Photos by Emma K. Morris
The family-owned luxury boutique hotel and restaurant, Stavrand Russian River Valley, specializes in service that is truly customized to each guest. With only 21 rooms on the property, and a fabulous gourmet restaurant available exclusively to guests, the team at the Stavrand is able to engage with you on a personal level to craft your perfect stay in a refined and intimate setting.
The name “Stav-rand,” in Norwegian (handed down as the family name of Emily’s late mother, whose own parents were innkeepers in Vermont in the early 1980s), conjures the image of a church (Stav) on a rand (hill)–or in the case of the hotel, a historic hillside estate surrounded by manicured gardens and towering redwood trees that encourage leisurely contemplation.
2020 brought unbelievable challenges to our entire world, though there are also some silver linings worth celebrating with gratitude. In March of 2020, Emily Glick, the now-General Manager of the Stavrand, oversaw the temporary closure of the 131-room Kimpton Buchanan Hotel she had helmed in San Francisco for over 6 years. At the same time, the pandemic brought an exciting new opportunity. Since childhood, Emily had dreamed of hosting guests at her very own hotel where she could shape each aspect of the experience to create a property without equal. The pandemic made it possible to realize that vision. Emily and her husband, Sam, enlisted friends and family to help acquire the then dormant Applewood Inn and used the first half of 2021 to fully renovate the hotel and grounds. Today, Emily and Sam are thrilled to welcome you to their luxury boutique hotel that has quickly become one of the most sought-after wine country retreats!
The Russian River Valley encourages you to take time to remember what matters. Enjoy stand-up paddle boarding or a picnic along the Russian River, visiting world-renowned or boutique wineries, charming towns, and wonderful restaurants. The Stavrand is also an easy drive to the rugged and often foggy Sonoma coastline to enjoy the crashing waves of the Pacific and some excellent local seafood.
Each of the Stavrand’s fully renovated and refreshed guest rooms is designed to make your stay extra special. Rooms feature Jacuzzi and cedar hot tubs, private patios, and in-room fireplaces. Tucked away among towering redwoods, the Stavrand delivers a harmonious balance of relaxation and elevated taste. The carefully curated in-room minibars include all the usual goodies, along with local favorites like parmesan crisps and HenHouse beer. Each guestroom comes equipped with a dimmable lantern that you may use throughout the property’s six acres and along the path to town. Explore the Chef’s Meadow, following the artist’s map past the local tennis courts and mini-golf across one of two river bridges. Downtown Guerneville provides popular dining and bar options, galleries, and shopping from another era with a delightful ‘5 and 10’ store.
From 5 to 6pm every evening, the Stavrand team invites you to enjoy a special selection of local wines, or a cocktail inspired by the garden. Sip beneath the redwoods, fireside, or in the comfort of your own room. Cozy up in the Stavrand’s courtyard next to a firepit while toasting marshmallows from your own “S’mores Kit”–complete with delectable local dark chocolate and a gluten-free graham cracker option. Stavrand blankets are available, too, for chilly nights!
Treat yourself to massage therapy to ease your body and mind. 60- and 90-minute treatments are available. Most guestrooms will accommodate a massage table, though many prefer to enjoy the experience under the redwoods and open skies poolside. For exercise, guests can take out one of the cheerful yellow bicycles for a spin, or kayak the Russian River, just steps from the property. The team will outfit you with everything you need to enjoy the day. Coolers are also available if you’re packing lunch for the adventure.
The historic main building, the Belden House (Sonoma landmark Number 129) features two fireplaces from its original construction in 1922. These historic hearths create warm nights in the winter and provide for a stately atmosphere in all seasons. Visit the Belden House and peruse the various books and games ready to entertain you.
The Stavrand has become one of the most exclusive and sought-after dining destinations in Sonoma. Featuring exceptional cuisine, the restaurant is open exclusively to hotel guests, serving thoughtfully created and sustainably sourced California cuisine. Guests also enjoy private access to the Stavrand’s signature daily breakfast prepared by chefs Carlos Cervantes and Danielle Kuller, and intimate dinners that are designed to showcase the best of the culinary garden. Chefs Elijah Trujillo, Kazuya Makishima, and Kayla Hendrix set their dinner menu each afternoon, calling upon the bounty of the moment, their newest inspirations, and even the weather forecast. Dinner is served on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays.
The dynamic quartet of chefs savor cooking as a team on an intimate scale, with a commitment to hands-on quality and an eye for detail. The team takes pride in showcasing the finest of Sonoma and all things sustainable with an array of partnerships with laud local producers. A three-to-five-course prix-fixe menu is released each afternoon, and typically begins with a vegetable-forward starter leading to a choice of two entrées and a dessert by the pastry chef, all with local Sonoma wine pairings. Chef’s dinner menu features a mix of local spirits, microbrews, sake, and wines. Our dining experiences at Stavrand were impeccable—including an extraordinary dinner and bountiful breakfast the following morning. After checking in and getting settled, we relaxed with a local wine tasting in the historic Benden House at 5’oclock, which featured Kelton Roots Rosé and Pinot Noir from Sonoma, the perfect welcome after spending the afternoon exploring the breathtakingly beautiful, Sonoma coastline. For our multi-course dinner, we began with Preserved Picked Sherry and Shoyu Brined Portobello on nigiri rice and seaweed from the nearby Marin coast, and Beet Generation Gerkins, featuring Prik Nam Pla, Thai basil, and roasted peanuts. Next, we enjoyed a fresh local peach salad, and a highlight for me were the “Street Corn” Squash Blossoms from the garden, flash fried in a tempura batter then dusted with Cool Ranch corn dust, and served with a chive, dill, shallot, garlic-herb ranch dip. For entrees, we enjoyed the Chili Pepper Rock Cod with charred baby zucchini, shabazi spice, and lemon balm dashi, and a perfectly cooked Oakridge Ribeye with Radical Family Farms broccolini, and smoked shoyu. The “Key Lime Not Pie” with citrus curd, olive oil cake, toasted meringue, and lemon balm sorbet was luscious and tangy! In addition to local wines, we enjoyed sampling some of Stavrand’s creative cocktails, which were as thought provoking and beautifully executed as the food! The “Maravilla” featuring tequila, lime, hibiscus, Aperol, and blood orange; the “Akira” featuring Japanese whiskey, house redwood bitters, cognac, and blood orange; and “The Gretchen” with Damiana-infused vodka, honey, lemon, and orange bitters were standouts. If you’re looking for an intimate wine country escape in the heart of Russian River, this is your place! ☐