Chic rooms with iPod docks, mini-fridges, and laptop-size safes
Some rooms have views of city and San Francisco Bay
On-site Henry's Sports Bar and Pub is a local favorite; room service available
Graduate Floor Rooms include breakfast and a wine-and-cheese hour
Conference and banquet rooms available
On-site gift shop and ATM
Free Wi-Fi throughout
Pet-friendly (fee and reservation required)
Some rooms are worn (renovation scheduled for 2016)
Poor soundproofing between rooms
Shaky Wi-Fi signal
No fitness facilities
Fee for parking
A local landmark that dates from 1928, the mid-range Hotel Durant is around the corner from the University of California, Berkeley campus. Its 143 rooms strike an academic theme that at times takes a quirky turn. Posters of "The Graduate" adorn rooms, some of which are named for famous California and Berkeley personalities. Rooms also include iPod docks, laptop-size safes, and work desks with ergonomic chairs; some have bay views. The property's sports bar, with nine big-screen TVs and a large selection of beers, is a local favorite. But past guests have complained about poor soundproofing, shaky Wi-Fi, and the shabby state of some of the rooms. (Note that renovations are schedule for the end of 2016.) Travelers could comparison shop with the DoubleTree by Hilton Berkeley Marina, which has two indoor pools, a sauna, and fitness center at similar rates.
Built in 1928 and named to honor the first president of the University of California, Hotel Durant occupies an imposing six-story building that over the decades has seen Nobel Prize winners, students, parents, and college administrators pass through. An ornately sculpted entrance flanked by two Art Deco-style lamps stands out from the buildings flat, beige facade. Interiors are decorated in a classic style, with high ceilings and terra-cotta floor tiles in the lobby and a cozy seating area with a retro-looking brown leather chesterfield, high-backed armchairs, and a wooden trunk used as a table. Inspired by its proximity to Berkeley, the hotel has an academic theme throughout, with dark-wood-paneled conference rooms, a chess board -- and as a nod to Berkeley in the '60s -- Bob Marley pillows on the couch and photographs of Vietnam-era protesters. Henry's Sports Bar and Pub, which has been a part of the hotel since it first opened, is a popular hangout for guests and locals alike.
Across from the University of California, Berkeley campus, a block up from Telegraph Avenue
Hotel Durant is within a few minutes' walk of the University of California, Berkeley campus, and a block up from Telegraph Avenue, one of the city's main commercial streets. There are lots of cafes and bars in the area, as well as a variety of restaurants.
Three-minute walk to Telegraph Avenue
Five-minute walk to University of California Berkeley
10-minute walk to the Greek Theater
11-minute walk to California Memorial Stadium
Seven-minute drive to downtown Berkeley
Seven-minute drive to University of California Botanical Garden
11-minute drive to Berkeley Repertory Theater
12-minute drive to Tilden Regional Park
13-minute drive to Oakland
30-minute drive to San Francisco
30-minute drive to Oakland International Airport
40-minute drive to San Francisco International Airport
Academically themed, with flat-screen TVs, iPod docks, safes, and free Wi-Fi
The Durant's 143 rooms continue the college theme with little whimsical touches: Work desks have study lamps, posters of "The Graduate" hang above the desks, hotel information is printed on “cheat sheets” designed to look like CliffsNotes, and the hotel directory's black-and-white cover resembles a Mead composition notebook. Decor is traditional, despite the quirky touches, with beige walls, brown-and-black striped carpeting, mahogany furniture, and upholstered armchairs. Details like tufted headboards and nailhead trim on the media consoles add an extra layer of elegance. Some rooms have views of the city and San Francisco Bay as well.
Standard in-room amenities include air-conditioning, flat-screen TVs, iPod dock stations, mini-fridges, work desks with ergonomic chairs, and free Wi-Fi. Other handy extras include bathrobes, a selection of different pillows and irons and ironing boards. Bathrooms, covered in posh pearl-gray wallpaper, have pedestal sinks and shower/tub combos or walk-in showers. Terra Pure toiletries are provided.
The Executive Graduate Guestrooms located on the top Graduate Floor are named for famous Berkeley graduates and offer a few extras, like Oxgenics showerheads and luxury toiletries. These rooms also include a wine and cheese hour each evening in the private Graduate Lounge, and a continental breakfast.
Past guests have complained about the shabby state of some of the rooms, including peeling paint and mold in the bathrooms, but renovations have been scheduled for the end of 2016. Other complaints include inadequate soundproofing and poor Wi-Fi reception.
On-site restaurant and bar, meeting and event rooms, and free Wi-Fi
Aside from its history, the Durant's highlight is Henry’s Sports Bar and Pub. A favorite with locals, this wood-paneled, high-ceilinged space has cozy semi-circular booths tucked into niches next to the windows. For breakfast, which is not included in standard rates, guests can choose from an a la carte menu of omelets and egg specials, oatmeal, Greek yogurt, French toast, pancakes, and fresh fruit plates. Guests staying on the Graduate Floor get a free continental-style breakfast and an evening wine-and-cheese hour in the private Graduate Lounge. Henry's also has a gastro-pub menu of lunch and dinner options, and the bar is open from midday until late, with a large selection of beers on tap, California wines, and crafted cocktails. Room service is available as well.
Other on-site features include three wood-paneled boardrooms seating up to 80 people, four banquet rooms for up to 100, and a business center with two public computers. A small shop sells snacks and drinks, and has an ATM. Wi-Fi is free throughout the hotel, and paid on-site parking is available. Pets are welcome for an extra fee and subject to prior reservation.