Hotels are in high demand in central Napa Valley and there aren’t a whole lot of options. Harvest Inn Saint Helena, a luxury hotel in the central part of wine country, offers a cozy, small-town feeling (and will also help you to avoid resort fees). Before you plan your trip to wine country, read our review and consider putting this inn on your California wine map!
Things to Consider Before Booking with Harvest Inn
So, you’ve decided you would like to go to Napa Valley. Congratulations! Now it’s time to book a hotel. If your main intentions are wine tasting and fine dining, choosing lodging in the smaller towns north of Napa will put you right in the middle of wine country (and save you the time you’d spend driving back and forth from Napa and Sonoma).
Harvest Inn in St. Helena is ideal for 40+ travelers looking for a luxurious experience that is sophisticated yet unpretentious, without over-the-top amenities. It’s perfect for solo travelers or couples who wants a rustic yet elegant setting setting in the heart of Napa Valley.
Before booking this hotel, think about how often you plan to be in the town of Napa, as the hotel is over 30 minutes away and traffic is often congested on Highway 29.
This hotel has several nice amenities: two outdoor pools, two hot tubs, a small fitness center, and easy access to the sidewalks of St. Helena and roadways for biking. Some spa services are available with advance notice (the spa is located near the fitness center or you can arrange in-room services). Harvest Inn also provides convenient, on-demand, free shuttle service to nearby restaurants and wineries.
The Harvest Inn St. Helena, an Overview
The Harvest Inn is located at the southwest edge of the quaint town of St. Helena in the heart of Napa Valley. It is nestled next to Whitehall Lane Winery, just off Highway 29.
St. Helena is a fairly rural area. There are no shuttles or public transportation options from St. Helena or the Inn to nearby cities. If you are flying to California, you’ll need to rent a car, hire a private driver, or use rideshare apps like Uber or Lyft.
In addition to Harvest Inn’s on-site restaurant, the hotel is just a 20-minute walk to several well-regarded St. Helena restaurants, including Goose and Gander, Farmstead at Long Meadow Ranch, and Charter Oak. The Inn is also within walking distance of Sunshine Foods Grocery Store, Dean and DeLuca gourmet store, and a few of the best wineries in Napa Valley.
The Harvest Inn St Helena is:
75 miles north of San Francisco International Airport
70 miles southwest of Sacramento International Airport
68 miles northwest of Oakland International Airport and
28 miles east of Santa Rosa Airport
History and Construction
The hotel opened in 1975 with 25 rooms, and now has a total of 78 guest rooms across 17 brick and stone cottages. The cottages are grouped into four or five “neighborhoods” with walkways, green space, and pools. A line of evergreen trees helps separate the hotel from the two-lane highway, and over 300 magnificent redwood trees dot the eight acre hotel property. (And here’s a fun fact: there are over 2 million bricks on the property!)
The property has had a few different owners over the years, including chef Charlie Palmer. In 2018, the day-to-day operations were taken over by Woodside Hotel Group, an independent and family-owned chain of California hotels.
The rooms are renowned for their spaciousness. Room size starts at 350 square feet, though many are closer to 500 square feet. The Harvest Inn manor room is over 1000 square feet!
Most rooms have a wood fireplace (there are about 20 rooms with gas fireplaces and 14 rooms without fireplaces at all). Adjoining rooms are available.
Each room appears to have either a patio or balcony. Several rooms on the west side have full vineyard views (Whitehall Lane Vineyards) as well as a full view of the Mayacamas Mountains. These west-facing rooms also offer great sunset views! A few of these rooms also have private hot tubs.
There are about 22 second-story rooms, so if you have heavy luggage, ask for one of the ground level rooms or assistance with luggage from staff at check-in and check-out.
We stayed in one of the Fountain rooms at the east side of the property with peek-a-boo views of vineyards and the Mayacamas mountain range.When I arrived, there was a free bottle of wine in the room from an adjacent winery.
Each room is designed a little differently, though exposed brick and dark wood are common throughout. In our room, there was ample closet space and a large dresser. The room provided two bathrobes and pairs of slippers, as well as an umbrella. The flat screen TV provided premium TV channels, and the WiFi speed was fast and convenient for multiple devices. The desk was a comfortable space for writing or working. The mini-fridge was stocked with still water, sparkling water, and juice, and the room offered several publications on local events, wineries, restaurants, activities, and tours. The bathroom was spacious, with a natural stone shower separate from the updated tub. The king-sized room had a large vanity space for spreading out toiletries and beauty products. Hand soaps, shampoos, and toiletries were provided by C.O. Bigelow Apothecaries.
The Harvest Inn has free on-site parking, including two electric car charging stations. Free wifi is available in the rooms and in the common areas. The small on-site fitness center is equipped with basic fitness equipment, including treadmills and weights.
