Sonoma Valley is all about enjoying life on a small scale. Perhaps due its compact size of only 30,000 residents spread out over a 17-mile area and development of villages centered around agriculture, residents like to welcome visitors with small-town hospitality. It’s not uncommon that everyone you encounter, from Carneros to Sonoma to Kenwood, will be happy to stop and talk to you, offer you suggestions about the best places to see, and point you in the direction of the best places to stay.


Staying in independent inns, bed-and-breakfasts, guest cottages, and vacation rentals are a great way to capture that hometown feel. While staying in smaller, intimate venues like these, you’ll be treated as a cherished guest and be able to tap into insiders’ info on the valley from your hosts. Hunt Bailie of Stay Sonoma Valley, a consortium of such lodging experiences, explains, “Visitors come to the valley searching for the hidden gems, and it's the longtime locals that run the inns, guest cottages, bed-and-breakfasts and vacation rentals who hold all the secrets. The hosts’ connections and insights help create the most memorable moments and therefore offer the most value.” And many times, local hosts like Stay Sonoma Valley have also forged relationships with wineries and restaurants to get you the best deals available.  


In addition to getting the inside scoop, small lodging venues offer the opportunity for visitors to relax and unwind like they’re at home, with a quaint and quiet place to come back to at the end of the day. Most inns, B&Bs, guest cottages, and vacation rentals are nestled in residential areas or in hidden pockets around the valley. This makes you feel as remote or connected as you want to.

Staying at guest cottages and vacation rentals, in particular, can be a great choice for people who want to cook for themselves, making a visit to one of the valley’s three big farmer’s markets absolutely mandatory—and the only thing that matches the quality of our local wines is the quality of our local produce. Then come home at night to cook, and pop the corks on delicious wines you had the chance to taste earlier that day at local wineries.


Want to keep your travel experience super intimate? Yet another reason to embrace small lodging venues! Booking the same venue gives everyone a shared experience, which can create incredible memories for years to come. Vacation rentals and guest cottages are ideal for families and intimate reunions of all kinds. Independent inns and B&Bs give everyone in your group a little more privacy and space, which can be perfect for groups of adults traveling together. And let's not forget the latest trend in travel--working and schooling from remote places--talk about living large!


Lodging on a smaller scale is certain to make you feel like a bigwig. Your hosts will remember your name, they’ll help you personalize your experience while you’re here, and they’ll point you in the direction of some of the best things to do in town. You’ll have the chance to embrace the charm of everyday life in Sonoma Valley, and go home with a richer understanding of what true relaxation is. It’s a hospitality experience you won’t soon forget.