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SenS Hotel & Vanne Bistro Berkeley
Ranked #20 of 20 Hotels in Berkeley
Reviewed December 29, 2007

I have stayed at the French hotel twice. Once for business and once on a personal stay. And I'm about to book a room for next weekend. This is not a hotel for those who are happy with nothing less than an expensive chain with lots of overstuffed pillows and marble bathrooms. This hotel is reasonably priced for the neighborhood. It's a fantastic Berkeley neighorhood within easy walking distance of campus and with good restaurants and shops right out the front door. The cafe downstairs may not be as uniform and flashy as Starbucks, but the coffee is EXCELLENT. And the guys behind the counter are always nice to me. I stop in here on occasion even when I don't stay at the hotel. Like hotels I've stayed at in the great areas of Paris, it's a bit expensive and just a little bit grubby, although clean. The carpet in one room smelled a little funny. In the most recent room, it did not. My main criteria is very clean and comfortable sheets and I had them. They also have several free parking spaces in the adjacent parking lot (first come, first served). Again, this is a very urban hotel in a densely populated and popular neighborhood. My husband and I (and our five-year old daughter) felt safe here and find it very convenient.

  • Stayed: December 2007, traveled on business
    • Value
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    • Cleanliness
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    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
2  Thank ktallbea
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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45 - 51 of 62 reviews

Reviewed August 30, 2007

My review isn't anywhere near as bad as some on this site. It was a little funky - definitely older carpet, some dated furnishings, etc. But my space was clean, the fridge, TV, and free wireless internet worked well, and the bed was comfortable enough. Clean and well-supplied bathroom and good lighting. I stayed in room 201 - second floor, overlooking the main entrance on Shattuck Ave. It was a big, high-ceilinged, cool room. Lots of windows, brick walls, etc. I dug it. The staff were quite friendly and provided me with a corkscrew to open up a bottle of wine. Is it a top notch place? No, but it does the job alright.

  • Stayed: January 2007, traveled on business
    • Value
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1  Thank largeman2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 18, 2006

My daughter attends Cal Berkeley and I LOVE the neighborhoods, and enjoy walking Shattock to the "historic" businesses. The French Hotel is off my list even for a quick cup of coffee. We stopped in one morning to have the coffee and I used the bathroom, which was SCARY!!! It was filthy, and I wondered how someone could stay in the hotel if the appearance was this bad walking through the coffee shop. They were very busy and I second guessed myself but I would never recommend this place even for a quick cup of coffee. Sorry, but I believe there were bugs in the hotel room and I was NOT there!!!

  • Stayed: November 2005
    • Value
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2  Thank sshikers
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 5, 2006

I'm a Berkeley native and I love north Berkeley! I was in town visiting friends a couple of weeks ago and planned to stay at the French Hotel for two nights. I read reviews that the hotel is extremely run down, dirty carpets, stained furniture, burnt out bulbs, etc. But, because I love the area I decided to give the French Hotel a try. I was first placed in a room that had a leak in the ceiling in two places. The staff very helpfully moved me to a room down the hall. I awoke after my first night at the hotel to find that I was covered with bites from the middle of my back to the backs of my knees. I believe it was either fleas or bed bugs. I immediately checked out and was told by the desk staff to contact the management during the week to notify them and see if they could adjust my charge. I called and the manager indicated that he had checked the room, seen nothing, had had another guest stay in the room and had no complaints about bug bites. Since he didn't have first hand knowledge about the bites, he wouldn't adjust any charges. Hmm, I could not in good conscience, for any reason (even if the location is great) recommend staying at this hotel.

  • Stayed: December 2005
    • Value
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21  Thank MT_Atlanta
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
A TripAdvisor Member
Minneapolis
18
Reviewed November 2, 2005

Filthy and run down is not quaint. I was really disappointed. It bordered on being a flop-house. Security was also a problem with unlocked doors and people coming in and wandering down the halls in the middle of the night. This place was probably ok five year ago but it has really fallen on hard times. The owners should spend some money and fix it up.

