With a rustic-farmhouse-meets-modern-loft aesthetic, this low-key but upscale 6-acre getaway with a pale-yellow exterior contains spacious rooms filled with four-poster beds, whirlpool tubs, and hillside-view terraces. A major renovation and expansion completed in 2014 resulted in a new spa, even lusher landscaping, and an increase in the room count, all without sacrificing the privacy and subdued glamour guests have come to expect. As it has for more than a decade, the restaurant continues to receive high praise from food critics and its loyal clientele alike.
YOU SHOULD KNOW The restaurant is closed on Tuesday and Wednesday.
The new rooms are among the inn's most romantic, with an open floor plan and, in some cases, private patios or decks entered through wide French doors that when open unite the indoor and outdoor spaces. Several rooms have double-sided fireplaces facing both spaces. Some of the older rooms, in cottages or the main farmhouse, which contains the restaurant, have wood-burning fireplaces (the newer rooms all have gas). These older rooms are closer to the road, so you may experience noise from outside. Wherever you're staying, it's worth leaving your supremely comfortable bed for the sumptuous breakfasts included in the rate.
The best (and most expensive) rooms are beyond the pool toward the rear of the property.
Some bathrooms have heated marble-tile floors and chrome fixtures, others ceramic-tile floors. All are clean and well maintained. As for amenities, the inn provides everything necessary for extreme self-pampering, starting with the soap and other locally handmade bath products guests select upon arrival.
In the small reception area off the parking lot, staff members greet guests with a glass of wine or other beverage and direct them to select bath products for use in their rooms. The concierges in the reception area can help with touring and other plans.
Low stone walls bookend the inn's heated pool, open seasonally and located mid-property. On sunny days umbrellas shade the raised wooden platform with lounge chairs. The pool area also contains a hot tub and a fire pit where guests sometimes make s'mores.
The spa's barnlike setting and soothing white tones ease patrons into relaxation even before their treatments begin. Spa consultants Francis & Alexander, who have developed the programs at several top Wine Country resorts, fashioned several experiences specifically for the Farmhouse Inn. Among them is the signature Personal Apothecary treatment, which involves an app that (with the help of the spa therapist) allows clients to create a customized regimen based on their moods and preferences.
There is no gym here.
Longtime executive chef Steve Litke produces three- and-four-course French-inspired prix-fixe meals at the inn's softly lit destination restaurant. Inside a restored 19th-century farmhouse, it's one of Sonoma County's most romantic spots for a meal. Litke's signature "Rabbit Rabbit Rabbit," which involves rabbit prepared three ways, is both rustic and refined, as are dishes that may include wild Alaskan halibut with Meyer lemon risotto and Chardonnay beurre blanc.
The sommelier's set wine pairings, from a list that favors Sonoma County producers but roams the globe, are generally flawless.
Each room at the Farmhouse Inn contains a wine refrigerator stocked with whites and reds for purchase. You can contact the sommelier ahead of your visit to state your preferences. The restaurant serves beer and wine, but not spirits.
The inn is about 11 miles west of U.S. 101 in a rural area. You'll need a car. For the record, Sonoma County Transit buses stop within a mile of the inn.
A large poplar shades the front patio area at Backyard (4-minute drive), whose chefs incorporate seasonal Sonoma County ingredients into the Modern American cuisine. West of the inn in Guerneville, boon eat+drink (15-minute drive) has a menu built around small and large plates also crafted using mostly local ingredients. A few doors away at Dick Blomster's Korean Diner (15-minute drive), patrons dine on addictive fried chicken dubbed KFC ("Korean Fried Crack"). In downtown Healdsburg, northeast of the inn, Valette (22-minute drive) is among a dozen good choices (try the charcuterie board or dry-boat scallops en croûte).
El Barrio (15-minute drive), Guerneville's light-hearted serape-chic hangout run by the same owner as boon eat+drink, specializes in mescal and classic tequila margaritas but also has a good selection of bourbon and other craft spirits. Over in Healdsburg, try Duke's Spirited Cocktails (22-minute drive) for au-courant "farm-to-bar" cocktails and well-selected top-shelf spirits.
WHY WE LIKE IT
Its destination restaurant, multiple concierges to help with touring and wine tasting, and smoothly efficient service qualify the Farmhouse Inn for top-tier status among Sonoma County upscale properties, but this place offers something extra the others can't match: the deep sense of the county and its rhythms that sister and brother team Catherine and Joe Bartolomei share as fifth-generation residents. Although their inn deserves the many plaudits it receives in the press and online, the sublime experience most guests describe comes not from Farmhouse living up to the hype (though it largely does), but from the unstudied elegance and the staff's attention to detail.