There’s no shortage of incredibly romantic – and often incredibly expensive – places to stay in Sonoma’s wine country. Many of these places are truly worth the expense, if you can afford it or have saved for a very special trip. But if you’re looking to visit the area on a budget, your options are more limited. The Sonoma Creek Inn, just a few miles north of downtown Sonoma on Boyes Boulevard, is one great budget option on the south side of Sonoma County.
The inn is pretty basic, with a motel-style layout that surrounds a small parking lot and a minuscule manager’s office. Once you get past that though, it’s actually quite charming, with a retro roadside inn feel, and clean and comfortable rooms. Many of the 16 rooms have private outdoor patios or porches and all rooms include free parking, in-room coffee and tea, free wireless internet, free local and long distance (within the US and Canada) calls, and free use of the hotel’s bikes.
My room, a queen room with a private patio, was decorated in cheery yellows, pinks, and blues, with handmade art, beautiful cabinetry, a small desk and chair, and a tiled bathroom. It was small but not cramped, comfortable but certainly not lavish. For this trip, I didn’t plan on spending much time in the room aside from sleeping, so it perfectly suited my needs for a safe and pleasant place to sleep without spending too much money.
All rooms also have flatscreen TVs, air-conditioning, and mini-fridges. Pet-friendly guest rooms are available for an extra fee. There’s no pool, spa, or fitness center, however there’s a small onsite restaurant; additional options, including the fabulous tacos at El Molino Central, are a short drive away. There are also plenty of wineries close by, and, a bit farther away (though still close at less than ten minutes by car) the plaza in downtown Sonoma offers additional options for dining, wine tasting, and shopping.
The inn’s main fault is that the amenities are so limited as to be practically nonexistent. There’s no manager onsite at night (though when staff is there they are pleasant and helpful) which means if you need something after-hours, you’re on your own. The rooms also lack what I consider some must-have wine country basics, including wine glasses and a corkscrew. With no one on-site after 9pm, we were left to make a run to the local convenience store to pick up a wine opener. And once our wine was open, it was consumed in disposable plastic cups. A crisis? Certainly not, but it was a bit of an annoyance in an area where the enjoyment of wine is such a focus.
Despite these few details, the Sonoma Creek Inn is an enjoyable place to spend a night or two in Sonoma. The location is ideal, rooms are cozy and welcoming, and with queen rooms starting at $100 per night weekdays, the price really can’t be beat in Sonoma’s wine country.
If you go: Check-in is between 3:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and from 3:00pm to 9:00pm on Friday and Saturday. Since there is no onsite staff after these hours, late arrivals will need to make advance arrangements. The inn offers pet-friendly rooms for an additional fee.