The staffers at this motel-style property a block and a half southwest of Sonoma Plaza provide fine service, and the public areas, including the lobby and a pool and hot tub, are inviting, if not elegant. The Sonoma Valley Inn is clean, the buffet breakfasts surpass expectations, and in addition to its proximity to tourist-oriented restaurants, tasting rooms, and shops, it's accessible to a Whole Foods Market, bakeries, and similar businesses shrewd travelers frequent to stretch their dollars. Laundry facilities are also on-premises.
YOU SHOULD KNOW The public areas here are nicer than most of the rooms, and convention facilities and rooms in front can be noisy.
Decorated in earth tones, with stained-wood furniture and crimson accents, the rooms have amenities such as tea/coffee makers, refrigerators, irons, and flat-screen TVs with satellite channels and HBO. All rooms have free Wi-Fi, and many have wood-burning fireplaces. Most business travelers will find the desk areas sufficiently spacious.
Many rooms have patios or balconies; among the largest rooms are seven suites equipped with Jacuzzi tubs.
If you're looking for lavish, you're barking up the wrong tree, but the inn's chain-standard bathrooms, with white walls above mocha-tinged wainscoting, are clean and functional. Count the lighted make-up mirrors and Neutrogena bath products among the touches that elevate the experience. The smallest rooms are short on bathroom counter space.
A fireplace anchors the wood beam-ceilinged lobby, which contains computers for guests' use, a few chairs and sofas, and a counter with beverages available throughout the day. Unlike smaller inns and hotels nearby, the front desk, also here, is staffed 24/7.
The inn's outdoor heated saltwater pool is the focal point of the interior courtyard patio. there's a steam room, and gazebo on the main patio contains a large hot tub.
There's no gym on-site, but the inn provides guests with passes (ask at reception) to the Sonoma Fit facility 1¼ miles away. Loaded with cardio and fitness- and weight-training equipment, along with power racks and rope trainers, the fitness center hosts more than four dozen fitness classes that include ones in yoga, TRX, strength conditioning, and Zumba.
Heading to this gym will keep you in shape with a bonus: working out here is a great way to meet locals (and overhear town gossip).
The inn's filling breakfasts include egg dishes, breads and pastries, cereal, fruit (usually the basics: oranges, apples, or bananas), and smoothies and fruit juices. Several items are gluten-free, and "healthy alternatives" like chia pudding, Greek yogurt, and granola are also laid out. Breakfast, served 7 a.m. to 10 p.m., is the only meal here, though you can order box lunches prepared by the nearby The Girl and the Fig restaurant.
There is no bar here.
The inn's location near Sonoma Plaza and the surrounding easy-to-walk-to shops, restaurants, tasting rooms, and historical sights is among its primary appeals. Many guests use their cars little or not at all when staying here, although Buena Vista, Patz & Hall, and other nearby wineries are just far enough away to require one. Many Sonoma County Transit buses depart from the south side of the plaza.
Tasca Tasca (4-minute walk) is a fun choice for Portuguese small plates paired with Portuguese wines and beers. The Girl and the Fig (8-minute walk) serves bistro-style French-country cuisine. For gourmet Mexican to go—you can also eat on-site—El Molino Central (8-minute drive) is the dependable choice (try the chicken mole or Niman Ranch pork tamales).
Watering holes offering varied libations can be found within a few minutes' walk. You could even do the circuit. Start with sparkling wine at Sigh (3-minute walk), then head next door to Tasca Tasca (3-minute walk) for Portuguese beer, wines, and port and perhaps nibble on a few exotic small plates. Check out the au courant cocktails at swank El Dorado Kitchen (5-minute walk) before gliding back in time to the Swiss Hotel (6-minute walk) for a bracing blast of coffee-based Glariffee. Look both ways before crossing on the way back to the inn.
WHY WE LIKE IT
Above average in quality for its chain, the conveniently located Sonoma Valley Inn aims to provide "affordable luxury," and on that score generally succeeds. At its price point, the extra value it provides is evident in the landscaped patio area, expanded breakfasts, and overall cleanliness. The inn may not wow you, but as one recent guest remarked, "It gets the job done sweetly without robbing the bank."