Monday, June 27, 2016

the Berkeley City Club - a traveler's delight

On the first leg of our trip to California, my son and I flew into San Francisco and drove across the bridge to Berkeley where we checked in to the Berkeley City Club. I found this hotel online when booking lodgng for our trip and really didn't know much about it except that it got great reviews and was very close to UC-Berkeley's campus. 

When we arrived I knew immediately we had hit the hotel jackpot. It was amazing and I highly recommend it to anyone traveling in that area. It's a destination itself!

The building was designed by Julia Morgan, the first woman architect licensed in California in 1904. She designed Hearst Castle at San Simeon and more than 700 other buildings. The six-story Berkeley City Women's Club opened in 1930 as a social club and residence for women. In 1962 it opened to men as well and today is a hotel, conference center, and event center while retaining its historical significance. 

The hotel has steel-reinforced concrete walls and ceilings which are fashioned to look like wood, leaded glass windows, interior courtyards and a stunning indoor pool. I wish now I'd taken more photos but enjoy the ones I did take and if you have any reason to be in Berkeley (or want a good reason to go!) I highly recommend the Berkeley City Club. 

The rooms have no TV and retain the ambiance of the 1930s. They are well-appointed and comfortable but if you want cell phone and tablet ports, TV with all the channels, and new everything, this is not the place. The windows open, even in the bathroom. Our room had a huge dressing closet which was nice for all our luggage and for changing in. 

The hotel breakfast was in their dining room and was the most elegant, lovely hotel breakfast I've ever had. The restaurant is terrific for dinner. The lobby and first floor have nooks to read, work, or just relax. The interior courtyards are beautiful and inviting. The second floor has several huge meeting/event rooms which are fun to wander when nothing is going on. And there's an open air dance pavilion that I'd love to see all lit up one cool Berkeley night. 

If you loved Merchant/Ivory's film Room With A View, this is the place to be.

Here's the view from our room:

A peek at one of the courtyards from inside:

A shot of the lovely stairway from lobby to second floor:

From inside the lobby, the front door:

One of the many nooks that surround the lobby:

Another shot of the stairway - the architecture is just gorgeous:

And two views of the stunning pool:

There are so many photos I could have (and should have!) taken. Clearly there has to be a return visit one day to add to this series. 


Grey Horse Matters said...

Great architecture! I love older building like that. There are just so many little things that make them interesting. Looks like a wonderful place to stay.

billie said...

I think you'd love it. It's a very nice walk to campus (which is also beautiful and I'll be doing a Berkeley campus post soon) and to some very good restaurants aside from the one in the hotel. It's not like I have regular business in Berkeley but if I did this would be my go-to place to stay. It would also be a fun weekend getaway just for the architecture.

Matthew said...

What an amazing place!

Love it.

billie said...

A place to put on our list!