Tucked away on an eight-acre estate at the top of St. Helena’s main street, the Harvest Inn by Charlie Palmer could easily be mistaken for a private country manse somewhere in England, or even northern France. Its lush gardens are traversed by winding pathways, and its brick-accented, Tudor-inspired architecture suggests somewhere far more Old World than upstart Napa. Even its sinuous pools and cozy rooms (many with fireplaces and private outdoor hot tubs, mind you) are reminiscent of a style somewhat less rustic-chic than tends to be in vogue here in wine country. Indeed, by Napa Valley standards, the intimate inn is part of the old guard, its original 25 rooms dating back to (gasp) 1975, just after the famed Judgment of Paris tasting brought the region’s New World wines into the international spotlight.
But the Harvest Inn is no less luxurious than the new resorts popping up all over Napa Valley. It has one of the most desirable locations in one of the most desirable parts of the world, surrounded by celebrated vineyards and presiding over arguably the most picturesque town in wine country. And, since chef-entrepreneur Charlie Palmer purchased it in 2014, the inn now has a buzzing restaurant—no mean feat in an area so obsessed with food and drink.
Have you been here? Share a tip or a photo with fellow travelers.
Not only is the Harvest Inn located along Napa Valley’s main thoroughfare (putting the entire valley and its many wineries at your fingertips, for either cycling or driving), but it’s also a mile from the historic center of St. Helena, which is home to some of the best shopping and dining (and drinking, of course). Somewhat less over-the-top than Yountville, and quieter than Napa, St. Helena strikes a balance between tourists and locals, with popular spots such as Goose & Gander, Long Meadow Ranch, and Gott’s Roadside drawing crowds of both. While the focus is primarily on food and wine, visitors can take a break from imbibing at spots like the Napa Valley Wine Library Association and the historic Cameo Cinema, home to the Napa Valley Film Festival. And, of course, the hotel itself is surrounded by wineries, including the longtime favorite Corison Winery.
Need to Know
Rooms: 78 rooms, five suites. From $415. Check-in: 3 p.m.; check-out: noon. Dining options: As a chef, Charlie Palmer’s first order of business was to give the inn its own gourmet restaurant—an airy, convivial space with a terrace for alfresco dining and a focus on seasonal, sustainable local ingredients, sourced from the top regional purveyors and the inn’s own culinary garden. A free breakfast is served daily for guests, and brunch, lunch, and dinner are also offered. Both the restaurant and its lively bar—with, naturally, an exceptional wine list—have quickly become trendy St. Helena destinations. The full restaurant menu is also available in your room.
Who it’s best for: Mature oenophile couples and older families who prioritize location and character. Our favorite rooms: Not only do the Vineyard Fireplace View & Spa rooms have romantic fireplaces, perfect for cool California nights, but their private patios have hot tubs with panoramic views of the surrounding vineyards. Instant wheels: Ready for a night out on the town—or vineyards? On most evenings, the inn has a house car at the ready to whisk guests off to tastings at a nearby winery or a romantic dinner in Yountville.