We just returned from a mid week trip to the wine country and this time we stayed at the Harvst Inn. Over the years we have stayed in just about every town in the area and we have always stayed in great places. We like staying in the St Helena end of the valley. Not that there aren't great hotels in other towns but St Helena is a nice town for window shopping and eating.
The Harvest Inn was terrific. My wife gave it to me for my birthday. She splurged and booked us a fireplace room. I had always felt that the Harvest Inn was too big to offer that cozy wine country get away experience. I knew that they catered to business conferences and being around business meetings and seminars, even if you don't have to attend them is not conducive to relaxation. Negative waves and bad memories.
There was a small business group there but we still felt like the place was all ours, the layout of the grounds and the orientation of the rooms makes for a very private experience. We never really crossed paths with them.
The architecture is what I would call large old English country inn, dislclaimer, I have never been to the English countryside inn. The brickwork is the central theme and borders on storybook. I loved it. Lots of very interesting patterns some that included glass bottles, clinker brick and wood beams. I think the buildings compliment the gardens perfectly and visa versa. Grounds keepers keep the place imaculate, not one dead flower or leaf out of place. Just walking the gardens was a real treat.
Our room was very spacious and well laid out. I felt torn, should we go out or just spend the day on the large patio reading, pull a couple of corks, listen to the fountains, looking at the vinyards, walking in the gardens, swiming in the large pool and burning wood in the fireplace. It is that pleasant. The fireplace room cost extra but it for me it was a nice spluge and they provided plenty of wood. I love the sound and smell of wood fires and called for more wood twice. They were at the door in less than 10 minutes both times, and happy to be of help.
I love big breakfasts when traveling and I didn''t really want to go eat some tiny continental breakfast but it was included so I felt obliged. The Breakfast room was perfect, the best view of any restaurant in the valley. Lots of tables both inside and out. The entire back end of the room looks out on vinyards and mountains. Most important the food was substantial. Not just the usual fruit, yogrurt and pastries but 3 types of coffee, top shelf teas, hearty Quiches, cheese platters and better than usual pastries.
Bottom line I have found my new favorite place in the wine country. The staff was very nice, attentive and eager to please. One caveat, we were there mid week. There were some spring break families in the area but I know it can get a whole lot more busy. That said I have a feeling the Harvest Inn staff and facility is built to handle the peak season.