  • Stayed: November 2005, traveled on business
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8  Thank A TripAdvisor Member
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 24, 2005

I was shocked by the French Hotel. Having lived
around the corner from the French Hotel some years
ago, I figured it would be an acceptable place to
stay while visiting. I am not at all picky about hotels,
and my requirements are modest, but the Frech Hotel
is absolutely the worst hotel I have ever stayed at.
The hallways and the rooms smell of sewage. The
carpet is soiled. The bathroom shower had mold growing
in it. Homeless people wander in and out. I got sick
while I stayed there, no doubt from the unsanitary conditions.
If the price had been half as much, I might have expected
as much, but given that this hotel is NOT a discount hotel,
this is inexcusable. Shame on the owners of this decrepit
property. Because the arrangements were made by my
host, I didn't change hotels, but there is no way I would
have stayed a second night if I had a choice about it. DO NOT
stay at this hotel under any circumstances. The people
who wrote positive reviews MUST be shills for the management,
as any resonable person would be repulsed by the filth of this
hotel.

  • Stayed: September 2005, traveled on business
    • Value
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18  Thank InCascadia
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
A TripAdvisor Member
216
Reviewed July 13, 2005

I travel to Berkeley often. It has been many years since I stayed at the French Hotel, but after seeing the reviews I have to comment. I booked two nights at the hotel. It was actually listed on material I received from the Berkeley Alumni Association. I have no idea why they listed such a place.

When I first arrived, I had to wake up the front desk person who was sleeping on a small mattress in the hallway. I'm cool with strange stuff, so I only thought it was funny at first. When I got to my room though, I noticed it was dirty and old. Instead of curtains, there were strange shutters that you may see on a storefront. They made a loud clanking sound when you opened them. There were plastic containers in place of a dresser that had a glass tabletop on them. These were like containers you may buy at Target and use in your office or garage.

I left first thing in the morning and canceled the next evening's reservation. I went down the street to the Shattuck Hotel, which was much better.

My boss experienced the same thing during a recent trip to Berkeley and also left the hotel in the morning to find a better place.

  • Stayed: September 1999
    • Value
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13  Thank A TripAdvisor Member
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about SenS Hotel & Vanne Bistro Berkeley

Address: 1538 Shattuck Ave, Berkeley, CA 94709-1517 (Formerly French Hotel)
Location: United States > California > Berkeley
Amenities:
Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #20 of 20 Hotels in Berkeley
Price Range: $177 - $194 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:2.5 star — SenS Hotel & Vanne Bistro Berkeley 2.5*
Number of rooms: 18
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
SenS Hotel & Bistro is centrally-located in one of the best food destinations in the Bay Area. The famous Gourmet Ghetto is renowned for its epicurean delights provided by restaurants like the world renowned Chez Panisse, the upscale Mexican restaurant Cesar, and the enormously popular Cheese Board Collective. The famous SenS Bistro is located on the ground-floor and serves the best espressos, lattes and pastries in town. Hotel guests enjoy complementary morning coffee as well as fresh pastries and bagels all while soaking up Berkeley's morning sun and catching up on-line with access to our complimentary Wi-Fi. Our three-level, historical hotel is centrally-located in one of the best walking neighborhoods in town. The hotel is undergoing a complete renovation featuring new amenities such as luxurious walk in showers, high end linens, and new flat screen TVs. Renovations will be completed in early 2017, but until then, you can enjoy our spacious, comfortable rooms equipped with cozy beds, cherrywood armoirs and writing tables. Several of our rooms have balconies. We are conveniently located close to University of California Berkeley and many Berkeley corporate offices. San Francisco is minutes away via freeway and BART. Both San Francisco International Airport and Oakland International Airport are a comfortable drive from our hotel. Our friendly staff will happily assist in any special arrangements that you might need. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
French Hotel Berkeley

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