GETAWAYS • Guerneville
Lately, my vacation craving is for wilderness — with plush amenities, of course. The Russian River Valley on the outskirts of California wine country fits the bill. Here, two excellent lodging options:
→ The Stavrand (Guerneville, above): A newly renovated historic mansion that provides creature comforts like luxury linens, strong showers, and organic Juice Beauty products made exclusively for the hotel. A trim 21 rooms, The Stavrand easily meets the mark for isolation. Better yet, some rooms come equipped with outdoor cedar soaking tubs for stargazing.
The inn’s restaurant serves a prix fixe of California cuisine with produce from an on-site garden. The rest of the six acres are home to a pool and hot tub, lawn games, fire pits, and a short walking path that leads to town, where bikes and kayaks are available to rent. The best choice for leisure, however, is to grab a book from the hotel’s lending library, find a nook to curl up in, and escape into another world under a bower of Redwoods.
→ Farmhouse Inn (Guerneville): Even the most central part of wine country was sleepy in 1991, so it’s hard to imagine the vision that brother-and-sister duo Joe and Catherine Bartolomei had when they purchased Farmhouse Inn, a storied address built in the 1870s. And yet, once on site, it quickly becomes clear. From the cool silence of the enveloping trees to the crunchy gravel paths between the (naturally) farmhouse-style rooms, the prevailing mood is tranquility.
Inside the rooms, find marble-acquainted bathrooms with heated floors, walk-in steam showers, and gas fireplaces. And at the center of the property, a “wellness barn” offers herbal bath treatments and customized massages. But the biggest draw is its eponymous restaurant, which earned a Michelin star in 2006. Despite the retirement of founding chef Steve Litke in 2021, Farmhouse still hits as the Russian River dream you won’t want to wake up from. –Caitlin White