If you go down to these woods, you’re in for a surprise all right: a camping experience on a whole other level.
Peeling back the down duvet and reaching for a fluffy robe as you rise from your queen-size mattress before padding into your marble-tiled bathroom, you may feel for all the world like you’re in a plush hotel. Except that right outside your retro Airstream trailer is a towering redwood forest, and you’re in the thick of it. This is glamping AutoCamp Russian River-style, 90 minutes north of San Francisco in California’s Sonoma wine country.
Opened late last year, Russian River is the second AutoCamp location – there’s another one in Santa Barbara. The work of California natives Ryan Miller and Neil Dipaola at Mesa Lane Partners, it’s folksy meets fancy, featuring custom-designed Airstreams and luxury tents.
The hub of the glampsite is the Clubhouse. Designed by a team from Anacapa Architecture, led by Dan Weber, the midcentury modern structure draws inspiration from the iconic Barcelona Pavilion by Mies van der Rohe and the Kauffman House in Palm Springs by Richard Neutra. Crafted from simple, robust materials (concrete, rough-sawn local redwood and blackened steel) that help to safeguard it against the periodic flooding that strikes the area, it blurs the boundary between homely and wild, allowing unhampered views of the redwoods, a sprawling meadow of native grasses and the adjacent Hulbert Creek.
“I love the seamless transition between inside and out,” says Dan. “It’s rare that architects get the chance to create a building as expressive as this one, and as bold and pure in form as this is.”
Dan and his colleagues also custom-designed the Airstream suites. “The challenge was making the limited square footage feel as generous as possible,” he says, “but we were able to incorporate top-grade kitchens, full-size bathrooms with walk-in showers, and original finishes like walnut floors that make them feel as comfortable as boutique hotel rooms.”
Interior designer Lauren Geremia is behind Russian River’s furniture, art, lighting and accessories. She and her team at Geremia Design worked mainly with local creatives to produce a range of custom pieces, such as the paintings by Joe Ferriso unique to each Airstream, and tables and chairs by Alexis Moran.
“I selected quality items that still have a casual aesthetic,” says Lauren.
“I consider myself outdoorsy, but I love a luxurious hotel and always say I could stay anywhere as long as I have nice bed linen. I’ve stayed at Russian River several times and it’s such an accessible adventure, especially for people like me who don’t have a ton of camping equipment. Plus, it helps that we fitted it out with organic cotton Coyuchi linens!”
For all the glam in this glamping experience, it’s still back to nature. The river’s right there for swimming and kayaking, as is the Pacific Ocean and, of course, there are the vineyards.
Take a hike or one of AutoCamp’s vintage cruiser bikes to the eateries, bars and galleries of artsy Guerneville mere minutes away; picnic in the meadow; play lawn games or tennis. Just don’t forget to pack your best PJs – you wouldn’t want to let the side down.