Applewood Inn

Guerneville, California

Guerneville, CA
Applewood Inn & Restaurant, a 19-room inn situated in a grove of redwoods outside this tiny town, has long been the most convenient place to stay while visiting the Russian River Valley's increasingly renowned wineries—Rochioli and Davis Bynum among them. However, the restaurant, which is in the original 1922 Mission-style house, was tiny, and many of the rooms were cluttered and claustrophobic too. A renovation completed last summer, however, has yielded a handsome new dining room, twice the size of the old one. With riverstone fireplaces at each end, it's a fine setting for the cooking of Brian Gerritsen, formerly of Napa Valley's La Toque. There are also three new Gate House rooms, the spacious quarters the inn needed. All have riverstone fireplaces, oversized-whirlpool baths, and Australian chestnut furniture. I liked number 18 on the second floor best because its balcony, though small, was the most private. Caveats: The original 16 rooms are still small. No bellman to wallop luggage from the parking lot. Breakfast doesn't begin until nine and lasts just an hour. Note, too, that the restaurant is closed Sunday and Monday; you'll have to drive 30 minutes to Healdsburg for a decent dinner. Gate House rooms $325; other rooms $135-$275. Dinner $80. 13555 Highway 116; 707-869-9093;
fax 707-869-9170.