The Claremont is staggeringly beautiful if not imposing. A structure that had it not been a hotel, may have school aged kids running past it because of rumors of being haunted. And while those rumors exist, I didn't speak to anyone who'd even substantiate them with a response on the subject.
Stepping into the lobby is like being rushed back through time. The appointments (storefronts, computers. Wi-Fi etc…) are current, but the architecture is old, beginning of last century, old. And that is more than enough to make you feel like you're on vacation.
The staff is exceptionally friendly, from the valet staff outside, to the front desk, and housekeeping, to the random managers walking around the premises. The thing that struck me was that while I was with my kids, the staff never addressed me alone (or first for that matter). They addressed me as if my kids were people. "Hey guys! Having fun? Have you been to the pool yet? It's awesome." It made my kids feel like part of the vacation and not just people tagging along.
The pool at the Claremont is an addition and you can tell. It's not attached to the main building—I wouldn't want to risk losing the feel of that structure if I were the architect either—but they could have made it easier to navigate. Down to the Garden Level, out the side door, across two service thoroughfares, you skirt down the side of what looks like the deliveries bay for about 300 feet (no sidewalk included) and you reach the pool. If you have children between 18 months and 4 years, it's almost a chore getting here because of safety concerns. Once you do however, it is worth it and the feel of the hotel extends to this area. An Olympic sized swimming pool with lanes set up for lap swimmers, as well as an area for free swim, a separate kiddie pool for those kids not confident enough to head to the larger pool, a hot tub, an expansive exercise room, a cafe, and a poolside bar round out the amenities here. The best part about this area however is the lifeguards. They aren't just teenagers who know how to swim that happen to find a summer job here, they are trained lifeguards with some experience behind them and the two on watch when we were there took their jobs seriously. As a parent it allows you to relax and enjoy the calm surroundings.
While there are three restaurants at the Claremont (we dined at two of them) there really isn't one that I would say is overwhelmingly kid friendly. Kids are welcomed, but whether it be patio dining with a view at Paragon or taking in the bar fare and then some at the Meritage, it seems that children were not included in the thoughts of these restaurants. Understandable given the feel of the restaurants, but disappointing nonetheless.
The hotel offers a babysitting service that is complimentary for up to three hours if you're staying on the grounds, but I don't see why you'd need it. The surrounding city has more than enough to offer a family and with San Francisco just a short BART trip away, it's easy to fill your day and then some. The surrounding area of downtown Berkeley is where you find the real character that the Claremont is based on. Mom and pop shops dot the landscape with an occasional Safeway, or Trader Joe's just to balance things out. If you walk it, you really get a sense of how things were versus how things are now, which, truth be told, isn't that different. Beyond downtown there are Victorian houses juxtaposed with frat houses, but the pervasive feeling is that of Berkley is blissfully unique.
The Claremont Resort and Spa, has its own influence on the surrounding area and that can't be denied. It's beautiful, it's grand and it is, all things considered an amazing place for a family to stay.
*My family and I were hosted by The Claremont Hotel Club & Spa in return for an unbiased opinion of their hotel and/or amenities therein. The opinions expressed are my own.
The only resort in the East
Bay, a classic Victorian-style hotel within
elaborate gardens and grounds, along
with a major tennis complex and a complete
spa. Olympic-size pool, lap pool,
children’s wading area, playground, par course,
restaurants, and babysitting
Located in central Berkeley, The Claremont Hotel Club & Spa is near the airport and close to Judah L. Magnes Museum, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, and Berkeley Art Museum. Additional points of interest include University of California Botanical Gardens and University of California Berkeley.
The Claremont Hotel Club & Spa's restaurant serves lunch and dinner. A bar/lounge is open for drinks. Room service is available. Recreational amenities include a children's pool, outdoor tennis courts, a health club, a sauna, and a steam room. The property's full service health spa has body treatments, massage/treatment rooms, facials, and beauty services. This 4 star property has a business center and offers small meeting rooms, a technology helpdesk, and audiovisual equipment. Wireless Internet access (surcharge) is available in public areas. This Berkeley property has event space consisting of banquet facilities, conference/meeting rooms, a ballroom, and exhibit space. Wedding services and tour assistance are available. Guest parking is available for a surcharge. Additional property amenities include a coffee shop/café, a concierge desk, and a children's club. This is a smoke free property.
131 air conditioned guestrooms at The Claremont Hotel Club & Spa feature minibars and coffee/tea makers. All rooms include separate sitting areas and desks. Bathrooms feature designer toiletries, bathrobes, slippers, and hair dryers. In addition to complimentary weekday newspapers and safes, guestrooms offer multi line phones with voice mail, as well as free local calls (restrictions may apply). Flat screen televisions have premium cable channels, video game consoles, and pay movies. Windows that open, blackout drapes/curtains, and electronic check out are also provided. Guests may request a turndown service, refrigerators, and hypo allergenic bedding. Housekeeping is available daily.
Notifications and Fees:
Unless otherwise indicated, the charges below are not included in the overall room price. If not included in the overall room price, they will be charged by the property at check in or check out. Charges can vary, for example, based on length of stay or the room you book. This property told us they will charge you for the following:
The following fees and deposits are charged by the property at time of service, check in, or check out.
The above list may not be comprehensive. Fees and deposits may not include tax and are subject to change.