Berkeley Travel Guide
Berkeley, California, known as a haven for free-spirited thinking and the intellect to back it up, may soon have a new sign on the door of one of its best-loved hotels. The Claremont Hotel Club and Spa, a dedicated landmark about to celebrate its 100th birthday, is being courted by Toronto-based Fairmont Hotels and Resorts.
That sounds great right out of the gate. We’re thinking… the Fairmont Claremont…..catchy name, yes?
This really could be a match made in hotel heaven. Fairmont Hotels has a legacy of giving new life and 21st-century luxury to its historic hotels. Comfortably nestled in the Berkeley Hills and within the City of Oakland, the 279-room Claremont Hotel, referred to as the “Elegant Lady,” is indeed a catch.
Designed by architects Charles W. Dickey and Walter Reed, it was to be a grand resort destination and a pride of the East Bay. Locals say it still is. The building is part Tudor Revival, part Classic Revival -- or put another way – all bets are off on designing the interiors. The hotel has a prominent park-like setting with serious views to San Francisco, where Fairmont can proudly point to its other property, The Fairmont San Francisco.
Concierges / Concierge Interviews / Berkeley Hotels / Bay Area Hotels / Historic Hotels / → All Tags
Have you ever flirted with a hotel concierge? In our series, Concierge Interviews, HotelChatter goes behind the Front Desk and gets chummy with the men—and women—whose job it is to never say no. Filmed inside various lobbies, courtyards, and bar lounges, each video will offer a glimpse into the world of hotels from the people who know them best. Got a burning question you'd like us to ask? Or have someone in mind for us to interview? Email us your requests!
Today we've got a special video from at the Claremont Hotel Club and Spa just across the bay from San Francisco in Berkeley, Calif. Chief concierge Jennifer Cirelli has been at the hotel for 26 years and of course, she has some great recommendations for things to do at the hotel but also some choice picks for where to nosh outside the hotel.
Don't worry, tipping her in pastries is not mandatory. (Watch the video to see what we're talking about.)
As part of its overall renovation and “re-concept,” the century-old Claremont Resort, Club and Spa opened a new restaurant called Meritage last week. In keeping with the resort’s new aesthetic of “California casual,” Meritage will be devoted “wine and food exploration” using local farmers and purveyors to shape the “contemporary California cuisine” menu.
That’s quite a philosophy to digest…so to speak. Basically what it means is that the menu will be divided into two pages: one devoted to white wines, and a second devoted to reds. Each of those is further broken down into categories like Light Whites, Fruity Reds, and Spicy Earthy Reds. Within each category will be three wine selections available by the taste ($5-9), glass ($10-16) and bottle, along with three dishes that will complement the wines’ flavors.
All dishes will be available in either small or large plate sizes for greater dining flexibility—and to let people like us try as many of the wines as we want without having to order a bottle.
Say "Berkeley," and what comes to mind are aged beatniks on Telegraph Avenue, politically active Cal students, and hemp-threaded clothing. If you buy into the stereotypes—many of which admittedly ring true—then seeing the Claremont Hotel, Club & Spa's massive, and we do mean massive, resort looming in the Berkeley Hills is something like a luxury curveball. But if you know the Berkeley of Chez Panisse, boutique shopping in Rockridge, and a wealthy, Hills-dwelling clientele, then it's not such a strange sight.
As we mentioned last week, we will be sharing all of your hotel stories and photos from your travels this summer, starting with our brief trip to the Claremont Resort and Spa in Berkeley, California.
The hotel initially opened in the early 1900s but has undergone extensive renovations in recent years. Celebs galore have stayed at this place, particularly in the late 60s and 70s, and photos line the hotel's lobby documenting its famous guests.
Today, the hotel serves a delicious breakfast in the Jordan's restaurant, which offers up prime views of San Francisco in the distance.
However, as with most old hotels, the Claremont is an enjoyable place to mosey through and wonder what things were like 100 years ago, but staying there might mean a musty, antiquated room.
· Claremont reviews [TripAdvisor]
Where else better to make love not war than in Berkeley's Durant Hotel (not counting People's Park)?
This week, the famed East Bay lodging celebrated 75 years of its 160-room addition which came only a year after the hotel opened in 1928 and which has attracted the likes of "[University of California, Berkeley] faculty members, writers, business executives, and other prominent people of refinement and culture who appreciate beautiful surroundings," according to the Contra Costa Times.
Plus, it's a great place for sleazy profs to seduce grade-obsessed students -- how do you think I managed a 3.7 GPA as a maladroit philosophy major?