Easy access to downtown restaurants, tasting rooms, and shopping, as well as outlying wineries and bicycle trails, makes this Tuscan-themed motel near U.S. 101 a good budget option if you keep in mind that in Healdsburg "budget" is a relative term. You'll never mistake the inn for a destination resort, but with two pools, two hot tubs, and a fire pit and outdoor fireplaces you can kick back and relax in sufficient style. The inn also has laundry facilities and steam, sauna, and fitness rooms.
Except in high season, look for Internet discounts on the hotel's website and third-party ones.
Guest rooms in the inn's Villa Toscana section have amenities like gas fireplaces, ergonomic work spaces, bathrooms with granite countertops, and jetted whirlpool tubs with separate showers. Some of these rooms have a private patio or balcony. The accommodations in the Casa Siena wing are more standard. All rooms have refrigerators, tea/coffee makers, and flat-screen TVs.
YOU SHOULD KNOW The views some rooms have of the highway and the parking lot are a dealbreaker for some travelers, with room-to-room and street noise a detraction for others.
The bathrooms here focus on functionality. Most have granite countertops and combination tubs and showers. The bathrooms in the Toscana section are roomier than the ones in Siena, some of which are in need of maintenance.
The lobby, accessed through a door under the portico that looks like the entrance to a wine cave, is reasonably attractive, though not really a place to hang out. In addition to the front desk, there's a computer available for guest use.
The main rectangular pool is good for swimming laps; there's also a smaller kidney-shaped pool. Both have covered Jacuzzis nearby.
Not much going on in the fitness department, just free weights, a universal gym station, and a couple of cardio machines. If no one's around, though, you can pull off an acceptable vacation workout.
The inn's complimentary breakfast buffet is served in a large room with stained-wood tables and cushioned chairs. Scrambled eggs, bacon, yogurt, cereals, bread and pastries (including tasty miniature cinnamon rolls) are among the items that will fill you up for a day of wine tasting. The attached Adel's Restaurant serves standard diner-style American fare for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Several burgers star at lunch and dinner.
There are better places to eat 1¼ miles south near Healdsburg Plaza (and better deli items a block away at Big John's Market), but if you're disinclined to venture out from the Best Western, Adel's may suffice.
Adel's serves domestic and premium beers by the bottle (all the usual suspects) and Woodbridge wines plus a sparkling wine and Beringer white Zin. You can get slightly tipsy on the 48-proof cocktails—cosmos, mojitos, sunrises, and the like, but the drinks are more potent and well crafted at bars near the plaza.
The hotel sits 1¼ miles north of Healdsburg Plaza just off U.S. 101's Dry Creek Road exit. West of the freeway lie many Dry Creek Valley wineries; to the north and east are Alexander Valley's, and to the south are the Russian River's. Sonoma County Transit serves the area, though it's not convenient for most winery visits.
Beef brisket and St. Louis ribs star at KINSmoke (5-minute drive), where all the barbecue sauces are made in-house. Check out Bravas Bar de Tapas (5-minute drive) for Spanish-style tapas best enjoyed out back on the large patio with the specialty cocktails or multiple sangrias, or Campo Fina (5-minute drive) for contemporary-rustic Italian cuisine (also a good patio here).
Local artisanal spirits and organically farmed ingredients go into many of the libations poured at Duke's Spirited Cocktails (4-minute drive), a happenin' hangout right on the plaza, a block south of the square at Spoonbar (4-minute drive), and a block northwest of it at Chalkboard (4-minute drive). John & Zeke's (4-minute drive), the longtime dive bar formerly on the Duke's site, is less divey in its current location a block and a half away but still has a great atmosphere.
WHY WE LIKE IT
Although it gets pricey in high season—on the other hand, still less than half the price of Healdsburg's most expensive lodgings—the Dry Creek Inn is a generally affordable perch convenient to dozens of northern Sonoma County wineries. Fountains and landscaping add a wisp of style to the outdoor spaces, especially the courtyard and pool areas, and the Villa Toscana rooms are comfortable and reasonably quiet (the Casa Siena ones impress less).