Harmon Guest House: Sustainable and Community-Oriented

Harmon Guest House: Sustainable and Community-Oriented, Marin Magazine


Late last summer, Piazza Hospitality opened its third Healdsburg property, Harmon Guest House, named in honor of Harmon Heald, the town’s founder. The group behind this luxe trio has deep ties to Marin, founded by the late Merritt Sher and Paolo Petrone, who along with their families decided to make Healdsburg a tourist destination in the ’90s, “It was a short drive from Marin, and we all loved the small town vibe. The downtown design including the plaza was of walkable scale and there was a deep community feeling that was fostered by the town’s founder Harmon Heald’s thoughtful urban plan,” explains Circe Sher, now a partner of Piazza Hospitality. In the late ’80s, the town council was looking for someone to come in and create a hotel, a destination near the square to attract weekend visitors. Enter Merritt Sher, who had previously had success at Oakland’s Jack London Square. “My dad and his partner Paolo Petrone have had a passion about Healdsburg and when they learned the western block of the plaza was an economic development site zoned for hotels, they were thrilled and took their time to make sure it was done with respect to the community and environment,” Circe says. With sustainability and green initiatives among its priorities, Harmon Guest House features numerous environmentally friendly elements, including a sun-shading slat system to reduce solar heat gain, electric car charging stations and all LED lighting. The hotel also includes a rainwater harvesting system that provides 100 percent of the property’s irrigation needs. Additional green elements include a solar thermal water heating system, low/no VOC paints and coatings, a storm-water bio-swale, recycled-content and regional content materials, reclaimed finish materials, high-efficiency irrigation system with weather-based controls, and water-efficient plumbing fixtures. The property also utilizes FSC Certified wood throughout the building. “My dad, who recently passed would have been thrilled to see the opening of Harmon Guest House,” Circe adds. “The 39-room retreat features inviting public spaces, such as our rooftop bar and lounge, and a 1,493-square-foot event space named after him, called Merritt Hall.”

This article originally appeared in Marin Magazine’s print edition with the headline: “Harmon Guest House”.


Mimi Towle

Mimi Towle has been the editor of Marin Magazine for over a decade. She lived with her family in Sycamore Park and Strawberry and thoroughly enjoyed raising two daughters in the mayhem of Marin’s youth sports; soccer, swim, volleyball, ballet, hip hop, gymnastics and many many hours spent at Miwok Stables. Her community involvements include volunteering at her daughter’s schools, coaching soccer and volleyball (glorified snack mom), being on the board of both Richardson Bay Audubon Center. Currently residing on a floating home in Sausalito, she enjoys all water activity, including learning how to steer a 6-person canoe for the Tamalpais Outrigger Canoe Club. Born and raised in Hawaii, her fondness for the islands has on occasion made its way into the pages of the magazine.