I’ve already mentioned the Dry Creek Inn in Healdsburg, and while it can be a bit of a pain, at least their vintage rooms, those in the Tuscan wing are rather a step up in luxury and appointments. It does offer terrific value and a great location, right off the freeway, a mile or so from the center of town.
I always try someplace new when I return to a region I’ve visited before, and on this trip I checked out the Sonoma Creek Inn, a few miles from downtown Sonoma. This kind of old school motor inn has potential, with clean (if small) rooms and large bathrooms with terrific water pressure. I get the feeling that things are on the upswing here; most of the rooms have a comfy private little patio, though there is a fairly busy road just over the wall. There’s nothing really close by except for the attached Creekside Café, which puts together a fine breakfast. If you don’t mind being out the way and are tolerant of some traffic noise, this could be a good value-priced option for you. Otherwise, keep looking.