PHOTO: iStockphoto

Fodor's Expert Review Black Rock Inn

3100 N. Silverado Trail, St. Helena, California 94574, USA See on Map

Owner Jeff Orlik provides his guests such a gracious, thoughtful experience that they tend to gush poetic about his suites and gourmet breakfasts but most of all his passion for ensuring a memorable time for everyone. His inn consists of four good-size suites inside a Queen Anne–style house built at the foot of Glass Mountain in the 1970s. There's also a private guesthouse. Orlik's knowledge of the local wine scene is extensive; he pairs guests with the right wineries with the same finesse with which the region's chefs pair food with wine.

YOU SHOULD KNOW It's wise to make reservations as far in advance as possible for summer weekends, which book up months ahead.


The landscape and the inn's facade evoke the 19th century, but the suites and the guesthouse are furnished with upscale-contemporary beds and sofas, and lamps and mirrors with distinctive designs. Topped with down comforters and fitted with 750-thread-count sheets, the beds are large and comfortable. The guesthouse, which has two bedrooms, and all the suites except one have flat-screen TVs with a good selection of channels. The alarm clocks have charging stations for phones or tablets.

The guesthouse, which sleeps six, has a full kitchen, a large whirlpool tub in one of the bathrooms, and indoor and outdoor fireplaces.

Suite 1
Photo: Suite 1
Suite 2
Photo: Suite 2
Suite 2
Photo: Suite 2


Each of the suites has a different bathroom setup. One has a double shower but no tub, two have soaking tubs (one of them claw-foot), and the fourth has a spa tub with whirlpool jets. All are clean, have handsome fixtures, and are furnished with luxurious towels and bath products.

Suite 2
Photo: Suite 2


The main house's primary public spaces include a sunroom near the front and the dining and tasting areas. Guests often assemble in the sunroom for late-afternoon wine and cheese. An outdoor gathering spot is a gazebo behind the main house. Often in shade from the surrounding trees, it's a placid spot to sip wine and contemplate.


Fresh fruit, scones, omelets and other egg dishes, home fries with onions and mushrooms, and hash with red onion and organic carrots are among the breakfast items guests swoon over. In addition to baking his own scones—including apricot-mango almond and blueberry-cherry pecan—Jeff corns his own beef, which might find its way into an egg dish or the hash.


Every afternoon, Jeff pours top-quality wines, some from his vast cellar, with the selection often based on the interests of his guests. There is no on-site bar, though.


Getting Around

The inn sits on a curving, relatively isolated stretch of the Silverado Trail. Most guests drive a car here. VINE Bus 10 stops about a mile away on Highway 29.


As with wineries, Jeff is happy to make restaurant suggestions. Places he consistently recommends include Two Birds One Stone (3-minute drive) for cuisine by two top chefs that's based loosely on Japanese yakitori establishments, Brasswood (3-minute drive) for upscale Italian (after longtime Napa Valley favorite Tra Vigne closed, many staffers regrouped here), Market (7-minute drive) for American classics with a Latin spin, and Press (10-minute drive) for steak and Cabernet (extensive wine cellar).


For cocktails, Jeff often sends guests to the bar at Press (10-minute drive), where the bartenders know their way around rad and trad cocktails; Farmstead at Long Meadow Ranch (9-minute drive), where the signature cocktails change based on what's growing in the ranch's gardens; and Goose & Gander, whose basement bar, in a 1920s bungalow, is one of the Napa Valley's best drinking spots.


You're coming to a place known for its wine, food, and upscale lifestyle, so why not put yourself in the hands of someone well versed in all three? The personalized service Jeff Orlik provides begins with your first contact with him, which he prefers to be when you make your reservation by phone so he can better understand your needs, expectations, and desires. As a wine collector, he knows wineries (and their staffs know him), making his advice and connections especially valuable to first-time visitors. His easy hospitality, the inn's spacious and comfortable rooms, and those splendid breakfasts ensure the steady stream of repeat customers.


Romantic, Service
5 rooms
Breakfast Yes
Lunch No
Dinner No
Bar No
Cafe No
Room Service No
Free Parking


Phones: 707-968–7893

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