The Rooms: My instructions to our room interior designer Kristine Smith for our new wine country hotel were to design relaxing rooms with a contemporary feel. From colors, fabrics and furniture to the bathroom design, we wanted the look and feel to be calm, simple and serene – a place to recharge your batteries, away from the hubbub of city life. In other words, we wanted to carry the Ponte feel into the rooms, and to stretch the “day in the country” to a “stay in the country”. We are very happy with the results and hope you’ll agree that we got our money’s worth. The rooms are simply elegant and yet they have all the special conveniences and attention to detail that you’ve come to expect here at Ponte Winery.

Kristine has immense experience having designed many high-end hotels including the Inn at Torrey Pines and the Grand Californian at Disneyland. Look up some of her work at to see why we selected her for the team.

The public areas: When it came time to hire our common areas interiors, however, I wanted a different set of eyes. I felt that the reception, living room and lounge of a boutique hotel in wine country had to have plenty of eye candy and just had to be exiting. For this I knew I wanted someone who could interpret our vision of a high-end country home in early California, but filtered through a decidedly contemporary and hip lens.

I was lucky to find William Schneider, who was introduced by a friend. He’s currently designing the UCLA and USC hotels (coincidence) and another boutique hotel in Scottsdale. You can see his stuff at

We were frankly stunned at the presentation, bits of which I’m including in this blog as a teaser. He included a number of pieces of his own design, which I can only describe as 21st century Rancho Deluxe. Very fun!

For example, here’s the Reception and Concierge area furniture.

This is the Living Room elevation:

As you can see there is a nice fireplace. There are vineyard views from those big doors. There will be several different seating areas for reading, checking your iPad or sharing a cocktail with your friend or loved one.

Here’s the furniture in front and around the fireplace area:

Here are the lobby and reception elevations:

The feel of these areas is decidedly high-end residential–a home away from home. Imagine being a guest at a wealthy relative’s country house…

Finally here are some pieces from the lobby areas:

The Cellar Lounge design is also awesome. I don’t have those images handy so you’ll just have to keep tuned to see them.

Best regards,