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Berkeley’s Best
hotels

Bancroft Hotel  
2680 Bancroft Way/College Ave.  22 rooms.  Continental breakfast.  No pets.  Parking fee. 
Located directly across from the campus, this landmark 1928 arts and crafts-style hotel was designed by Walter T. Steilberg, an associate of Julia Morgan.  It offers peaceful, airy rooms with sweeping views of San Francisco Bay and the Berkeley hills.  Many also have large balconies or decks.

image courtesy of venue

Berkeley City Club 
2315 Durant Ave./Dana St.  6 stories; 36 rooms.  No TVs.  Indoor heated pool.  Continental breakfast; restaurant.  No pets.  Parking fee. 
Opened in 1930 as the Berkeley Women’s City Club, this magnificent historical landmark building was designed by Julia Morgan–the well-known architect who designed Hearst Castle.  Featuring Moorish and Italian Gothic elements and known as the “Little Castle,” it is decorated with oriental rugs and tasteful vintage furniture that enhance the Old World beauty of its lead-paned windows and aged redwood trim.  

Free tours are given on the fourth Sunday of each month.  Guest rooms are comfortably furnished, and all have views of either the San Francisco Bay or the campus and hills.  Julia’s Restaurant and Morgan’s Bar are open to the public, and a beauty salon operates on site.  Additionally, an intimate theater venue often schedules performances that are open to the public.

exterior of Berkeley City Club
exterior of Berkeley City Club

Claremont Club & Spa, a Fairmont Hotel  
41 Tunnel Rd., at Ashby Ave./Domingo Ave.  9 stories; 276 rooms.  3 heated pools; hot tub; 4 saunas; 2 steam rooms; full-service spa; fitness room; 10 tennis courts (fee; 6 with night lights).  4 restaurants; room service.  Resort fee.  Pets ok.  Parking fee. 
This luxury Victorian hotel, built in 1915, once charmed architect Frank Lloyd Wright into describing it as “. . . one of the few hotels in the world with warmth, character and charm.”  More description and images.

DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Berkeley Marina  
200 Marina Blvd.  378 rooms.  2 indoor heated pools & 2 hot tubs; sauna; fitness room.  Restaurant; room service.  Pets ok.
Featuring a tranquil setting on the marina, this comfortable low-rise lodging provides marina views and easy parking.  All rooms have either a patio or balcony. 

guest room at Doubletree Hotel in Berkeley, California
image courtesy of venue; guest room at Doubletree Hotel in Berkeley, California

Graduate Berkeley   
2600 Durant Ave./Bowditch St., near Telegraph Ave.  6 stories; 143 rooms.  Restaurant; room service.  Fitness room.  Pets ok.  Parking fee. 
Particularly popular with parents in town to visit their children at the university, this atmospheric hotel was built in 1928 and is just 1 block from the university.  The colorful lobby decor has a mellow-yet-lively vintage vibe and includes large, comfy furnishings.  Throughout, original local artwork is displayed–don’t miss the pop-art portrait of Marshawn Lynch (he played football for Cal, went on to the NFL, and is now with the Oakland Raiders) and U.C. colors and references are seen.  An immense book case behind the check-in desk covers the entire wall and holds more than 8,000 Cal-yellow-spined National Geographic magazines dating back to 1916. 

Key cards resemble student ID cards of famous alumni, including Rube Goldberg, Gregory Peck, and retired astronaut Margaret Rhea Seddon.  Historic photographs of the campus hang in the Kelley-green hallways, and some of the attractively appointed rooms feature campanile views.  All rooms feature bong lamps, a framed poster of “The Graduate” film, comfortable beds and cotton bedding with a white duvet, new antique-style black phones, a hotel directory that looks like an exam booklet, and preppy plaid curtains.

Henry’s bar and restaurant operates off the lobby and serves both breakfast and dinner daily.  The spacious pub features a maple floor, ornate oak bar, and high tables with zinc tops.  Food is well prepared and includes a good hamburger, fresh fish items, and a variety of sandwiches and salads.

view of UC campus from guest room at Graduate Berkeley hotel in Berkeley, California
view of UC campus from guest room
at Graduate Hotel in Berkeley, California

Hotel Shattuck Plaza  
2086 Allston Way/Shattuck Ave., downtown.  199 rooms.  Restaurant; room service.  Fitness center.  Parking adjacent; fee. 
Built in 1910, this historic hotel and Berkeley landmark was recently renovated.  A large marble peace symbol embedded in the floor greets guests as they enter the front door into the dramatic and spiffy black-and-white lobby.  Guest rooms are equipped with fluffy white down duvets and marble bathrooms.

Just off the lobby, spacious ZINO is a modern Mediterranean restaurant.  Here you’ll find traditional flavors and dishes–like tangines and mezze plates–with a modern elevated twist.  It is patronized heavily by locals and po;ular as a pre-theater dinner stop. 

exterior of Hotel Shattuck Plaza in Berkeley, California
exterior of Hotel Shattuck Plaza in Berkeley, California

Rose Garden Inn 
2740 Telegraph Ave./Ward St.  40 rooms.  Free parking.  Afternoon snack; full breakfast.  Pets ok. 
Situated 7 blocks from the university, this charming B&B includes two landmark Tudor-style mansions and three additional buildings that open onto a central garden oasis featuring fountains, patios, and hundreds of rose bushes.  Rooms are attractively decorated and comfortable, and some have views of San Francisco.  Families are accommodated comfortably in the larger junior suites. 

Rose Garden Inn exterior
Rose Garden Inn exterior

SenS Hotel & Bistro  
 1538 Shattuck Ave./Cedar St., Gourmet Ghetto.  3 stories; 18 rooms.  Cafe; room service.  No pets.  Some free parking. 
Situated just across the street from Chez Panisse, this European-modern hotel was originally a French laundry.  Renovated into East-West fusion style, its rooms all have a private patio. 

In the morning, this stretch of Shattuck is very busy with locals in search of caffeine and flaky pastries.  Van Bistro–the hotel’s coffeehouse–has a cozy high-ceilinged, brick-walled interior plus sidewalk tables that are nice on sunny mornings.  Only-in-Berkeley moments here might include seeing a Hare Krishna couple walk by ringing their bells while singing and chanting and giving out a BIG smile.

Sens hotel exterior
Sens hotel exterior

(www.berkeleyandbeyond2.com; copyright Carole Terwilliger Meyers)