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“Beautifully Unique”
Review of Berkeley City Club

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Berkeley City Club
Ranked #6 of 20 Hotels in Berkeley
GreenLeadersBronze level
Forestville, California
Level 6 Contributor
78 reviews
68 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 215 helpful votes
“Beautifully Unique”
Reviewed November 18, 2011

Having grown up on the Central Coast, Hearst Castle was always an iconic landmark. Recently when I had a chance to stay overnight at what came to be known as “the Little Castle” (aka the Berkeley City Club) I jumped at the opportunity to experience another of architect Julia Morgan’s uniquely beautiful buildings. As a guest at the hotel, one can wander thru the many rooms and garden areas or take a formal tour if planned ahead of time. I loved the flawless melding of Italian Renaissance, Gothic and Romanesque characteristics. My husband thought the indoor pool was the prettiest one he had ever been in. The fabulous architecture and art are nearly overwhelming and I imagine that one would discover many features and details during each and every visit.

My lodging experience was a very good one, but not quite equal to the building itself. Our room #609 was on the top (6th) floor and at the end of a hall, adjacent to a rooftop terrace where we had views out over the city all the way to the Bay, as well as towards the Berkeley Hills. The sunset was gorgeous from up there!

Our room was small as is the case in many historic hotels, and the queen bed took up much of the floorspace. The bed had a mattress topper which seemed like it might be too soft, but turned out to be comfortable. There were 2 chairs and a small secretary desk in the room, a walk-in closet with plenty of hangers and a luggage rack; telephone and clock radio on one of the nightstands (the clock had a display which strangely wasn’t visible in daylight), and 2 packs of earplugs were on the nightstands--a harbinger of things to come. The flooring was concrete (Julia Morgan utilized that material in all the best ways) and there was a deep-pile Oriental style area rug. Thick, attractive floor-length curtains covered the openable (non-screened) windows. There were only plastic cups in the room and no coffee maker (coffee was available on Lobby level). An old-fashioned radiator provided heat and our room remained at a comfortable temperature throughout what was a rather cold night. Lighting inc’d a ceiling fixture and a lamp on each bedstand, but their bulbs were low-wattage and IMO didn’t provide enough light to read without straining.

The small (but not cramped) bathroom had a nice vintage tiled floor. Since there was no fan, the openable window was appreciated. Other than the window sill and a narrow cabinet, there was no space to stash toiletries/cosmetics. There was only a single small rack to hang towels. A hairdryer was on the wall. The deep, narrow tub/shower had a wrap-around shower curtain. Water pressure was fine, but a comfortable temperature was rather hard to achieve or maintain.

Unfortunately, we had ill timing to arrive on the day when there was an Occupy Oakland demonstration ongoing at UCB (a very short distance away) AND a police action occurring on campus as well. As a result there were 4 news helicopters hovering not far away and they were there for at least 3 hrs. When we got back from dinner they were gone, but then they briefly revisited us about 9 pm. Following the departure of the copters, someone down on street level began yelling methodically for about half an hour. Add that to the din of the traffic and the sounds of the trains, and the noise level ramped up to well above the norm for a city hotel. Altho’ arplugs were set out on each nightstand, I actually ended up not using them since the noise did drop off dramatically by 10 pm. Inside the hotel, all was quiet, but the noise from the outside really did have a negative impact on our stay, and is the only reason that I didn’t give the BCC a higher rating. (If I could have given a 4.5, that would have been more accurate).

A complimentary breakfast buffet was served in the beautiful 2nd floor dining room. The selections were basic but satisfying and inc’d scrambled eggs, bacon, bagels, pastries and muffins, toast, dry cereal, watermelon slices, a variety of juices, coffee and teas. We also had dinner there and we really pleased with the quality of both the service and the food. Their menu was surprisingly creative.

There is a parking lot next to the hotel and altho’ our lodging package inc’d parking, the regular fee is only $12 per night--quite a bargain in the Bay Area!

All hotel staff we encountered were cheerful and friendly, and the pleasant woman at the front desk both at check-in and check-out was extremely helpful in a thorough and unhurried way.

The Berkeley City Club is an exceptionally beautiful historic hotel and offers a very unique, unforgettable lodging experience.

Room Tip: Ask for a room on the 6th floor.
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  • Stayed November 2011, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
2 Thank Forestvillian
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Rating summary
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Dallas
Level 2 Contributor
9 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
Reviewed November 10, 2011

Stayed at the Berkeley City Club on a business trip this week. The hotel is very clean and is a must for architecture and history buffs. It's not your new, contemporary hotel - it is almost like you are staying in a museum. The staff is very friendly and our stay was pleasant.

