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“Chic and cheap, like the H&M of hotels.......” 4 of 5 stars
Review of El Dorado Hotel & Kitchen

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El Dorado Hotel & Kitchen
3.5 of 5 Hotel   |   405 First St. W, Sonoma, CA 95476   |  
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Hotel amenities
Ranked #9 of 11 Hotels in Sonoma
Cincinnati, Ohio
Contributor
12 reviews 12 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 8 cities Reviews in 8 cities
26 helpful votes 26 helpful votes
“Chic and cheap, like the H&M of hotels.......”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed October 10, 2007

My boyfriend and I had a great 4 nights here, the staff including Angie, Skye, and Kenny (?) were always professional and very willing to help.

Pro's: location......I don't think you can find a better value for the same type of room directly on Sonoma's town square. I'm not into lace doily decoration/turn of the century accommodations, if you are this place is not for you. Free Wi-Fi in the Kitchenette, free drip coffee and tea's in the mornings. Street parking right out from was not a problem.

Con's: The street side rooms are as loud as everyone else is dishing on. I was awakened at 6am by local traffic, however, we were able to switch to a new room (hence the 2 sets of room photos) with no problems courtesy of the staff. Tiny bathrooms, bad water pressure in showers, dim lighting, lack of dressers and small closets could be problematic for some tourists although we didn't mind.

Definitely eat breakfast next door at the Sunflower Cafe, have dinner at the bar at Girl and the Fig - great bartenders (can't recall names) and eat dinner at Harvest Moon Cafe's back patio. All are within one block of the El Dorado. The back bar at the Wine Exchange across the plaza was our nightly stop and had great tasting options for $1 as well as friendly locals.

  • Liked — Location, price
  • Disliked — Noise level from outside
  • Stayed September 2007, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
    • 2 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
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194 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
    48
    84
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See reviews for
15
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5
Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4 of 5 stars
  • Value
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (27)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • Any
English first
Washington, DC
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
13 helpful votes 13 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed September 21, 2007

The location of this hotel is fantastic. Right on Sonoma's main square, steps away from a beautiful park, great dining, and cute little shops. A short drive away from more wineries than you can shake a stick at. And the food is wonderful...they are known for their restaurant and bar, both were great.

And now, the rest of the story.

Noise, Part I:
Our room faced the street. At first this seemed nice, as we could see the park and generally have a nice view of the Plaza. However, we hadn't realized that the streets running through the Plaza are actually very (very!) highly trafficked roads that people use to get through Sonoma...especially people with very loud trucks and motorcycles. In lieu of a window, the room had doors which opened onto a small balcony. Unfortunately, the doors did absolutely nothing to block sound, and we could hear every single car/truck/motorcycle/pedestrian/etc. that passed by. A really big truck would make the room shake. We asked for a different room, and were told that the only other one available was right next door to this one, i.e. with the same problem. So I got out the earplugs and prepared for a rough night.

Light, or the Lack Thereof:
The bedside table (there's only 1) had a flashlight in the drawer. We couldn't figure that one out, until we realized that the room's only light came from a small bedside lamp. No overhead light. No nothing. We could open the sliding slatted doors to let light in from the balcony doors, but then the whole world would see every move we made inside our room. My wife had to read by flashlight before bed.

Amenities:
The rooms all have nice TVs and DVD players. After trying many times to get the DVD player to work, I called the front desk. This was a chore, as the cordless phone didn't work, so I had to use speakerphone and yell into the thing to be heard. I asked about a separate remote for the DVD player. The nice young woman at the front desk asked me if I'd tried all the buttons on the TV remote. Pushing down my rage and sarcasm, I asked again if she had any separate remote for the DVD player. She said the rooms only had 1 remote each. Eventually I walked down to the front desk and asked again. In person, she could no longer hide the truth, and she opened her desk drawer to reveal several remotes which she said "didn't work quite right." Apparently these remotes wouldn't turn on and off the TV. The reason, of course, is that these were the remotes for the DVD players. Speaking of the DVD player, in order to accomodate it in the room, the staff had helpfully unplugged our refrigerator. I discovered that one as I tried to store some cheese we had purchased for a picnic that day. Good thing I always pack an outlet expander. In addition to there being only 1 bedside table, there was also no dresser in the room, so we had to cram clothes into every little nook and cranny we could find. That was fun.

Noise, Part II:
Remember that restaurant and bar I mentioned? Well, the bar starts playing loud music with a heavy bassline every afternoon right around nap time. And the restaurant attracts a crowd of extraordinarily loud people who seemed to be having a very good time. In fact, I know they were having a good time, because I could hear every word of their conversation from my bed (when they weren't drowned out by a passing truck). The earplugs came to the rescue again, but they couldn't stop the bed from shaking lightly in time with the bassline of the bar music.

The good news is that the (very young, inexperienced) staff was very nice to us (except I think they lied about not being able to switch us to an interior room, as we checked in early and many people checked in after us), and the bed was extremely comfortable when it wasn't shaking from noise. And the location really was great. However, I would never stay here again unless I wasn't planning to sleep, use any lights, or bring any clothes.

