We planned a getaway from one of my favorite cities, San Francisco, to the wine country and needed a reasonably priced hotel near Healdsburg. Having visited the town before, and after reading online reviews, we settled on the Best Western Dry Creek Inn Healdsburg. I hadn’t stayed at a Best Western in a long time and came away positively surprised!
Location: The Dry Creek Inn is located just off Highway 101, 1.3 miles north of the Healdsburg square. It’s easy to reach by car and there is plenty of parking around the property. The main attraction in town are the many restaurants, wine tasting rooms and shops around the beautiful square. Because we wanted to do some wine tasting, we took a taxi to the square (less than 5 minutes) and walked back after a big dinner (about 25min). While the hotel is close to the freeway and the exit road, we didn’t hear any traffic from our room.
Service: The service at the Dry Creek Inn was ok throughout: Everybody at the front desk, restaurant and housekeeping did their job well, yet without distinction. The check-in was quick and professional, but without a smile or a friendly word. We were asked if we want to upgrade to a nicer room for a fee, I pointed out that as a Diamond member, that upgrade should be complimentary – and the manager intervened and gave us an upgraded room.
Room: We were upgraded from a regular King room in the Casa Siena building to a King room in the newer Villa Toscana and that room was the best part of our stay! It’s a large room in a traditional decor with a large king bed, a work desk and a comfortable chair as well as a nice, gas-burning fireplace in the corner. Even though it was great weather, I do like the atmosphere created by a fire burning in the background! We opted for a ground floor room with a small patio and access to the interior courtyard of the Villa Toscana. It’s an Italian inspired space with trees, water features and comfortable seating that offers a semi-private experience far beyond the price category of this hotel! The bathroom offers the second nice feature of the room: a large, oval jacuzzi tub, one of my favorite places to relax after long travels! There is a window with wooden shutters to the bedroom, making it a very open layout! There are also a double vanity and a separate, small room for the shower and toilet. While the furniture and fittings were fairly standard, the room overall is by far the nicest I have ever seen at a Best Western and much better than expected for this category of hotel in the Northern California wine country!
The two lower room classes, standard queen and king rooms, are located in the older, motel style building “Casa Siena”, located closer to the road. While I did not have a chance to see the rooms, the upgrade fee to the “Villa Toscana” is pretty small and worth it in my mind! Free wifi is available in the rooms and throughout the property. It’s reliable and fast enough!
Amenities/Restaurant: The outdoor spaces around the hotel are all nicely kept and invite to read a book or enjoy a bottle of wine in the California sunshine! There are two pools and jacuzzis, located in separate areas surrounded by parking. They are also decorated in the Italian theme and make for a nicer place to relax then pools of similarly priced hotels. The Tuscan courtyard also has a jacuzzi tub as well as a sauna and steamroom. If you have a ground floor room at the Villa Toscana, you can access them via your patio, bathrobe provided!
The room rate includes a full breakfast – unfortunately that was a disappointment. Compared to the beautiful rooms and grounds, the breakfast was more in line with the budget roots of a Best Western hotel: The room had the look of a cafeteria and was crowded during our visit – we fled to the much nicer outdoor seating. The disposable plates, cups and knives/forks are not very ecologically responsible and spell “budget” very clearly. There were cereals, yoghurt, some uncut fruits and pastries, as well as eggs, sausages and self-service pancakes and waffles. Coffee and juices were provided in large machines. The quality and selection were similar to what you will find at other free breakfast buffets at economy hotels in the US.
Conclusion: The Best Western Dry Creek Inn offers beautiful rooms and outdoor space at very good price. You get breakfast and service that is average for the price class, making it overall a very good deal. The location is close enough to the Healdsburg Square to walk home after dinner, allowing you to leave the car behind and enjoy all the wine tasting on offer. If the (much nicer) hotels right on the square are beyond your budget, the Dry Creek Inn is a great alternative and I’d stay here again!