Best Inns – 2019 Platinum List Nominees
Vote for your favorites through June 30, 2019
The rustic charm of these inns reflects the distinctive personality of their locations. Help us determine the best in luxury travel for the 2019 Celebrated Living Platinum List Awards. Your vote will help select the top properties. Voting ends June 30. Read about the winners in our Platinum List Awards issue, on planes September 1.
Forestville, California, United States
Boasting a Michelin-starred restaurant, Francis & Alexander spa services and VIP access to Sonoma County’s best wineries, the 25-room Farmhouse Inn ticks every box for a high-end Wine Country getaway, but with a notable difference: pretension-free approachability. “We’ve got a quirky team, from the front of the house to the back,” says Catherine Bartolomei, who bought and shaped the property with her brother, Joe, in 2001. The two are fifth-generation Forestville natives—Catherine currently lives on their great-grandfather’s property down the road, where he grew grapes and hosted lively gatherings of family and friends.
“My great-grandmother would cook, and my great-grandfather would play the concertina,” she says. “The attic was full of beds!”
Recapturing that feeling of bonhomie was integral to the Bartolomeis’ vision for the Farmhouse, with a decided dose of timeless, European sophistication. Butter-yellow exteriors may give the impression of a barn, but interiors capture a clean country aesthetic, with bright white linens, four-poster beds and indoor-outdoor fireplaces. Showcasing local bounty is the guiding ethos here, from the restaurant, which features eggs from Joe’s ranch, to the spa, which utilizes his honey and apples from the Farmhouse property.
The siblings’ local cred also allows them to share the best Sonoma has to offer through daily wine tastings, as well as programs granting guests access to unique experiences. “Luxury doesn’t have to be gilded,” Catherine says. “It can be riding in the back of our friend’s pickup through his vineyard.”
Still, once you arrive, it’s awfully hard to leave the Farmhouse. As I sit poolside, cold glass of rosé in hand and a tasting with MacRostie winery on the patio fast approaching, I turn to my husband and ask, “Can we just stay forever?” Thankfully, there’s no need to leave come dinnertime—the Farmhouse Restaurant, featuring chef Steve Litke’s creative, seasonal tasting menus, has been a major draw since the hotel opened, with consistent Michelin stars year after year.
We enjoy meltingly tender morsels of rare king salmon, caught just off the coast and paired with a bright, yet rich, Foxen chenin blanc, and the restaurant’s signature Rabbit Rabbit Rabbit, a three-part punch of flavor showcasing rabbit loin, rack and confit leg. Hard as it is to skip dessert, we have pressing after-dinner plans—s’mores by the firepit, featuring housemade vanilla marshmallows. Turning our forks over the flames, we reconnect with a couple we’d met during the afternoon’s wine tasting, comparing notes on our dinners. For Catherine, that feeling of easy connection, inspired by her great-grandparents’ gatherings, is what the Farmhouse Inn is all about.
Washington, Virginia, United States
This celebrated Relais & Châteaux property has 23 rooms and suites of varying sizes, all appointed with exuberant flair. Presiding over the famed kitchen is James Beard Lifetime Achievement Award recipient Patrick O’Connell, who concocts three tasting menus each evening.
No two rooms are alike at this Italian escape, nestled on an 18th-century property in the Emilian countryside. The 12 guestrooms feature unique décor from the collection of owners Massimo Bottura and Lara Gilmore, proprietors of the three-Michelin starred restaurant Osteria Francescana.
Prince Edward Island, Canada
Built in 1913 as a summer home for playwright Elmer Harris, this inn on Prince Edward Island has played host to a number of Broadway and Hollywood celebrities over the years. Today, proprietors Michael and Chastity Smith have transformed the establishment into one of Canada’s finest country inns and farm-to-table restaurants.