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The Five-Point Weekend Escape Plan

See Contemporary Culture in Berkeley

The city may not have shaken its hippie legacy just yet, but today its individualistic spirit is more evident in unique hotels, innovative restaurants, and highbrow art venues.

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1. Where to Stay


One of Berkeley City Club’s most striking features is its pool; rooms at Hotel Shattuck Plaza are filled with bold colors and patterns.  

Storm the castle at the Berkeley City Club (from $145), a treasured architectural relic that first opened in 1930 as a women’s social club, located within walking distance of the Telegraph Avenue shopping strip. The stone structure is home to 35 elegant, if old-fashioned, rooms (many with views of the Golden Gate Bridge). Common spaces featuring Romanesque and Moorish details are grand, especially the indoor pool built underneath a dramatic arched ceiling.

Pay tribute to the area’s radical past at Hotel Shattuck Plaza (from $155), a 93-year-old option that reopened after a 2009 renovation with sixties-era peace signs and checkerboard floors alongside finer touches like Murano glass chandeliers. Located just a block from the downtown BART station, it’s a good choice if you’re also planning to explore San Francisco.

Show some school spirit at Hotel Durant (from $159), where the dorm-inspired décor pairs bong-shaped table lamps and vintage yearbook photos with adult amenities like high-thread-count sheets and down-filled duvets. The blue and gold color scheme pays tribute to UC Berkeley, whose lush campus is within stumbling distance of the hotel. Request a room on one of the upper floors facing the back to avoid the sounds of late-night college life.


Published on Feb 15, 2013 as a web exclusive.

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