  • Liked — Bed, location
  • Disliked — Noise, noise, and more noise.
  • Stayed September 2007, traveled as a couple
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 1 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
Was this review helpful? Yes 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Washington DC, District of Columbia
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 22, 2007

My husband and I stayed here for two nights (Sunday and Monday nights) as part of our one year anniversery trip. We LOVED the hotel! It was very nice, very clean, and very comfortable. The best part though was the location. We toured Sonoma and Napa and liked Sonoma the best. El Dorado is right on the square and there's a little park and lots of shops and restaurants. And, Sebastiani Vineyards is a short 10 minute walk down the street. We stayed in room 4, which is on the corner with the largest balcony. You should definitely request this room or room 3; they are the best and most requested. The balcony really is huge and it's wonderful to sit outside in the evening and overlook everything. There's free wine tasting in the lobby Monday evenings which was fun. We didn't eat at the restaurant- instead we went next door to Girl and the Fig which was one of the best meals I've ever eaten. We also ate at Glen Ellen Inn Restaurant which was good too.
The only thing we didn't like ab the hotel was the noise from outside at night. I had read reviews on here so I was prepared for it but the weirdest thing was both nights, around 3-5am, it sounded like horses were galloping above us. It was the oddest thing, b/c the hotel is only two floors and we were on the top floor. We could not for the lives of us figure out what the noise could be! Maybe they were doing something in the attic... We were going to ask but then just let it go since our overall experience really was great. It really was a nice hotel- we had a great time and loved Sonoma!

  • Liked — location and comfort!
  • Disliked — noise at night from outside streets
  • Stayed August 2007, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
San Francisco
1 review
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 13, 2007

We loved staying at the El Dorado for our honeymoon. The front desk gave us a handful of free winery tastings for Sonoma County and we were set for days. The accommodations were just what we were expecting and it is the perfect location for anyone who wants to explore Sonoma and Napa.

Stayed March 2007
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Atlanta, GA
Senior Contributor
21 reviews 21 reviews
12 hotel reviews
Reviews in 18 cities Reviews in 18 cities
17 helpful votes 17 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 24, 2007

My friends and I were prepared to spend a good bit of money for a cute, conventient hotel with character in Sonoma - we were more than delighted to find a room at the El Dorado for under $200 a night!

Our room (two double beds) was plenty big for three of us for the one night we were there. Very comfy beds, great bathroom, very clean. I had forgotten that all the rooms have a small private balcony, so that was a nice surprise. The decor is tasteful, modern and simple.

While we didn't get in the pool, the pool deck is very pretty with comfortable seating areas for lounging.

The hotel has a small parking lot in back, and off-street parking seemed to be readily available as well.

Most of all, you can't beat the El Dorado's location on the square! We went to the Sunflower Cafe next door twice, and there were many other restaurants and some bars to cloose from.

  • Liked — Location
  • Disliked — Dragging heavy suicase upstairs (no elevator)
  • Stayed July 2007, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
san francisco
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed June 26, 2007

We stayed at the hotel for 2 nights and ate twice at the restaurant. Our dinner the first night was pretty good but not quite up to the prices. The wait people's brown t-shirts aren't what I expect from a "fine dining" place. We ordered 2 "hearts of romaine" salads. One was made with the heart of the romaine, the other with tough outer leaves. My pork "osso bucco" had a fabulous sauce but the pork was dry. The rest of the food was good.

The next morning we went there for brunch because we wanted to eat outdoors. We could see from the window of our room that the patio had 20 to 25 tables and 3 of them were taken. The hostess said we couldn't sit outside because we hadn't made a reservation. When we pointed out that the patio was almost empty, she said they had a lot of reservations coming in. We ate inside, and when we left, there were still only 3 tables occupied outdoors. But the food was very good.

We were never able to figure out how to work the clock radio, and we're both computer technicians.

The rooms are very attractive but small and dark. My main complaint was that there was no dresser or any way to unpack and put things away. Most people don't seem to care about unpacking, but I hate living out of a suitcase. It was complicated by the fact that the room was so dark that we couldn't see the insides of our suitcases at night. I usually don't care about lots of light in a room and would have found it romantic except for the problem of finding things. They do supply a flashlight, but it's a poor alternative.

  • Liked — Nice building, pleasant balcony overlooking garden
  • Disliked — no dresser in room, ridiculous reservation policy for restaurant
  • Stayed April 2007, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Minneapolis
Senior Contributor
22 reviews 22 reviews
14 hotel reviews
Reviews in 17 cities Reviews in 17 cities
24 helpful votes 24 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed June 12, 2007

Good place to stay if you don't mind paying a little more for that comfort. No elevator in this historic building so had to carry our huge bags up the stairs. Future visitors should keep that in mind. Easy parking out front and very helpful front desk staff. The bed was very comfortable and the room and bathroom were VERY roomy. Not a lot of negatives except the lack of elevator, which really isn't too much to complain about.

  • Liked — The very comfortable room.
  • Disliked — Lack of elevator.
  • Stayed June 2007, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about El Dorado Hotel & Kitchen

Address: 405 First St. W, Sonoma, CA 95476
Phone Number:
Location: United States > California > Sonoma County > Sonoma
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Restaurant Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #9 of 11 Hotels in Sonoma
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:3.5 star — El Dorado Hotel & Kitchen 3.5*
Number of rooms: 27
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Set on the historic downtown Sonoma Plaza, 45 minutes north of San Francisco, our boutique hotel reflects the simple charm of the wine country as well as the urban sophistication of our guests.From world class dining at our El Dorado Kitchen, to relaxing poolside, to enjoying the area’s many local activities the El Dorado Hotel is a one of a kind destination. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
El Dorado Hotel And Kitchen
El Dorado Hotel Kitchen
El Dorado Sonoma

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