The world-renowned university town has a fine collection of smart and interesting places to stay. From chic boutiques and historic lodgings to cozy quirky inns and modern design abodes, here are my favorite spots in town…
1. The Graduate
This is a fun spot inspired by the nearby university. What makes this place even more special is that the Graduate is based in the renovated premises of the historic Hotel Durant, making it a popular and iconic remnant of Berkeley’s eventful counter-culture legacy.
While staying at the Graduate, I had the opportunity to explore an array of standard, mid-sized, and luxury rooms and suites, based on my accommodation needs and preferences. The interiors of the Graduate are filled with artistic and academic references, beautifully blended with a laid-back bohemian flair to stay true to Berkeley’s cultural roots.
I love this place for its unique character, and I can’t help but mention Henry’s, the onsite restaurant and pub. I tried their flavorful cocktails and enjoyed a wide selection of bite-sized treats. It’s no wonder that guests cannot stop raving about this fantastic dining experience. My favorite part was the cozy ambiance at Henry’s, where I savored some of the best cocktails and bites in Berkeley!
2. The Claremont Club & Spa
With its 22 acres of stunning beauty in East Bay and panoramic views of San Francisco’s vibrant cityscape. While visiting, I felt like I had stepped into a classic old-meets-new establishment, blending opulent 19th-century aesthetics with modern amenities. It’s the perfect retreat for travelers exploring the Bay Area, offering both tranquillity and a central location.
The Claremont welcomed its first guests back in 1915. As I wandered through the resort, I couldn’t help but admire the old-world interiors and exquisite detailing, all set against the backdrop of the magnificent hilly landscape.
During my stay, I enjoyed experiencing one of the 276 tastefully designed guest rooms and suites. They truly embody traditional Californian hospitality, offering luxury amenities and access to various appealing recreational facilities. My favourite part was taking a dip in the heated outdoor swimming pools while enjoying the stunning views of the San Francisco skyline.
3. Hotel Shattuck Plaza
This is located near the prestigious Berkeley University is the Hotel Shattuck Plaza. While visiting, I fell in love with this inviting oasis of elegantly timeless features and contemporary creature comforts!
The hotel is housed in a traditional mission-style building constructed over a century ago, and it immediately beckons guests with its lavish guest rooms, striking amenities, and an onsite Mediterranean-themed dining experience. I stayed in one of their 199 rooms, which featured state-of-the-art appliances, fine furniture, hypoallergenic bedding, and thoughtfully curated ergonomic workstations.
The interiors truly impressed me with their eco-conscious mindfulness and the sun-soaked warmth that’s typical of California. I can’t praise the dedicated staff enough for their keen attention to detail and matchless service during my stay at the Plaza. My favorite part was the eco-conscious design of the interiors, which added a unique and sustainable touch to my stay.
4. DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Marina
I think this is a great option for a location near the prestigious Berkeley University is the Hotel Shattuck Plaza. I love this inviting oasis of elegantly timeless features and contemporary creature comforts.
While visiting this traditional mission-style home constructed over a century ago, I experienced the Shattuck Plaza’s charm, with its lavishly appointed guest rooms and striking amenities. I also tried the onsite Mediterranean-themed dining experience, which was a culinary delight.
While staying at the Plaza, I was impressed by the 199 rooms, each featuring state-of-the-art appliances, fine furniture, hypoallergenic bedding, and thoughtfully curated ergonomic workstations. The attention to detail in the room’s design was truly remarkable.
The interiors of the hotel exude an eco-conscious mindfulness and the sun-soaked warmth typical of California. The dedicated staff at the Shattuck Plaza must be commended for their exceptional service, making my stay truly memorable. My favorite part was the complimentary area shuttle service, which made exploring Berkeley a breeze.
5. Aiden by Best Western
While visiting, I loved this modern establishment designed for contemporary travelers seeking comfort and convenience. This opulent boutique hotel attracts business and leisure travelers with its upscale amenities, such as complimentary high-speed Wi-Fi, king-sized beds, pillow-top mattresses, personal safes, and smart appliances.
During my stay at the place, I experienced guest rooms that were luxuriously appointed with tasteful furniture, premium comfort beds, and modern amenities that demonstrated the close attention to detail paid throughout the hotel. I tried the breathtaking city views from the rooftop terrace and enjoyed soulful yoga sessions with mesmerizing sunrises and sunsets as their backdrop.
The central location made this hotel ideal for those eager to minimize commuting expenses and maximize their time away. I particularly loved that I could reserve the onsite bicycle rentals to explore the Berkeley marina and other popular attractions. My favorite part was the stunning rooftop terrace views, which provided a perfect spot to unwind and take in the breathtaking surroundings.
