After nearly 6 years of planning, changes and juggling, Thomas Keller won approval for his luxury 20 room inn from Yountville’s Town Council by a 4-0 vote. The inn will offer visitors who dine at the French Laundry an opportunity to combine the fine dining with the same quality of lodging if they stay overnight in Yountville.
The inn will be constructed on a 3.1 acre site across the street from the French Laundry. The site will retain the culinary gardens currently in use for dishes prepared at the restaurant. The general look of the new inn will be flat roofed buildings with a minimalist, geometric form, built of simple, humble materials said John Frame, the architect. The inn’s name was originally submitted as the Aloysius Inn and should break ground next spring. As as writing this article, I have been unable to ask Thomas how he chose the name Aloysius and if he elects to continue to call the inn by this name. In case you wonder, according to one web site Aloysius comes from Old German and means “famous Warrior”. Knowing Thomas, he has probably put a lot of thought behind the name and as soon as I find out, I will let you know.
Since opening his world known eatery, the French Laundry, Thomas Keller has been prolific in expanding his presence here. Through the years, he has purchased several residential properties, the site of his Inn, the old Diner (now Ad Hoc and his soon to be hamburger joint), and Beard Plaza (a commercial center which used to be a horse corral for the old Wells Fargo Bank which is now Bouchon). Bouchon and the Bouchon Bakery he leases from clients of mine who I sold the building to back in 1996. As many locals express their thoughts of his doings, Yountville is often jokingly said to be “Kellerville”.
Given Thomas’ attention to detail, there is no doubt of the success of his inn. As put be one local resident during the comment period before the Council, “This is one of the most carefully planned projects I’ve seen in Yountville”. No doubt the price you will pay for staying there will be par with the prices one pays in dining at the French Laundry. This is not saying it won’t be worth it and for all who do stay there in the future, what a wonderful experience it will be.