History, Culture and Living Like a Local at Berkeley’s Boutique Hotels

Hotels — By Lauren Quinn on June 14, 2010 at 8:02 pm

Now, really—did you come all the way to Berkeley to experience the ordinary? We didn’t think so.

Whether you’re in town for a university-sponsored event, a counter-culture hoe down or just want to do some California cuisine indulging, it’s Berkeley’s one-of-a-kind nature that’s brought you here. So what better place to stay than in one of its unusually unique, incredibly extraordinary hotels?

Forget brand names and corporate logos. Berkeley’s best hotels are all about individual flair and historic ambiance. It’s all part of the Berkeley experience—so cozy up and get comfortable.

The Berkeley City Club

Culture, history and a Moorish indoor swimming pool—it’s hard to beat the refined ambiance of The Berkeley City Club. Designed in 1929 by local architect Julia Morgan (whose most famous work was the Hearst Castle in San Simeon), the hotel/private club has been a meeting place for the fine minds of Berkeley for decades. Relax in the regal opulence and take part in some of the heady cultural events the property sponsors: book clubs, film screenings and community group meetings.

Rose Garden Inn

Berkeley may feel like a city now, but you can nestle up in its small town past at the Rose Garden Inn, a historic mansion set amid lush gardens. Local entrepreneurs built the lavish home in 1903, making the buildings one of the few that predate the 1906 earthquake.

Antique furnishings and individual room touches make the Rose Garden Inn feel more like staying at a country bed and breakfast than a hotel in the heart of Berkeley. Recent upgrades have brought modern amenities like WiFi, but the warm hospitality (and little perks like complimentary breakfast and fresh-baked evening cookies) keep the vibe down-home and grounded.

Beau Sky Hotel

You don’t need to hole up in a former mansion to get a true Berkeley experience. One of the city’s best bargains, and most conveniently located hotels, is the Beau Sky Hotel. The 1911 historic house has been updated to include modern features, but unique antique touches remain the real draw. The hotel has made the most of its central location: guests are allowed full use of university gyms and recreation facilities. You’ll truly feel like a local—especially when you’re playing racquetball with one.

Tags: boutique, Hotels