There is an on-site spa with three treatment rooms, and guests can arrange for in-room spa services for an additional cost. Spa services include massage, body treatments (like exfoliation), and facials. Wellness for Cancer massage experts are available. We suggest planning ahead for any of these services rather than waiting until your arrival so that you get the service(s) you desire. During our stay, it rained, though we learned that guests could get receive some spa services outside under the redwood trees during better weather conditions. How relaxing!
The Harvest Inn has a relationship with the nearby Silverado Golf Course, home of the PGA tour. Again, call ahead and the very helpful concierge can help you set up tee times - with the wonderful mediterranean climate, this course is likely quite popular!
Free wine tastings with nearby winery partners like Salvestrin Winery, HALL Winery, Whitehall Lane Winery, Merryvale Vineyards, and Heitz Wine Cellars are within walking distance of the hotel. Additional wineries within walking distance are Sutter Home, The Prisoner Wine Company, V Sattui, Pahlmeyer Wines, Meiomi Wines, Louis M Martini Winery, and Prager Winery and Port Works.
Finally, if you’re looking to keep up to date on local or national news while sipping a glass of wine, free daily newspapers are available at the Harvest Bar.
Grounds and Event Space
In addition to the nearly half-a-century old redwood trees and neighboring vineyards, the gardens include a Koi pond, evergreen and flowering shrubs, terraces, lawns, two swimming pools and two hot tubs, a botanical garden, and a few garden beds to supply the restaurant.
Unique artwork from St. Helena’s own Aerena Galleries and Gardens is on display. If you are interested in learning more about the art, someone at Aerena will come to the Inn to explain it further, or you can bike/walk into town (30-minute walk) and check out their beautiful exposed brick showroom.
In the event that business or a wedding (perhaps your own?) takes you to the valley, the Harvest Inn can help you with either. There are several areas in the property that include a mix of indoor and outdoor garden, lawn, and covered patio space. For weddings or other large events, you can rent out the entire Harvest Inn restaurant. (And hey, if you decide you want to elope, they can help with that, too!)
Harvest Inn boasts a full breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Most of the food is locally sourced, including a few items from their own gardens. All meals are served in either a main dining room or on a covered terrace. Room service is also available most days.
We enjoyed breakfast there several times. Their delicious Eggs Benedict featured english muffins from St. Helena’s famous Modal Bakery. Coffee is available to go in the morning, or you can sit and enjoy some French press coffee with your breakfast.
Adjacent to the dining room, the Harvest Bar features wines from the area as well as artisan cocktails. Beers on tap include two craft beers made on site and other beers from the region.
Other Factors to Consider
The Harvest Inn is not for budget travelers or travelers who want to pay for their rooms with chain hotel points. It is also not a good fit for travelers who need to be in close proximity to Napa or city activities. It is not ideal for travelers seeking modern, minimalistic design, a large swimming pool for doing laps, or a large gym. There are a limited number of dog-friendly rooms.
In addition to my our experience, other reviewers say that they are not disappointed when they pay a little more to get vineyard views. Guests staying near the adult-only pool report that it can be noisy until the pool closes around 11 pm. Other guests comment that the gym is rather small. Last, some guests are disappointed that the bar and restaurant are closed on Monday if they are tired from a full day of activities and want to stay in for the evening. There are, however, a few places in town that do deliver food and several restaurants within 20 minutes walking distance that are open on Mondays.
If you find that the Harvest Inn is fully booked, here are three alternatives.
Wine Country Inn in St. Helena is about the same age and has similar ambiance at about the same price point. We enjoyed a stay here a few years ago. More cottages have vineyard views and there are views of the Vaca Mountains. The rooms are a little more dated and I found the breakfast at Harvest Inn to have a much better selection. Here are a few more details about Wine Country Inn:
Located just north of St. Helena
Nestled in the vineyards
Pool and hot tub
Breakfast available, no lunch or dinner
No resort fee, limited spa services, no gym
Wanting the same ambiance but a little further down the road in Yountville? We recommend the Hotel Yountville. Their breakfasts are exceptional! Here are a few more details:
Boutique hotel with exposed stone walls
Breakfast and lunch available, many Michelin rated restaurants within 10 minutes walk, or take in-room dining
Pool and hot tub
Patios and balconies, no vineyard views
Last but not least, if rustic elegance is not your style and you want the newest and most luxurious hotel accommodations in St. Helena, try Los Alcobas just south of Beringer winery. Here are a few more details:
Marriott hotel for points-accumulating aficionados
Large and luxurious spa
10-15 minute walk to downtown St Helena
24 hour fitness facility
Restaurant headed by Top Chef alum Chris Cosentino
Luxury modern design
The Harvest Inn in St. Helena is perfect for couples or solo travelers who want to get away from it all and enjoy a bit of small town ambiance. It’s a very convenient and centralized homebase for wine tasting and dining and has luxury hotel amenities like spacious rooms and fine dining, without the resort fees. It is a good fit for people wanting a warm, rustic, and luxurious experience.
Cheers to happy travels!