The Bottom Line
- It's most romantic and elegant of Guerneville accommodations
- You can walk to downtown bars, but the location is quiet and secluded (on 6 acres)
- There's a terrific restaurant on-site
- Upscale though it is, the vibe is easy-going, casual, and unstuffy
- Spacious rooms - some with fireplaces and hot tubs
- It's one of the pricier gay inns in the Russian River - worth the splurge, but not cheap
- At 13555 Hwy. 116, just south of downtown Guerneville, in the gay-popular Russian River resort area - a short walk from town.
- There are 19 rooms set among 3 buildings, set over 6 lush acres. There's also a cooking school and excellent restaurant.
- In-room perks include cable TV, CD players, clock radios, and robes.
- All rooms have Jacuzzis, fireplaces, and spacious two-person showers.
- Book online or call 707-869-9093 or 800-555-8509.
- Guests have use of a pool, hot tub, solarium, and library (where there's free Wi-Fi, which also works in some rooms).
- Rooms start at $185; a hefty country breakfast is included.
- The clientele is mixed gay/straight.
- Shopping, dining, and nightlife are within a 10-minute walk, and there's ample on-site free parking.
- It's a short drive to the many wineries of western Sonoma County, and a 90-minute drive to San Francisco.
Guide Review - Applewood Inn - Gay Russian River - Gay Guerneville
Western Sonoma County's verdant Russian River area, long a popular gay getaway among residents of San Francisco and the Bay Area, is known more for rustic, low-frills lodges and campgrounds than for cushy, upscale inns - typically, you have to stay in eastern Sonoma County, around Healdsburg or Sonoma, to find luxury accommodations. The Applewood Inn, operated by discerning, hands-on innkeepers Darryl Notter and Jim Caron along with their friendly staff, has long been the exception - the local diamond in the rough.
Nestled on the edge of the redwood forests of Northern California, amid western Sonoma County's increasingly lauded Wine Country and just 15 miles from the Pacific Ocean, this compound styled after a Mediterranean estate sits on 6 lush acres of apple orchards, vegetable and herb gardens, and towering pine trees. You feel entirely removed from the bustle of San Francisco - or even nearby Santa Rosa - when you stay here, and at night the black skies reveal an ocean of twinkling white stars. Applewood is the Russian River address for couples celebrating a special occasion or looking for upscale amenities. And although you'll pay a bit more here than at other inns in town, Applewood still offers a better value than many qualitatively similar properties in eastern Sonoma County.
Rooms are in three buildings, which open around a tranquil courtyard and gardens. In every unit you'll find not only a gas fireplace but plush bedding, tasteful country antiques, Frette robes and towels, and TVs and phones; all bathrooms have two-person showers and Jacuzzi tubs. Some rooms pick up the property's free Wi-Fi (you can access it in the hotel's library, which is open to guests, if not). A big part of staying here is dining at the acclaimed Applewood Restaurant, which serves superb country French-inspired California cuisine.