Just off the main road through St. Helena in California’s Napa Valley, the Harvest Inn manages to feel worlds away from the traffic and noise of Highway 29. As soon as I pulled into the drive, I realized the property is much more spacious than it appears from the road.
On the far side of the property the breakfast room and several guest rooms overlook the vineyards. Stone paths lead to buildings done in the same style of masonry and surrounded by towering redwoods and beautifully landscaped grounds. Step just off one of these paths and take a seat on one of the rustic wooden chairs in a shaded garden grove or on a stone bench in front of a pond filled with giant koi, and all you’ll hear is the sound of a nearby fountain bubbling. It’s spaces like these that make the resort feel intimate despite its size, secluded despite its prime location.
I was extremely impressed with the Inn, not just for this serene setting, but for the luxury contained within. Despite my eagerness to explore the surrounding wineries, I couldn’t wait to get back to my room, to sink into the soft bed and relax by the fire with a glass of wine from the complimentary bottle waiting in each room.
King Fireplace Room with Patio
Harvest Inn offers several room types to choose from, including the more modern (and smaller and less-expensive) Deluxe rooms and the contemporary Fountain King rooms surrounding the event center. The Spa Vineyard View and Wine Country Suites offer the most space and include a sleeper sofa; both have fireplaces and terraces or patios while the Spa rooms have their own outdoor whirlpools.
But I preferred my room, a King Fireplace Patio room adjacent to the pool area (King Vineyard View rooms are also available).
My room was very spacious at 550 square feet, with a large closet, 37’ flat screen tv and DVD player, marble bathroom, mini-fridge, two leather club chairs, a work desk, and a semi-private patio. But the two aspects of the room that I loved the most were the massive stone fireplace (restocked with a bag of ready-to-burn kindling and wood each night) and the oh-so-comfortable king-sized bed. Staff at the Harvest Inn told me several guests have asked where they can buy them beds for their own homes.
Wine Country Amenities
The Harvest Inn offers the feel of a resort coupled with the services of a b&b. Each morning guests head to the Wine Country Kitchen for a free “European” breakfast including coffee, juice, cereal, bagels, toast and jam, muffins, croissants, meats and cheeses, fruit, make-your-own waffles, and quiche. But unlike at a typical b&b there’s no forced socializing, with plenty of tables for everyone. In the evenings, guests can relax in the Wine Bar, an inviting space decorated with leather couches, a massive stone fireplace, and a gleaming wood bar; on Fridays and Saturdays, local vintners share their wines along with small bites like cheese and assorted dips.
Spa and Pool
The Harvest Inn has two pool areas. One is adults-only and sits on the edge of the property near the spa and the small but functional fitness room. The other was closer to my room, ringed by the patios of adjacent rooms. Though it is a family-friendly pool and my visit fell on a summer Saturday, I only ever shared the pool with two other guests.
There’s also a small jacuzzi tub which, like the pool, is open 24 hours. I was particularly happy with this perk. So many resort pools close by 10 or 11pm, and there’s nothing more relaxing than soaking in a steamy whirlpool after a great meal.
Spa services are available in the small Garden Sanctuary, in guest rooms, or in the Redwood Grove, a tented cabana overlooking the vineyards in the shade of ancient redwood trees. Services include massages, facials, and body scrubs.
Good for Groups and Special Events
The Harvest Inn is an ideal spot for larger groups, like wedding parties, reunions, or bachelorette weekends. There are several event spaces, and they can accommodate weddings of up to 120 people. They also offer custom elopement packages for more intimate affairs. During my visit, there was a small ceremony set up overlooking the vineyards, with a cocktail hour on the expansive lawn and the reception in the Vineyard View room, which has oak floors and a large stone fireplace.
After a day of wine-tasting, no matter how slowly paced, you just may not want to get back in the car to drive to dinner. If you stay at Harvest Inn, you don’t have to. If you’re up for a pleasant walk, most of which is on a gravel path alongside the vines, you can reach several restaurants in about 15-20 minutes.
The farm-to-table Farmstead and Cindy Pawlcyn’s Brassica are .7 and .6 miles from the resort, and the restaurants of downtown St. Helena, like Goose & Gander and Market are only one mile. There are even several wineries, like Hall Wines and Prager Port Works, less than a quarter-mile from the Inn’s front entrance.
If You Go:
Check in time is 4pm; check out is at noon.
Rates start around $200 in off season but can go up to $600 during peak times. A minimum stay requirement is in effect during high season and many weekends. Pets are allowed in certain rooms for an additional fee and children are welcome. The resort is a non-smoking property.
I was a guest of the Harvest Inn, but all opinions are my own.
Book online at Hotels.com