Stayed here for three nights for a conference at the university. Was mostly very happy with the hotel. I love old hotels and this one has a beautifully restored exterior that gives you an idea of what it looked like in the 1930s. This was my first time in BErkeley and I loved the art deco architecture downtown and the well-preserved buildings..if you have time check the BErkely Public Library as well, also a gorgeous deco building.
When you're in the lobby of the hotel, check out the fascinating original menus and newspaper clippings from the hotel's early days that are on the wall above the computers that are to the left of the check-in desk.
The hotel location is great, right near the bart station, making it easy to get to and from San Francisco. I wanted to spend more time in SF than in Berkeley when I had spare time and was pleasantly surprised how easy it was to get to the downtown SF area from Berekely..a quick trip on the bart and then transfer to muni line at the Embarcadero stop. Coming back at night can take a bit longer because you have to transfer in Oakland Bart rather than getting a direct train to berkeley from downtown.
I was very happy with the hotel itself. The interior has been given a contemporary modern deign look rather than trying to make it look as it might have looked in the 1930s (which I would have preferred), but the rooms have been smartly done.
Even though my room was very small, things were organized well. I felt glad that my room was not above the street because I was concerned it might be noisy if it had been. I looked onto the back of a different wing of the hotel and could see across to the BErkeley public library, so I didn't have to worry about street noise.
The dark blue carpets in the halls were a slightly odd choice, because I noticed they tended to show every bit of dirt and lint...when I would get off the elevator on my floor, the carpets outside the elevator always looked like they needed to be vacuumed, with lots of white lint and dust.
There are many restaurants in short walking distance from the hotel. We had a nice breakfast at Venus down the street. And try the Italian gelato shop also nearby, run by a guy from Italy, with some unusual and interesting flavours, like lavender blueberry.
The main thing I didn't like about the hotel was how extremely noisy the lobby always was..mainly because the lobby is really just a tiny little section directly across from the bar/restaurant, which is not closed off from the lobby in any way..So when I first walked in to the hotel I thought I had come in to the restaurant by mistake and that there must be a different door for the hotel lobby...But the check-in desk is actually just a tiny desk over to the left when you come in..Because there is a big, long bar right as you walk in, and the floors and walls are all hard surfaces, it is extremely noisy when people are there having drinks etc after work..
I prefer a quiet, relaxing hotel lobby when I'm coming and going , so did not enjoy this at all..I felt sorry for the desk clerks having to work in all that noise all the time. I wish the hotel designers had found a way to separate the lobby from the restaurant to create a quieter space, but it's a small space, so that would have been difficult, I guess.
The workout room is very small, so I didn't bother, but the Berkeley YMCA is just down the street about a block, so I went there to exercise each day. I happen to be a Y member so was able to use their gym with a $5 charge. Apparently the hotel can also give you a day pass to the Y..not sure if there is a charge for this, but the Y has great facilities.
So overall, I would definitely stay at this hotel again for the location and convenience of being so close to the Bart station. Just be prepared for a very noisy lobby, especially at night.