history, in addition to special memories.  Looking back on some of her own favorite memories, Lorri shares, “We love watching our guests unwind as they soak in the warm, relaxing atmosphere of Hennessey House.”  She calls it the “Hennessey House Effect,” where guests have been known to pad around the house or on the patio in their stocking feet, while enjoying a glass of Napa Valley wine.  And if that is not enough, the inn also has a sauna on the back porch, available for use 24 hours a day. 

Hennessey HouseHennessey House gets a lot of repeat guests and it is easy to see why.  Guests often really enjoy the personal service from the innkeepers, who get to know the guests by name during their stay.  This was our first stay at Hennessey House and surely will not be our last as we enjoyed every moment and felt a tug when it was time to leave.  Kevin and Lorri are always thinking of how to improve the inn and offer guests the very best.  In the winter of 2015, they recently completed a renovation in their main house while also refreshing some rooms and the parlor.  In the future, they hope to add a couple more rooms to the establishment.  In addition to being owners of the inn, their other full-time job is being parents to 3 lovely kids.  How does one juggle both?  Lorri answers, “Well, it’s a real challenge.  We are involved in our business seven days a week, but it does give us flexibility to be very involved with our children’s lives.”  Quality time with their children is of utmost importance to Kevin and Lorri.  In their spare time, the kids love visiting their grandparents who live nearby in San Francisco and Palo Alto. The Walsh family also enjoys taking their annual family trip to Lake Tahoe. 

Anyone can see that Kevin and Lorri pour their hearts, passion, blood and sweat into Hennessey House.  They add, “Finding a balance between work and family is a real challenge.  There are many challenges with running a bed and breakfast like the Hennessey House, but it provides a work/family balance that works for us, 12 years and counting.”

Hennessey House
1727 Main Street
Napa, California 94559


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