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Berkeley City Club 2.5

Berkeley, San Francisco Bay Area, California

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Review Summary

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Pros

  • Located one block from the UC-Berkeley campus
  • Spectacular historic building designed by renowned architect Julia Morgan
  • Clean and comfortable rooms with period decor, many with great views
  • Fine-dining French restaurant plus free continental breakfast 
  • Huge indoor pool with beautiful mosaic tile work
  • Popular event space with room for up to 250 people
  • On-site beauty salon and laundry room, plus valet laundry services
  • Public computer in lobby and free Wi-Fi throughout 
  • Adjacent parking available (for a fee)

Cons

  • Basic rooms lack TVs, safes, coffeemakers, and AC
  • Entry-level rooms are small and dated
  • Restaurant has limited hours

Bottom Line

Dating back to 1929, the historic Berkeley City Club is a budget hotel located just one block from UC Berkeley. Rooms are small and spartan, with no coffeemakers, air-conditioning, or even TVs, and guests might find them cramped and dated. Property features are paradoxically swanky and include a fine-dining restaurant as well as beautiful public spaces, including a spectacular indoor pool with mosaic tiling. There's also a laundry room on the property and a continental breakfast is included in room rates. Overall, it's an attractive option for those looking for a hotel near the university with loads of personality, though travelers could also consider the mid-range Hotel Durant.

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Scene

Impressive and peaceful historic landmark hotel popular with university visitors

The Berkeley City Club opened in 1929 and originally served as a women's club. It was designed by renowned California architect Gloria Morgan, who also designed the iconic Hearst Castle on the Southern California coastline. The six-story landmark hotel mixes Moorish and Gothic elements along with vaulted ceilings, carved archways, and leaded glass. It’s been lovingly maintained over the years, with a mix of terra-cotta and parquet wood floors and a cozy courtyard with lush landscaping. Common areas are filled with antiques, while Oriental rugs adorn floors and walls. It’s generally a peaceful place with many secluded spots to enjoy the ambiance, but it can get busy on weekends when there are weddings at the on-site ballroom or when events at the university attract visitors.

Location

A short walk from the University of California, Berkeley campus

Map of Berkeley City Club

The Berkeley City Club is located one block from the south entrance of the University of California, Berkeley. It’s also a short walk to Telegraph Avenue, one of Berkeley’s busiest streets, with lots of cafes, bars, and restaurants. 

  • Three-minute walk to Telegraph Avenue’s restaurants
  • Three-minute walk to the University of California, Berkeley campus
  • 11-minute walk to the downtown Berkeley BART station
  • 15-minute walk to the Greek Theater
  • 15-minute drive to downtown Oakland
  • 25-minute drive to downtown San Francisco 
  • 30-minute drive to Oakland International Airport
  • 35-minute drive to San Francisco International Airport

Rooms

Small but clean and comfortable rooms with old-fashioned decor, but no TVs or AC

Standard Rooms have full or queen beds, and there are a few suites with separate living rooms. All feature traditional decor that’s dated but in harmony with the vintage feel of the hotel. Not every room looks the same, as colors and furnishings vary a fair bit, but generally guests can expect to see soft earth tones on the walls and bright-white bedding accented by floral-print bed throws. Hardwood floors are partially covered by Oriental-style rugs, and most rooms have antique-style wood furniture. Floral-theme artwork hangs on the walls in most rooms. Bathrooms also can vary in size and fixtures and have either showers or shower/tub combos. Vintage sinks are common, and many have classic tiling in various colors. 

Note that rooms run short on amenities, and they lack air-conditioning, coffee- and tea-making facilities, and TVs. However, fans are provided in summer months, and guests can open windows to cool the rooms down (although this can result in street noise, especially in rooms facing busy Durant Avenue). Some rooms have views of Berkeley Hill and/or the Bay.

Features

Luxe features for a budget property including a fine-dining restaurant, event space, and indoor pool

It’s not often that a fine-dining French restaurant is located in a 35-room budget hotel, but that’s the case at the Berkeley City Club. Julia’s restaurant is open for lunch and dinner most days, and a free continental breakfast is served here daily. The hotel also offers free coffee and tea in the lobby. Julia’s Lounge serves cocktails in the afternoon and early evening hours when the restaurant is open. 

The huge, Moorish-style indoor pool features beautiful mosaic tile work, while the elegant ballroom is a popular place for weddings and other events. It can host up to 250 people for a seated meal, and other rooms in the Club are available for more intimate events. There's also an on-site beauty salon offering a range of services, plus a guest laundry room for those who want to save money; otherwise, valet dry cleaning and laundry services are also available. Parking is conveniently located in an adjacent lot, but it costs extra. A PC and printer are located in the lobby for guests to use, and free Wi-Fi is accessible throughout the hotel.

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Address

2315 Durant Ave, Berkeley, California 94704, United States

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