Farmhouse Inn ~ Forestville, CA

DSC_8811There is a reason I titled my site No Ordinary Resort, it was my intention from the beginning to feature distinctive, boutique style hotels that offer personalized service, unique locations and experiences, and represent a one-of-a-kind property. And although I do have larger properties listed on my site, The Farmhouse Inn represents my initial concept precisely. This property may be small in size but it is huge in heart, style and luxe abundances.

Property

Located on 6 acres in California’s rural wine country in the Russian River Valley, this property is steeped in history. The original Farmhouse was established in late 1800’s, with the addition of the migrant worker’s cottages that are still located and used on property today.

In 2000, siblings Joe Bartolomei and Catherine Bartolomei-Smith purchased the property that was in need of some TLC and became the Farmhouse owners. Over the years, they have completed a multi-million dollar property-wide renovation and expansion to create the award-winning resort it is today. The resort has received major accolades and is firmly planted on Travel and Leisure’s World’s Best List.

@2015 Susan EdelHowever the secret to their success is not just in the farmhouse-chic accommodations they have created, I believe the larger part of the siblings success is derived from their sense of pride, integrity and history as fifth-generation Sonoma County natives and their desire to honor their family’s legacy.

Since 1911, The Bartolomei family has owned and operated a ranch located only miles from the Farmhouse Inn. The family still owns and operates the ranch which grows much of the food that is prepared at the Inn along with their own winery, Lost and Found, which supports their farm-to-table concept.

Check-In Process

The check-in process is quite pleasant as you are greeted with smiles from the friendly staff. The quaint lobby is inviting and a glass of wine is offered while you are being checked-in.

Before heading to the room, each guest is invited to help themselves to the complementary Spa Bar offering natural products by SumBody such as sugar scrubs, bath salts and colorful, aromatic soaps that you slice to size. It’s a fun, interactive offering meant to enhance the unique experience in the spa inspired bathrooms of each guest room which include either a steam shower or sauna and soaking tub…and it makes for a wonderful smelling lobby!

A personal touch that I appreciate is that the Farmhouse Inn still uses an actual key which is placed on a key chain with a spoon handle engraved with an “F”. Quite charming.

Guest Rooms

There are 24 guest rooms/suites on property. The original guest rooms are the rooms located in the existing farmhouse and the cottages.

The Queen Standard rooms are located on the second floor of the original farmhouse and are the smallest rooms on property, yet they still offer a jetted tub with shower and a wet/dry redwood sauna.

The original migrant worker’s cottages have been fully renovated and are known as the King Standard and King Suite Cottages. The King Standard Cottage is a cozy room with a king bed and small sitting area with a fireplace. The cottages come with a jetted tub with shower or soaking tub with a steam shower.

(Click on any image to enlarge)

The King Suite Cottages offer a separate, spacious room divided by French doors and a rolling barn door to the bathroom which have a wet/dry sauna instead of the steam shower. In general, the cottages offer a bit more of a vintage feel with the original tile surround on the fireplaces and a small patio entrance. The cottages are decorated in a comfortable and charming manner with fun accessories. These rooms are perfect for those who can appreciate the history of the resort, like to be on the ground level close to the main building and amenities, and enjoy the feeling of staying in a private little cottage.

When it was decided that it was time to expand, SB Architects was hired to design the new barn-style buildings which effortlessly mingle with the historic buildings on site. The addition of these separate two-story buildings located toward the backend of the property now house the appropriately named Barn Rooms.

The Barn Rooms are light and airy and offer a relaxed, luxury feel. Designer Myra Hoefer, did a wonderful job in executing a simplistic design in a neutral color palate with slip-covered furniture for a fresh feel and added interesting textures and accessories that give the rooms a very warm and inviting feel. The rooms are lovely with wood paneling, gorgeous stone indoor-outdoor fireplaces, farm-style accessories such as decorative hoes, picks and weather veins, large outdoor decks with adirondack chairs and candle lanterns. The beds are extremely comfortable, and if you didn’t know better, you would think the linens just came fresh off the clothes line.

All Barn Rooms offer a spa-like bathroom designed in white marble with a deep soaking tub and separate steam shower…this is where your Spa Bar goodies that you gathered at check-in come in to play. Immerse yourself in the luxurious products and soak in your tub or enjoy a great steam shower.

Industrial style light fixtures, oversized silver hooks and vintage style faucets are fun design elements used throughout the bathroom. And I love a resort that anticipates all of your needs, amenities such as a toothbrush, toothpaste, razor and more is conveniently provided for you in a decorative box on the bathroom counter.

There are two Barn Room categories, the King Deluxe and the King Luxury. The main difference being that the Luxury rooms have a little more square footage and some have sliding barn doors separating a sitting area; however, the Deluxe rooms are quite spacious and very charming in their decor so it’s a tough call as to which category to choose.

I will say that given a choice, I would take a second floor room because of the beamed ceilings. I stayed in room 22 which is considered a King Luxury and I loved its location at the back of the property (affectionately called the old barn – only because it was the first phase, not because it’s old). The old barn offers the most privacy with rooms 24 and 25 facing the wooded landscape. Keep in mind though that some of those rooms facing the woods don’t get as much sunlight as some others. My room 22 offered a lot of natural sunlight and faced a wooded area. In the Deluxe category I would say that rooms 16 and 17 (in the new barn) would be a very nice choice, located on the second floor and facing an open grass area.

