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Shell Vacations' Vino Bello Resort Opens in Napa
July 5, 2006 – Northbrook, IL -- It’s not every day that an independently owned and developed timeshare resort and a privately owned hotel open simultaneously on the same piece of land, especially in a place like Napa, California, where there are few hotels and even fewer timeshare resorts.

But that’s exactly what’s happening in July as Shell Vacations LLC, one of the nation’s leading independent vacation ownership developers, celebrates the grand opening of the 116-key Vino Bello Resort, considered its flagship property. Opening at the same time is the 158-room Meritage Resort at Napa, developed by Pacific Hospitality Group (PHG) an unrelated entity. Both properties have been built on 12 acres in the shadow of Napa’s landmark Grape Crusher statue, south of the city and in the heart of Napa’s Carneros Region. 

“While there is no formal partnership involved, we are sharing the same piece of land and have many cross uses,” explained Shell Vacations CEO Sheldon Ginsburg, in describing this unique association. “It’s more of a joint-use agreement that will result in significant benefits to everyone involved, including guests at both properties with the Meritage staff checking in Shell guests and providing additional services.”

After two years of work with the Napa Planning Commission, Shell Vacations – based in Northbrook, Illinois - received development approval and closed on the property in July 2004. It was the only remaining Napa land that had been zoned for vacation ownership. Development plans for the mixed-use property called for a hotel and a premium purpose-built vacation ownership resort. A major element of the Planning Council’s approval was based on Shell’s – and the hotel’s - commitment to create an architecturally and environmentally acceptable design that blends with the surrounding Napa Valley area. 

According to Simon Crawford-Welch, Ph.D., RRP, Executive Vice President of Sales & Marketing, “Vino Bello will be sold as part of the point-based Shell Vacations Club - West region and is expected to be in high demand by our Club members. Initial sales of SVC-West at our on-site Napa Preview Center are almost double our budgeted numbers and only strengthen our belief that Vino Bello will be an excellent strategic fit, considering our large California owner base,” he says. 

Although the area welcomes more than ten million annual visitors who come to tour the functioning 500 or so wineries in Napa and nearby Sonoma County, Napa Valley has only 3,000 hotel rooms, the majority of which are small bed and breakfast establishments. 

Crawford-Welch adds that their marketing team intends to tap into this burgeoning Napa Valley tourism traffic and has established strong joint marketing alliances with area businesses and attractions. Perry Bergelt is Regional Director of Sales & Marketing for Shell Vacations – West and John Carter is Regional Director of Marketing. 

The Vino Bello rendering
About Vino Bello

After developing 23 resorts and nearly 40 years in the business, Ginsburg and his Shell Vacations development team have learned what their 100,000 Shell Vacations Club (SVC) members/owners desire in vacation accommodations. The Vino Bello - the masculine version of the Italian words “beautiful wine” - is the culmination of this extensive knowledge. 

According to Jeffrey Server, Shell’s Executive VP of Acquisitions/Development, who has spent over 4 ½ years bringing this project online, “This resort is the most expensive we have ever built on a per key basis. We have pulled out all the stops on this one!” 

The interior design team was headed by the Orlando office of Wimberly, Allison, Tong & Goo (WATG). According to Elaine Lazarus, responsible for all Shell Vacations interior design, WATG has done several other Shell projects in Arizona and Hawaii.

Designed in an Old World, Tuscan/Italian theme, the Vino Bello features spacious one- and two-bedroom units, with every modern convenience. Says Lazarus, “This resort is clearly the ‘crown jewel’ of all our 23 resorts with elegant, highest quality custom carved furnishings to meet the needs of our discriminating Shell Vacations Club members and their expectations of a unique Napa Resort.” 

All units will include a 37” flat panel wall-mounted TV in the living room and 27” flat panel wall-mounted televisions in each of the bedrooms. The master bedroom will include a Jacuzzi tub with luxurious bedding packages. Porches have a variety of views with some overlooking a growing vineyard on the property. The porches on studio units feature seating for two while the porches on larger units include seating for four with a rocking bench. 

Amenities include a swimming pool, Jacuzzi and children’s pool and water spray playground, and state-of-the-art exercise facility with a large flat panel mounted television. 

Shell Vacations Club members will also have access to the hotel’s 118-seat Siena Restaurant, a full-service Tuscan inspired restaurant with a California theme.  Also on the hotel site is a 60-seat Chapel named “Our Lady of the Grapes” which opens to vineyard views. 

About The Meritage Hotel at Napa

The Pacific Hospitality Group, a hotel development and management company that develops and manages a portfolio of luxury hotels and resorts in Arizona and California, developed the Meritage Resort at Napa. PHG will manage both the Meritage and the Vino Bello bringing to future vacationers and business travelers the best of both worlds with their first-class operations and customer support services.

Built and marketed to the business traveler and corporate groups, The Meritage Resort at Napa features the largest convention facilities in Napa. The Meritage’s underground Spa Terra and Estate Wine Cave facilities will be open to hotel and Vino Bello visitors later in the year, creating a full-service resort experience for guests. With over 14,000 square feet of conference facilities, the hotel expects to attract business travelers and corporate groups. 

They are a member of Preferred Hotels and Resorts Worldwide, an exclusive global brand of independently owned luxury hotels and resorts. To qualify as a Preferred hotel or resort, each property must meet exceptional criteria of hospitality standards.

Headquartered in Northbrook, Illinois, Shell Vacations is considered one of the most respected independent vacation ownership developers in the United States, operating 23 resorts in seven states and Mexico and Canada. Other California resorts include: The Inn at the Opera, The Suites at Fisherman’s Wharf, the Donatello Hotel in San Francisco and Peacock Suites in Anaheim. The company has over 2,000 employees and a hospitality division serving over 100,000 members and owners.


Simon Crawford-Welch
847-564-4600, Ext. 164

Marge Lennon

Also See: New England Resort Becomes Second Shell Vacations Systems Franchisee / June 2005

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