6. Berkeley City Club Hotel
Admitted to the National Register of Historic Places, this place offers a one-of-a-kind experience drenched in old-world grandeur and a gripping historical legacy. While staying at this elegant establishment, I felt like I’d stepped back in time.
I love how the Berkeley City Club has preserved the historic architecture and vintage interiors while elevating the guest rooms with mindful, comfort-focused renovations. The 38 rooms and suites transported me through the ages to a bygone era with their vintage-themed décor, period-style furniture, and rare antiques. It was like taking a journey through history while experiencing modern comfort.
While visiting, I couldn’t resist delving into the past of this magnificent historic landmark. Surrounded by verdant hills and stunning bay views, it’s a paradise for history buffs like me. It’s a place where I truly felt like I was living history, not just visiting it. My favorite part was the panoramic 360-degree city views, which provided a breathtaking backdrop for my stay.
7. SenS Hotel & Vanne Bistro
This offers a getaway in the heart of the Bay Area’s most vibrant food district. While visiting, I enjoyed experiencing its rich history and charming atmosphere. This historic hotel, dating back to 1937, is nestled in a three-story brick building that once housed the famous French Laundry. I love how they’ve preserved the original architecture and interiors while adding masterful upgrades for a truly luxurious experience.
During my stay at the place, I had the opportunity to explore their tastefully appointed guest rooms. I was impressed by the luxury furniture, fine linens, and an array of bath toiletries provided. The inclusion of workstations and smart appliances added a modern touch to the classic setting. What stood out were the guest rooms with private balconies and patios, which allowed me to soak in the ambiance of this vibrant neighborhood while enjoying a cup of coffee.
My favorite part was the charming private balconies or patios in some rooms, which provided a cozy spot to relax and enjoy the atmosphere.
8. Bancroft Hotel
I thought this place was very unique! The location is unbeatable, right in the heart of the UC Berkeley campus, and those breathtaking Berkeley hills and the beautiful Bay Area surround you.
This elegant boutique hotel, with its charming 1920s theme, is a registered National Historic Landmark site. My room was one of the 22 recently renovated guest rooms, complete with eco-friendly upgrades, state-of-the-art amenities, and the comfiest beds you can imagine. The Bancroft truly offers a classic home-away-from-home experience with all the lavish comforts of a high-end resort, making my stay absolutely memorable.
I opted for a room with a balcony, and let me tell you, waking up to those stunning bay views and enjoying breakfast in the Californian sunshine was a dream come true. The Bancroft Hotel is the perfect place to experience Berkeley and the San Francisco Bay Area.
My favorite part was waking up to the stunning bay views from my balcony and enjoying a complimentary homemade breakfast.
9. Marina Inn
This invites travelers to experience comfortable rooms at rates that won’t break the bank. While staying at this retro-style inn, I fell in love with its 20 guest rooms, each thoughtfully designed with simplistic interiors and all the amenities you could wish for.
I tried out the well-equipped rooms, which come with in-room refrigerators, LCD TVs, microwaves, and comfy bedding. The bathrooms were impressive, and I appreciated the attention to detail. The friendly staff at the activity desk were incredibly helpful in planning my Berkeley adventures and guided tours.
Marina Inn is a top choice for budget-conscious travelers like me. It doesn’t compromise on hygiene, comfort, or quality, making it perfect for both business and leisure trips. I love this place for its affordability without sacrificing the essentials. My favorite part was the clean and cozy accommodation that provided everything I needed for a comfortable stay.
- To book, check prices or availability for Marina Inn
10. Serene Cozy Private Suite Patio
Gaby Maia – writer and photographer
Born and raised in Brazil, Gaby has always had a taste for the intriguing, the off-beat and the far flung. After traveling around most of South America, living in Spain and Italy and then moving to England, her feet have stayed continually twitchy. Studying for a degree in Spanish translation and then learning five more languages only poured more fuel onto her traveling ardor. Gaby likes nothing better than discovering new destinations in her spare time and meeting the locals, tasting the cuisine and then writing about her favourite places. Her other indulgences include French cinema, boxing, photography, colourful manicures and soaking up the rays on a sun-infused beach. The places she loves the most include Rio de Janeiro, Rome, Turkey, Barcelona, Lisbon and Cornwall. Find Gaby on Linkedin or Twitter.
Hotel Reviewing Experience –Asked by many tourist boards and many high-profile travel brands to formally review hotels including South America Tourist Board, Turismo Torino and Faville Tours. Also travelled around the world scouting out and reviewing all the most unique hotels in the world, check out our Instagram page for photos. Listed as a top UK travel journalist.