The Southbridge Inn is located in an attractive, interesting complex at the south end of St. Helena, on the east side of Hwy. 29 and the railroad tracks where the Wine Train travels. The nicely landscaped, fountain-filled complex that has a creative mix of older buildings and contemporary ones is home to Southbridge, Tra Vigne restaurant and their separate Pizzeria (which provides the in-room dining for Southbridge), Health Spa Napa Valley, Merryvale Winery, and the small tasting room of Handwritten Winery. We had lunch at Tra Vigne’s Pizzeria and their ravioli and pizza were both fresh and tasty. The excellent location of Southbridge provides guests with an array of dining, wine tasting, and shopping choices. Just walking thru the complex as well of strolling St. Helena’s Main St. is a fun experience.
My choice of Southbridge for lodging was single-minded, however. It’s a sister property of nearby Meadowood Resort and we were celebrating a special occasion with dinner at The Restaurant at Meadowood. I had read on Southbridge’s web site that there was a complimentary car service to and from Meadowood and that seemed ideal for our situation. When I called Southbridge initially, the rep didn’t seem to be fully aware of the car service and I had to pursue the arrangement. All was then taken care of and we had prompt, very congenial service from the Meadowood drivers the night of our dinner. Our dinner was absolutely perfect in every way and we even received a short tour of the kitchen at the end of the evening.
Back to our Southbridge experience: We arrived a couple hours prior to the official check-in time of 4 p.m. and our room was ready. The check-in process was a breeze and the reception staff couldn’t have been warmer or more helpful. This continued throughout our stay. There is ample parking in front of the building with designated parking spaces for inn guests. The exterior of the building has an unembellished, contemporary look. The lobby and reception areas didn’t occupy a large space and possessed a serene ambiance; furnished simply but attractively.
All guest rooms are located on the 2nd floor and there is an elevator if one wants to bypass the stairs. Our room was #11 located about mid-way down the hall in the same building as the lobby. It was a comfortable size (425 sq. ft. according to the description). The vaulted ceiling, French doors and angled wall made the space seem even more airy and spacious. My favorite feature was the little Juliette-style balcony that over looked the courtyard. Trellises and walls were covered with beautiful wisteria--both white and lavender varieties. The vines were quite large and the blossoms’ sweet scent drifting thru the courtyard and into our room when we had the French door open. It was a very special treat! Altho’ our doors faced directly toward busy Hwy. 29, the sound proofing was excellent and only a very soft, muffled sound of traffic could be heard when our French doors were shut. At night--and this seems incredible--I heard no traffic at all because there wasn’t any. I was up at 12:30 a.m. and was gazing out for at least 5 min. and never saw a single vehicle on the highway. Needless to say, sleep was very peaceful.
Furnishings included: King bed, 2 bedstands, a small desk and chair, 2 upholstered arm chairs and a small table, and a large bureau chest with 3 drawers (TV was on top of the chest). I did notice a few small nicks and scrapes on the wooden furniture, but in general things looked well-maintained. Amenities included: Fireplace (not gas, a real one that used pressed logs), large flat panel Sony TV, (2) phones, iPod dock, clock radio, in-room safe, hairdryer, 2 spa robes, single-serve coffeemaker, honor basket with a small selection of snacks, small refrigerator with honor bar liquors, wine (limited selection) and sodas. Complimentary bottled water, 2 chocolate-topped cookies and 2 crisp apples were provided in the room. I have to say that the Illy coffee maker was the most inconvenient and difficult to use in-room machine I can recall ever having. Added to that, I had the ill luck to have popped in a defective coffee cartridge that didn’t puncture, so all I got (twice) was a cup of steaming water. Fortunately, the coffee in the downstairs breakfast room was really good! The wi-fi was spotty at times and I usually had to walk closer to the lobby stairs to get a strong signal. Wi-fi and net connection were free.
Decor and colors were subdued, natural and contemporary. Soft yellows, greens and browns were the predominant colors. Artwork on walls was varied but restrained: B/W vintage-look photographs of vineyards, watercolor prints of rural landscapes, and a mundane map of Napa Valley wineries above the hearth.
There was a rather small closet, made even smaller since it housed the in-room safe. The space would be cramped for hanging clothes if one were staying more than a couple of nights. A single luggage rack and limited hangers were provided.
Not enough electrical outlets were available. I found only one unused outlet in the main area of our room and there were none at desktop level. Multiple devices would need to be charged at the coffee bar or in the bathroom--not exactly convenient. The lamps on the bedstands, desk and small table provided limited light. They really weren’t bright enough for comfortable reading at night. Ceiling spotlights provided overall area lighting.
A wall thermostat controlled heat and A/C. With a minor adjustment, the temperature remained comfortable during our entire stay. The system’s fan was pretty quiet too.
Our bath was fairly small but functional. What took it beyond the ordinary was the 2-story light well with skylight that flooded the room with brightness during the day and made the space seem twice as large as it actually was. At night a wall sconce and a light bar above the counter area provided adequate, even lighting. The wall-mounted magnifying mirror had its own light. The bath had white tile flooring, rustic looking, ochre colored concrete counter and backsplash, and soft yellow painted walls. A couple of patches of paint were chipped/worn and the a floor tile was also chipped. I don’t recall any artwork at all in the bath. There was a standard shower/tub combo (the length of the tub did seem longer than most). A really nice, practical feature was the shower curtain rod which bowed outward, providing much more comfortable space instead of allowing the curtain to press in on you. The water temperature held steady, but the hot setting needed to be turned up to the maximum to achieve a comfortable temperature. Water pressure was borderline due, I assume, to the low-flow showerhead. Counterspace plus a ledge above the toilet was limited, but together provided enough space for storage of our cosmetic/bath items. There wasn’t a manual fan, only ventilation registers, but they got the job done effectively and there was no steam buildup when the shower was used. There was one aggravating thing--the showerhead dripped for a long period of time and the water drops fell directly onto the tub faucet, making a high-pitched tinny sound that resonated thru the entire room. It took a while before I figured out what was causing the annoying sound and stopped it by putting a towel over the faucet.
The next morning we were still pretty full from our superb dinner at Meadowood, but sauntered into the breakfast room (adjacent to the reception area) to avail ourselves of the complimentary Continental breakfast that is set out each morning at 7 a.m. We arrived about 8 a.m. and there were ample amounts of everything: Coffee, orange juice, dry cereal inc. a granola, soy milk as well as regular, hard-boiled eggs (shelled), a very nice assortment of various pastries, muffins, crunch rolls and bagels, and a fruit bowl filled with delicious fresh strawberries and pineapple chunks. I wished that I had been hungrier!
During our brief stay, we walked into the Health Spa located right across from Southbridge’s entrance and took a peek at the outdoor lap pool and the fitness center (both looked inviting). Altho’ we didn’t take advantage of the amenities, Southbridge guests have complimentary access to the pool, whirlpool, steam bath and exercise equipment.
Southbridge’s convenient location, interesting complex, comfortable and quiet rooms, friendly and helpful staff all contributed to our very enjoyable stay. Without a doubt, I would love to go for a return visit!
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Southbridge Napa Valley is located on Main Street in the historic town of St. Helena in the heart of America's most famous wine growing region. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Inn At Southbridge Hotel St. Helena
- Southbridge Inn
- Southbridge Napa Valley St. Helena, CA