The rooms offer a complimentary non-alcoholic minibar along with a wine fridge stocked with a few bottles for purchase. A three course breakfast in the restaurant is included in your stay but if you’re like me and need your immediate coffee fix, a Keurig coffee maker is located in the room with all the amenities. It’s a beautiful thing to wake up, make yourself a cup of coffee and sit on your deck listening to the birds chirping. WiFi is complimentary and available throughout the property.

Dining

In listening to Catherine tell the story of how she and Joe decided to purchase the Farmhouse Inn, she stated that they knew the Inn was in disrepair but that the restaurant had a great chef and they knew they could build the resort around that foundation. Wow, talk about a compliment to the chef! Catherine and Joe must have had some good instincts because not only is Chef Steve Litke still at the restaurant, he is now a Michelin-starred chef. Cook and they will come!

@2015 Susan EdelDinner: The restaurant is an intimate space located on the lower level of the historic house. As mentioned earlier, the family ranch provides much of the fresh ingredients for the menu as well as items from local artisan farmers. The pre-fixe menu is a foodies dream, offering the option to choose from a 2-4 course dinner, offering a few different choices within each course. The onsite Sommelier will help you pair the perfect wine to your meal.

The staff is friendly, knowledgeable and professional without being pretentious. I ordered the Wild Alaskan Halibut which was fresh and cooked to perfection. Special touches such as printing a message on your menu to acknowledge a special event make for a very pleasant and personal experience. Seating is limited and the restaurant is open to the public so you definitely want to make reservations. The restaurant is closed on Tuesday’s and Wednesday’s which provide you the perfect opportunity to explore other dining options in the surrounding area such as the adorable town of Healdsburg. Dare I say, I ordered pizza one evening that was delivered to my room {gasp} ~ but was relieved to find out that it’s not that uncommon. The Farmhouse does not offer room service.

Breakfast: A complimentary 3-course, gourmet breakfast is served each morning in the restaurant. There is also a lovely outdoor seating area for dining al fresco. The quaint patio with its bistro style table and chair setting, crushed gravel pathways, colorful roses, lavender and other plantings made me feel as though I was transported to someplace in the South of France. The menu offers a couple choices for each course and the dishes are creative and specially prepared each morning. I loved the homemade granola but it’s hard to choose with the likes of fresh pastries, pancakes, french toast, innovative egg dishes and so much more. These are the type of difficult decisions you will need to make during your stay here!

Spa/Pool

At a resort of this size, you may not necessarily expect a spa on property but in the efforts to extend a full experience, there is a very charming Spa at the Farmhouse Inn which is designed in the playful characteristics of a carriage house. The treatment rooms have dutch doors, shiplap siding, painted horse murals and a small patio. The ingredients used in the spa treatments follow the same farm-to-table concept as the restaurant uses. The spa is open to the public so reservations are recommended.

Located just outside the spa is a large pool surrounded by lounge chair seating and a hot tub. As an example of the type of personal service this small property provides, I was immediately approached by an attendant with a towel as I located my lounge chair. I would expect this at a large resort but was pleasantly surprised to receive this unexpected service here. The pool is a perfect way to spend a relaxing day.

Unique to the Property

When there is a theme to a property, it can sometimes be easy to over-do it but the Farmhouse Inn has found that perfect balance between executing farmhouse-chic while keeping it classy and offering a luxurious setting. Whimsical features such as upside-down buckets used as light fixtures, faucet-style water fountains, corrugated tin, wooden criss-cross trellises, large barn doors and so much more add a unique interest throughout the entire property. I don’t mind admitting that I was obsessed with all the light fixtures throughout the property.

@2015 Susan EdelThe resort takes on a magical feeling in the evening when the fire pits and hurricane lanterns scattered throughout are lit and envelop the property in a golden glow.

A sweet amenity offered each night is the s’mores bar located in the lobby. Each guest can help themselves to homemade marshmallows, chocolate and graham crackers and enjoy sitting by the fire pit mingling with other guests.

A very special little feature the Farmhouse offers is their Elopement Package. It’s like a wedding-in-a-box. The package includes everything you need for a tiny, intimate wedding and it’s all taken care of for you. No fuss, no muss and you’re married!

And let’s not forget that this is wine country…Sonoma and Napa counties are famous for their world-class wineries and restaurants. Spend the day discovering this beautiful region, drive through the rustic and charming towns, other local activities include kayaking, antique shopping, hiking, biking, and should you want to spend the day wine tasting, the Farmhouse is happy to arrange transportation so you can enjoy a carefree day of exploring – Blink Car and Uber are also available. The Farmhouse also offers or can arrange for many activities (the resort provides great concierge services) so I promise the only thing you will be wishing for is that you had more time to stay!

In continuing efforts to provide more resort amenities, there are plans to create a fitness center and a meeting facility sometime in the near future.

In Summary

The Farmhouse Inn offers a warm, intimate and inviting atmosphere, and evokes the feeling of visiting a personal country estate. This is a perfect property to enjoy a romantic weekend, to celebrate a special occasion or to gather a group and enjoy a reunion. Visionary Elon Musk took over the entire property to celebrate his birthday.

From the warm and inviting hospitality, the fore-thought to provide such luxe amenities, farmhouse-chic accommodations along with a Michelin starred restaurant, I would say that this unique resort is an extremely alluring property to anyone looking for something different from the cookie-cutter hotel experience.

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Comments

  1. We have friends who love Russian River for the vineyards and I’m sure would enjoy a romantic weekend away to The Farmhouse Inn. Will recommend to them as it looks utterly charming.

  2. vicki petulla says:

    I so want to visit…Beautifully written!

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