Every once in awhile the stars align, magic happens, and you find the perfect hotel.....Bella Notte is just such a place. Having read the reviews on Trip Advisor, we thought we would find a good hotel and instead found a truly excellent one where the owners have paid attention to every detail and are on the premises to make sure their guests needs are truly satisfied.
We arrived after a long flight from the East Coast on April 17th to a warm and friendly welcome and with an offer of refreshments from Carol. We then checked out our room, and to our surprise it rose way beyond our expectations. Our initial amazement came from the sheer size of this room.....from the reviews on this board every room is unusually large. It was quickly followed by our personal 'must haves', which is a clean quiet room. Bella Notte is a quiet, spotless, well-appointed room with a comfortable bed and deluxe linens. This is a family run hotel that was built from the ground up with only the best materials. From the furniture to the heated bathroom tiles, everything is high end and clearly no expense was spared to make this that elusive 'perfect place' to call your home away from home. The longer we stayed the more we noticed the little details inside and outside of the hotel that separate this from the big chain hotels.
These owners genuinely care about this hotel and their guests, and it absolutely shows in every single thing they do. They offer a well thought out breakfast, bottles of refreshments, luxurious robes and more importantly, the one thing that seems to fall short in the best five star hotel these days, and that's the feeling that you...that your stay in their hotel, matters to them.
This is a remarkable hotel, run by owners and a staff that greet you like old friends, and by the time you check out, make you feel as though you left family.
If negative stars could be given, Uva would get minus five. A good restaurant is not only about the food, but also about the service. We cannot tell you about the food because we walked out after begrudgingly paying for two glasses of wine that we ordered with the intention of enjoying with our meal.
We were looking for good Italian food, and our hotel Concierge recommended Uva. When she showed us the online menu the offering that sold us was the vegetarian plate, pasta and vegetables. The vegetables offered on the pasta were similar to that of the vegetarian pizza.
We also needed a gluten free plate and saw that GF pasta could be substituted for an additional $3. The Concierge called Uva, and after confirming that they did indeed have the vegetarian option along with the GF pasta, she secured us a 7pm reservation.
We arrived at Uva and were greeted by a warm and welcoming hostess, the only pleasant part of our short time spent there. When we received our menus it was clear that what we saw online was very different. We were handed a paper menu with fewer offerings, and were immediately informed that two of the dishes listed were unavailable. This was 7pm on a Saturday night in a restaurant that was not yet filled. We saw that the vegetarian pasta dish was not listed as well. After taking our drink order we questioned the waitress about the vegetarian option. She confirmed that they offered a vegetarian plate, but had to question the cook, who will not be referred to as a chef in this review as it would be an insult to actual chefs. She returned and said the cook was being 'temperamental' and he refused to make anything vegetarian other than plain pasta. He would not cook the vegetables. He told the waitress we could purchase the 'side' vegetable, broccoli, for an additional $5.00.
It should be noted that the pasta dishes on the menu had accompaniments.....among them, sausage, chicken, prawns, bolognaise, and the veggie pizza was still an offering. We asked the waitress if he could take the veggies that he would normally place on the pizza and put them on the pasta instead. He refused that idea, so we have to assume that either the pizza is pre-made and frozen or the cook has a serious attitude problem. Trying to work through the temperamental cook and salvage the evening, we asked the waitress what they would charge for a plate of gluten free pasta with sauce and nothing else - the pasta dishes with toppings ranged between $12-19 with the seafood offering at $22. She couldn't answer us and went yet again to ask the cook, and we watched as she also spoke to the Manager. She returned apologetically saying that it would be $17 for just pasta and sauce and an additional $5.00 for the one vegetable side.
Now we had watched the waitress speak with the Manager twice, and twice he was completely dismissive. He made zero attempt to look into the rectangle hole in the wall where you could see the many cooks milling about and ask why they were being difficult about a plate of pasta. He made zero attempt to explain why a plate of plain gluten free pasta cost more than a plate of gluten free pasta with chicken or sausage. Essentially we were being asked to pay more to remove the toppings.
The waitress honestly didn't look all that surprised by this, which should be a warning for future customers, but just agreed that it was irrational and apologized. She went to get the bill for the wine that we couldn't enjoy. On our way out the door, the hostess, who was the only person in that low level restaurant to seem genuinely concerned as to why we were leaving, offered to get the Manager assuring us that he would take a look into this entire situation. She had no idea that her Manager had already been involved and how little he cared about customers. As we found out later, the owner is rarely there, and as long as the restaurant does well, he doesn't care either.
As we checked out of our hotel we were asked how our stay was by the Hotel Manager. She told us that she was shocked that Uva was their Concierge's recommendation, and went on to say that most people knew that the restaurant was known to serve sub-par food and it was not a place she would ever recommend.
Downtown Napa has quite a few restaurants and some of them fill up rather quickly with tourists. It's puzzling how anyone can rate this restaurant above two stars. Unfortunately, most tourists get burned going to Uva the first time because of these questionable recommendations. Fortunately there are other places, like Ristorante Allegria that have chefs that not only know how to cook, but a staff that know how to treat their customers well, and are genuinely happy to do so. Try that restaurant, try any other restaurant, hell just grab a sandwich and eat in your hotel room, but avoid Uva at all costs if you are sincerely interested in a nice night out in Napa.