Although slightly less expensive than Napa Valley, Sonoma’s Wine Country also doesn’t offer a lot of bargains when it comes to lodgings. You’ll find lower prices in winter and early spring, due to the cooler, sometimes rainy weather and lack of fruit or foliage on the grapevines, but weekends and holidays anytime of the year will command high prices. Still, some hotels with moderate or at least less exorbitant prices can offer good value for the money, thanks to a combination of location, charm and/or amenities. Here are five of our favorite places to find a relative deal, listed from Sonoma in the south to Healdsburg in the north.
Home to vineyards since 1879, this 105-acre “regeneratively farmed” ranch in rural Glen Ellen also includes olive and heirloom fruit orchards, produce gardens, chickens, sheep, donkeys, bee hives and a five-room inn. The light-filled guest rooms with queen beds combine Victorian and modern furnishings; some also offer a twin daybed. All have private entrances and outdoor porch seating for enjoying the complimentary, ranch-sourced breakfast.
- French doors provide sweeping valley and vineyard views, while air conditioning and in-room wine cellars help guests and their wine finds stay cool on long, sunny days.
- Guests can also find a tennis court, horseshoe pit, fire pit, lounges and hammocks for R&R amid the spacious grounds, with treats provided for feeding the animals.
Centrally located in Sonoma’s most populated city, Santa Rosa, the historic Flamingo Resort has been a beloved landmark for decades thanks to the iconic 65-foot twirling flamingo in front. A favorite destination for the swanky Hollywood set in the ’60s, and a popular conference center in recent years, the entire 10-acre property has had a major renovation to bring it back to its well-deserved glory. Shaped like a wheel, the property has 156 guest rooms, 14 suites, two on-site eateries, and a centrally-located expansive heated pool.
- Access to a 20,000 square-foot full-service health club and spa right next to the property
- Aim for a midweek getaways for the best prices.
Walking distance to what seems like countless restaurants, shops and spas, the four-story hotel offers 36 rooms. Stylishly understated, you’ll find bamboo floors, organic Coyuchi linens and robes, and all-natural signature bath products. Committed to sustainability, solar panels are used to heat the pool and hot water in guest rooms. Custom furnishings, the main stairs, and the meeting room floor were all made using salvaged lumber. A striking living roof filters rainwater. The hotel obtained the prestigious LEED Gold certification from the U.S. Green Building Council in 2012.
- All guests receive a free three-hour bike rental (from the hotel’s fleet of PUBLIC Bikes) or free storage for their personal bike that comes along for the (vacation) ride.
- Sunday mornings start with a complimentary Ashtanga yoga class.
- Complimentary sparkling and flat purified water taps are located on every floor.
Healdsburg Inn on the Plaza
The name reveals its enviable location, right on the main square of trendy Healdsburg, but doesn’t convey the charm of its 1901 building. High ceilings and tall windows create a sense of spaciousness in the 12 guest rooms, some with balconies, exposed brick walls and/or period details like claw-foot tubs and crown moldings. As a member of the Four Sisters Inns collection, rates include a chef-made breakfast for two, delivered to your room, as well as a “mini-picnic” bag of wine, cheese and homemade cookies.
- Parking in Healdsburg can be tight, but hotel staff can take your bags and offer pointers on where to park when you arrive.
- Concierge services are also complimentary and can help focus forays into Healdsburg and the Russian River Valley’s rich trove of wineries and restaurants; check out a free loaner bicycle for two-wheel touring around town.
Inn at Sonoma
Just a block off the town of Sonoma’s historic plaza, this member of the Four Sisters Inns boutique hotel brand offers gas fireplaces in its 27 rooms, with 19 in the modern main building and eight in the neighboring, renovated Vintners Cottage. While amenities like private patios and jetted tubs and the palette vary among the rooms with a queen, king or two queen beds, all benefit from the daily hot breakfast and wine and cheese “mini picnic” in a brown bag, with fresh-made cookies also tucked inside.
- The two-story, wood-paneled inn is set back from busy Broadway (Highway 12) within an easy walk of tasting rooms, cafes, shops, the Sonoma Valley Museum of Art and the northernmost mission founded by Spanish monks in colonial times.
- Loaner bikes (first-come, first-serve) make even more of the area’s sights accessible.
Jack London Lodge
Glen Ellen is a sylvan bend in the road in the heart of Sonoma Valley, which celebrates the legacy of former resident and author Jack London at Jack London State Historic Park and at the vintage Jack London Saloon on the grounds of this quaint, 22-room lodge on Sonoma Creek. Rooms have hardwood floors, carved headboards and antique furnishings; outside a leafy courtyard awaits with pool, spa and views of the hilly Valley of the Moon.
- Rates include an ample breakfast with eggs, cereal and toast to prep for exploring nearby attractions like Benziger Family Winery or Sonoma Botanical Garden. Afterward, enjoy drinks on the creekside patio or in the saloon, which features an antique oak bar showcasing local wines and craft beer, open till 2 am.
- The locals’ hangout also serves a mean burger and other comfort food till 9 pm.
The Sandman Hotel
This quirky, playful modern motel lies just off Highway 101 in urban Santa Rosa, but wineries and tasting rooms are closer than you think. The 135 stark rooms are lightly furnished, brightened by mid-century-modern furniture with navy or peach accents and abstract wall hangings. A large, heated year-round pool and spa beckon guests to linger outside; dog owners can book one of the pet-friendly rooms with convenient access to a grassy area and complimentary doggy bags among other amenities.
- Adults will appreciate the light fare and libations at the indoor-outdoor Pool House and Bar, while all ages will gravitate to the pool and large lawn with bocce court and fire pit.
- The Family Suite, which can accommodate up to five guests in three beds, provides a large seating area and comes stocked with games for kids.