Claremont Hotel and Spa, Review: Hidden Gem in the Oakland/Berkeley Hills

While the Claremont Hotel is painted white, at dusk t reflects the setting set across San Francisco Bay. Photo Credit: Accidental Travel Writer.

70 Days Across America


Opened in 1915, the Claremont Hotel and Spa is situated in the Oakland/Berkeley foothills. It affords spectacular views of San Francisco Bay and the Golden Gate Bridge. The 10 storey edifice sits amid 22 acres of beautifully landscaped gardens in one of the Bay Area’s most stylish neighborhoods.

Why I’m Here …

Whether I am in Oakland or Berkeley is a point of considerable pride for natives of the two Eastbay cities.

Because the Claremont Hotel straddles the Oakland/Berkeley border, both cities want to claim it as their own.

So here’s the scoop. The hotel itself sits within the Oakland city limits. However, the Berkeley post office serves this part of Oakland. Therefore, the hotel has a Berkeley address.

Strengthening Berkeley’s claim to the hotel is the fact that the entrance to the hotel’s parking lot is in Berkeley. And some of the hotel’s parking is in Berkeley.

But the hotel itself is, in fact, in Oakland.  So I’ll go with, “Oakland/Berkeley”.

So why am I here?

This is one of the first stops on the Northern California lg of my epic trip, 70 Days Across America.

My previous stops included Concord, Napa, San Francisco, and Los Altos

This is a momentous moment for me. Because I was born and raised in Oakland. Not only that, I have ALWAYS wanted to spend the night in this very splendid hotel!

Hotel Overview

The Claremont Hotel and Spa has 279 rooms and suites, four food and beverage outlets, a 20,000 square foot spa, a 10,000 square foot fitness centre, three swimming pools, and 10 tennis courts.

Nestled in the foothills, the hotel was originally built as a private residence with money from the California Gold Rush.  The property straddles the Oakland/Berkeley city limits.

Click here for more information on the hotel, room rates, and special offers>>

My Arrival …

The staff were both firendly and professional. They made my homecoming special. P:hoto Credit: Accidental Travel Writer.
Known variously as the Wedding Cake Hotel or the White Castle on the Hill, the Claremont Hotel has been an Eastbay landmark for more than a century.

How many high school students had their junior proms or senior balls in one of the hotel’s function rooms?

In celebration of the hotel’s centennial in 2015, the landmark hotel underwent a complete renovation of both the hotel rooms and public spaces.

My Room …

wlelcome-treats-upon arrival
Welcome treats included a bottle of California wine, cheese, grapes, crackers, nuts, and a chess set made of white and dark chocolate. Photo Credit: Accidental Travel Writer.
View of Berkeley with San Francisco and the Golden Gate in the background.P hoto Credit: Accidental Travel Writer.

The Claremont Hotel and Spa has 279 rooms and suites, which were recently renovated. Hotel guests have access to The Club.

When I opened the door to my Bay View room, I saw the yummiest welcome package of any of the hotels I stayed at on this trip,

There were yummy treats and a bottle of California wine to wash them down with.

Regarding the room, it measured 240 square feet or 22 square meters. The cream and chocolate brown color scheme had a sort of Laura Ashley meets Art Deco sensibility.

There was a king-size bed, a large console, a flat screen television, and a breathtaking view of Berkeley with San Francisco and the Golden Gate in the distance.

I particularly liked the dressing room, which led into the stylish bathroom.  Few newly built hotels offer this level of thoughtfulness these days.

The Coffee …

Keurig Coffee maker and capsules of Peet’s Coffee. Photo Credit: Accidental Travel Writer
I loved theKeurig coffee maker. Not only was it easy to use, it made excellent coffee. In fact, it was a big improvement over the last hotel I stayed at, which made lousy coffee.

Most importantly, the brand of coffee was Peet’s, which is a local brand. I really like it when local businesses are supported. Also, it adds a bit of “local color” to the hotel.

The Food and Beverage Outlets


The Limewood Bar and Restaurant at the Claremont Hotel has lovely views of Berkeley and San Francisco Bay beyond.

The Claremont Hotel and Spa has four food and beverage outlets. Each one has a different menu and a different vibe. Among the key draws are the spectacular views of San Francisco Bay and the Golden Gate Bridge.

Limewood Bar and Restaurant – pictured above, the Limewood Bar and restaurant serves mouth-watering dishes with regionally sourced ingredients. Don’t miss the Dining on the Deck four-course dinner series with paired wines. An oyster bar has been added. Open for lunch and dinner. The bar remains open until midnight.

  • Click HERE for my first hand review of the eatery

Meritage – this fine dining restaurant features grilled steaks and fresh seafood dishes prepared with artisanal locally sourced ingredients. Open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Don’t miss the Sunday branch.

Claremont Lobby Lounge and Bar – the best spot to watch the sun set into the sea through the Golern Gate over cocktails dating back to the pre-Ptohibition era. Don’t miss the afternoon tea on Saturday and Sunday!

Bayview Cafe – casual poolside dining with a menu ranging from salads and sandwiches to hamburgers and healthy snacks.

The Facilities …

The Claremont Hotel and Spa had the most comprehensive set of leisure facilities of any urban hotel I have ever stayed at.

My room included access to both the spa and the club.

The Spa …

70days berkeley claremont spa entrance

The Fairmont Spa – measuring 20,000 square metres, the spa has 32 treatment rooms including two suites for couples,  eucalyptus steam rooms, saline whirl pools, deluge showers,  a full-service hair and nail salon, and relaxation areas.

The Club

70days berkeley hotel claremont pool

The Club – there are three swimming pools, a kids club, 10 tennis courts, a 10,000 square metre gym, and more tha 90 classes per week.

The hotel has complete facilities for meetings, weddings, and other kinds of events.

Location, Location, Location

The hotel sits at the foot of the Claremont Canyon Regional Preserve in the Oakland/Berkeley Hills.

Because of its privileged location, the hotel affords stunning views of San Francisco Bay and the Golden Gate Bridge.

The hotel also sits next to a very stylish residential district. i enjoyed wandering through the neighborhood, checking out the beautiful homes.

Also, College Avenue, which is lined with cafes, boutiques, wine bars, antique shops, and other trendy businesses, is also a short walk from the hotel.

The Verdict …

Plates on lobby wall-create a picture of the Claremont Hotel. Photo Credit: Accidental Travel Writer.

I loved my room, it was very comfortable. And it was just the right size, In addition, the decor was very inviting.

While the hotel is an architectural gem, I was a little disappointed with the public spaces. I didn’t think the interior design did justice to the property. That is to say, it seemed a bit generic.

Regarding the food and beverage outlets, I didn’t think they lived up to Northern California’s reputation as foodie’s paradise.

However, the location was fabulous. I thoroughly enjoyed exploring the lovely neighborhood. And College Avenue is a place I would never tire to wandering up and down.

I’ll give this hotel a qualified two thumb’s up.


Claremont Hotel and Spa – 41 Tunnel Road, Berkeley, California. Telephone: (510) 843-3000.

Click here for more information on the hotel, room rates, and special offers: Claremont Hotel

This hotel review of the Claremont Hotel and Spa is part of a series chronicaling my epic journey, 70 Days Across America.

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