  • Stayed November 2011, traveled on business
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
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    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
2 Thank JNWARD
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Folsom, Ca
Level 2 Contributor
4 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 19 helpful votes
Reviewed October 30, 2011

Me and a buddy needed a place to stay in Berkeley, because Primus was playing at the Greek Theater. Found this hotel on LivingSocial for 1/2 price. What an awesome place even at full price. Gorgeous historical building, incredible indoor pool...just awesome! When we got there Dale, who owns the hair salon in the hotel gave us a private tour. Great way to start our stay. The included breakfast in the morning was fantastic with real fresh squeezed orange juice. I am definitely staying here when I'm in the area again.What was really cool too, is that you can't even get in the front door of the hotel without your key and your car is in a private lot with security cameras...The concert was great! The hotel was even better!! It really made the trip~ Oh, ask for a room on the 5th or 6th floor...Great views!!!

Room Tip: There are 3 suites in the hotel on the 3rd, 5th and 6th floors per the front desk, opt for the 5th o...
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  • Stayed October 2011, traveled with friends
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Helpful?
2 Thank Divdown
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Salem, Oregon, United States
Level 1 Contributor
4 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
Reviewed September 26, 2011

We enjoyed every nook and cranny of this architectural gem, which included gardens and an enclosed sun room.There's a wonderful pool as well. There are many common-use places for sitting and visiting on the first two floors. The room includes breakfast and parking. The hotel is conveniently located just a few blocks from UC's campus. It's easy walking to many great restaurants and shops.

  • Stayed September 2011, traveled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
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Helpful?
4 Thank Pam R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
Level 3 Contributor
20 reviews
13 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 49 helpful votes
Reviewed September 21, 2011

The Pool and breakfast was wonderful! The room was small but very clean (their Maid's rock). I do feel they should have T V's in the rooms. There is a T. V. in the "History Room" downstairs. I had to pay $120 a night for my room It would have been nicer to get a even better rate as I am a senior I could stay here a lot more.

Room Tip: Try to get a bay view.
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  • Stayed August 2011, traveled solo
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Helpful?
2 Thank okpeden
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
michigan
Level 4 Contributor
46 reviews
17 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 31 helpful votes
Reviewed September 1, 2011

Beautiful Julia Morgan historical building. The room was nicely decorated & clean and the bed was comfortable. I disagree with a previous contributor who felt this was not worth the Living Social deal of $79/night. $79 doesn't usually get one much and this was certainly a beautiful, historic building that has been well-maintained. Also, the breakfast was a bit more than a continental breakfast as another contributor suggested; we had a hot egg dish each of the four days that way stayed.
The down side is that the room was too hot and the hotel was loud. Not sure why the heat was running. From our room, we could hear the music at night. However, ear plugs were provided with the toiletries.

  • Stayed August 2011, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank sgw57
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sacramento
Level 6 Contributor
228 reviews
27 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 65 helpful votes
Reviewed August 8, 2011

Our room was cozy (and I mean in a comfortable, not cramped way.) The bed was soft, but not saggy. The highlight was the hot breakfast in the morning. Eggs, bacon, potatoes, toasts, danish, fresh fruit, juices, coffees, teas, cereals - anything you could want and lots of it.

Room Tip: Upper floor was quiet.
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  • Stayed August 2011, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank sactokaren
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Berkeley City Club

Property: Berkeley City Club
Address: 2315 Durant Ave, Berkeley, CA 94704
Phone Number:
Location: United States > California > Berkeley
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Center with Internet Access Free Breakfast Restaurant Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#5 Green Hotel in Berkeley
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:2.5 star — Berkeley City Club 2.5*
Number of rooms: 38
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
The Berkeley City Club was elaborately crafted by architect Julia Morgan. Carved archways, vaulted ceilings, an indoor mosaic tiled swimming, and leaded-glass windows overlooking lush courtyards give the building its unique old world charm. The Berkeley City Club boasts six floors of classically designed standard, junior suite and suite size hotel rooms. Experience breathtaking views from each room, whether its the iconic fog rolling in over the San Francisco bay or the beautiful sunrises over the Berkeley Hills. Enjoy complimentary breakfast, including fresh fruit, toast, bagels, pastries, hard-boiled eggs, oatmeal, yogurt and juice. For entertainment, check out special member events, fitness classes, theater performances, salon services, lounge hours and dining in the restaurant, Julia's or visit local Berkeley attractions just steps away from the Club. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Berkeley City Club Hotel Berkeley
Berkeley City Hotel

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