If you’re looking to score points with your significant other, suggest a getaway to the Farmhouse Inn in Sonoma’s Forestville. The only reason not to check into this luxurious and darling inn is because, sooner or later, you’re going to have to check out—and that’s no fun, trust us. We absolutely fell in love with this romantic boutique hotel owned by the sister-brother team of Catherine Bartolomei-Smith and Joe Bartolomei, who were raised in the Russian River Valley and who you can tell have poured their hearts and souls into their six-acre dream. Opened on Valentine’s Day—we’re sure that was no coincidence—in 2001, this idyllic place just keeps getting better, especially following its $8 million renovation.
Ensconce yourselves in one of the 25 farmhouse chic rooms, of which there are four categories. (For every two consecutive nights you stay in any of the premium king rooms, third night is free, through March 31, 2016.) Splurge on the King Luxury Barn for the ultimate combination of romance, privacy, luxury and comfortable elegance. Features in these 700-square-foot accommodations include a jetted tub with large windows overlooking the woods, separate steam shower, double vanity, radiant heated floors, indoor-outdoor fireplace, private outdoor seating with easy chairs and coffered or vaulted ceilings—the perfect place to enjoy the complimentary snacks and wine from a top Russian River pinot noir producers that are afforded to all guests, as well as fresh flowers, wine refrigerators, and heavenly feather beds with European linens and down comforters.
We’re pretty sure that the evening s’mores will lure you out of your paradise pad though. It is hard to resist housemade marshmallows, Vahlrona chocolate and crunchy grahams. In the morning, take advantage of the utterly delicious, and complimentary, three-course, farm-fresh breakfast featuring eggs from the Bartolomei ranch, seasonal produce, house baked pastry and a choice of two entrees. For several years, the cornerstone of the Farmhouse Inn has been its Michelin-starred restaurant, where chef Steve Litke creates tantalizing, seasonal dishes using ingredients from the owners’ farm and local artisan farmers. The main dining room is intimate with just 10 tables and enough space between them where you won’t overhear the conversation of others. You’ll definitely want to reserve dinner here. Dishes such as the Rabbit Rabbit Rabbit (applewood smoked bacon wrapped loin, roasted rack, confit of leg served with yukon potato and a whole grain mustard cream sauce), Snake River Dry-Aged New York Strip with black trumpet mushroom-miso kale, bone marrow-spring onion soubise and potato röstie, and the Winter Garden (nettle gnudi, parmesan fonduta, potato-cardoon gratin, baby rainbow carrots, nasturtium butter and carrot top pesto) are perfect after a day wine tasting off property—not that you’ll necessarily want to leave! When you return to your room, we know you’ll appreciate the homemade cookies and milk left by your bedside during turndown service.
The spa is also a must. Feel free to wear the comfy robe and slippers from your room to the stable-like spa, where a receptionist will greet you with a warm, scented neck pillow and one of the two Farmhouse Inn cats (Charlotte is the black one; the other one is orange) may be snoozing in a chair. If you’re feeling frisky, book either the Playful Passion treatment or opt for A Roll in the Hay (weather permitting). With the former, playtime begins with a special scrub in your own private steam room to exfoliate each other. Following the steam session, you will receive a side-by-side lover’s massage, finished with a sensually-scented, skin softening bubble bath for a romantic couples soak. Complete the evening with a game designed to flame your passions for one another. A Roll in the Hay, two hours of bliss, a couple’s spicy mocha scrub to smooth the skin and wake up each other’s senses. After an outdoor rinse, cozy up next to each other on top of a large heated body pillow filled with aromatic herbs and alfalfa. The Farmhouse Inn’s Master of Elixirs has created an aphrodisiac blend with a side of seasonal treats for you to share with one another. Once your bodies have melted, enjoy side-by-side massages with a sensual blend of oils.
Speaking of oils, no trip to the Farmhouse Inn is complete with a trip to the Sonoma Bath Bar where you can select seasonal scrubs, salts, and handmade olive oil bar soaps for your room. You can take them with when you leave, which, sadly, you will have to do at some point. The good thing is, return visitors are welcome.
Farmhouse Inn and Restaurant, 7871 River Road, Forestville, 707-887-3300; www.farmhouseinn.com
Photography Credit: Courtesy Farmhouse Inn