The location is great and there aren't many other options so that's its big plus. It seems to be trying to look like a luxury hotel; I’ve heard it used to be not-so-good and was recently renovated. Unfortunately, the money spent on bells and whistles (e.g. input plugs for the TV built into the wall) would have been better spent on soundproof glass so that one could sleep past 6:30 in the morning, when I wrote most of this review. Most of the rooms face Shattuck Ave, so there's not much chance of escaping the road noise that starts early in the morning. And while the walls are solid, thick, and block all sound, the doors between rooms are extremely thin, meaning that if your neighbor is watching hyperactive Japanese cartoons early in the morning, you'll hear them too.
Many of the details seem to have been done without anybody actually seeing how they work when somebody sleeps in the room. For example, the clock radio is quite nice with an iPod dock. But it also has such an incredibly bright backlight on the clock that it lights up the whole room and you have to put something in front of it in order to sleep on that side of the bed. I had to look up the manual on the internet just to figure out how to set the time (I guess the makers figure the power will never go out?) and dim the light. Likewise, they proudly point out that they have down comforters and high-quality sheets. Except that in between the two is a heavy, coarsely-knitted blanket with a high-relief honeycomb pattern. Did no one sleep under it and notice, "hey, this feels like a bunch of overweight chickens standing all over my body"?
The beds are short-sheeted as standard; this seems to be common in most hotels, and is something I find baffling. It means the housekeepers put a lot of effort into something which I then have to put a lot of effort into to undo. Am I unusual in wanting my sheet, blanket, and comforter to be the same length? Do most people out there bring the sheet up over their head but the comforter only up to their waist?
Finally, they say they pride themselves on service. However, when I went down and pointed out shortly after checking in that several of the lights in my room didn't work, they claimed that it was due to a power outage in the building and that the backup generator wasn’t capable of running everything. I'll take their word that that was true (the internet was down at the time), but when I pointed out that generators seemed to be capable of powering every single other light in the building except for these small ones above the bed, and that these seemed to have been partly pulled out and hanging loose, they replied "oh no, that's how it's supposed to be; and those lights are on a special system, so they're still not on." Of course, in the morning and for the next three days, the internet was back up, and unsurprisingly the lights still didn’t work.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- The Hotel Shattuck Plaza reopened in June 2009 as the jewel of downtown Berkeley, California. After a multimillion dollar renovation which combined the building’s historic charm with modern technologies and amenities, this landmark, boutique hotel provides an upscale haven for business or leisure travelers. Located two blocks from the UC Berkeley campus and next to the Berkeley BART station, the hotel is perfectly positioned for guests visiting the San Francisco Bay Area. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Shattuck Plaza Hotel
- Shattuck Plaza Berkeley