PHOTO: iStockphoto

Wine Country Inn & Cottages

1152 Lodi La., St. Helena, California 94574, USA

Vineyards flank this pastoral retreat with 24 rooms in three buildings plus five cottages. Blue oaks, maytens, and many olive trees shade the buildings and landscaped gardens whose foliage includes lantana (small butterflies love it) and lavender. A path on the property's eastern side winds past three cottages a stone's throw from the grapevines—you can take in the views from the path's two-person swing. The inn's staffers are good at anticipating and fulfilling guests' needs.


New owners as of 2016 began changing the look of most rooms to muted grays and soft browns, with headboards and other furnishings from Restoration Hardware and similar sources. The cottages have a more country-carefree decor. All the accommodations have refrigerators, safes, Keurig coffee makers, plush robes, and slippers. Wine-related photos by managing partner Rick Swig—his group owned St. Helena's Harvest Inn for many years—grace most of the rooms, more than half of which (in addition to the three cottages) have vineyard views. The inn's smallest rooms are about 350 square feet; the cottages are more than double that size.

The cottages and the renovated rooms with eastward-facing vineyard views and patios or balconies are the most popular accommodations.


The bathroom decor in the renovated rooms is simple but appealing, with large backlit mirrors, white countertops, dark-wood vanities, and wood-look plank-tile floors.

YOU SHOULD KNOW More than half of the inn's bathrooms will have had a refresh by Spring 2018; some of the older bathrooms are awkwardly laid out.


Mid-property and fronted by well-groomed plants and trees, the large lobby has hardwood floors and a fireplace. Off to the left is where staffers lay out the breakfast buffet. The space feels more like a living room than a lobby because the reception area occupies a separate nook to the rear.


The rectangular pool, one of the inn's best features, sits isolated near the front of the property near a large barn. During the day when many guests are off wine tasting, the pool area, which includes a hot tub, is often blissfully serene.


Guests can enjoy several spa treatments in their rooms, including, classic Swedish, deep-pressure, and aromatherapy massages. The Wine Country Bliss package includes a dry-brush exfoliation, an aromatherapy massage, a facial, a hair treatment, and a foot scrub.


The inn has no fitness room, but discounted (25%) passes to the St. Helena Fitness Center, about 2 miles south, are available for purchase. The center isn't large, but it's got good equipment and the owner and staff are helpful.


A breakfast buffet, included in the room rate, is served each morning in the main building—when the weather's good you can enjoy the meal on one of two patios with vineyard and Vaca Mountains views. The morning spread includes an egg dish (quiche, perhaps, or a frittata scramble), bacon and sausage, juices, seasonal fruit, pastries and breads, hot and cold cereals, and sliced meats and cheeses. Breakfast is the inn's only meal.


The inn has no bar, but on Friday and Saturday a local winery hosts a late-afternoon reception, at which a few wines are poured and cheese, fruit, nuts, and bread are served.


Getting Around

A few driveways east of Highway 29, the inn is convenient to wineries on that road and the Silverado Trail. There's a VINE Bus 10 stop at the corner of Highway 29 and Lodi Lane. The tasting rooms at Freemark Abbey and Duckhorn Vineyards are within easy walking distance.


A path between grapevines leads to the Freemark Abbey tasting room and Two Birds One Stone (2-minute walk); one of St. Helena's most intriguing dining spots, it serves cuisine inspired by Japanese yakitori restaurants. Staffers also recommend Brasswood (1-minute drive, 12-minute walk) for Italian, and Market (4-minute drive) and Cindy's Backstreet Kitchen (5-minute drive) for contemporary American.


The full bar at Two Birds One Stone (2-minute walk) specializes in Japanese whiskeys. Scott Beatty, a San Francisco Bay Area mixologist of note, designed the drinks program at Goose & Gander (6-minute drive), whose basement bar ranks among northern Napa's most atmospheric. With an international wine selection, The Saint (4-minute drive), which serves wine and beer, is a good stop before or after dinner.


A well-groomed property with a secluded pool and memorable views from nearly every room, the Wine Country Inn is convenient to the Culinary Institute of America, downtown St. Helena, and dozens of wineries. With prices for luxury properties in St. Helena heading ever higher, the inn represents a good value, especially for the renovated rooms.


Romantic, Views
29 rooms
Breakfast Yes
Lunch No
Dinner No
Bar No
Cafe No
Room Service No
Free Parking,Parking Lot


Phones: 707-963–7077; 888-465–4608

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