Historic Boutique Hotel in Downtown Berkeley
Located in a town defined by the prestigious University of California, Berkeley and a tradition of social activism, Hotel Shattuck Plaza on the corner of Berkeley’s iconic Shattuck Avenue combines the spirit of both influences. Inside the turn-of-the-century hotel, guests may be drawn to the hotel’s historic dining room, its grand chandelier, and marble floors that exude an elegance befitting the university next door. Alternately, the hotel has shown itself to be both attention-grabbing and contemporary since its 2009 renovation, evidenced by the large peace symbol in the floor at its entrance and a number of eco-friendly initiatives. The New York Times writes that Hotel Shattuck Plaza has “caught Berkeley’s venturesome spirit” and that “if a hotel can be outspoken, this one is.”
Mission Revival–style arched windows make the hotel’s exterior feel like something out of the Old World. That feeling extends to the lobby, where black pillars and bold crimson accents contrast with stark-white walls. The guest rooms are done in a warm, earth-toned palette with soft lighting. In many rooms, you can look out your window and see San Francisco Bay or the Golden Gate Bridge.
From its spot on the city's main drag, the hotel offers easy access to upscale international restaurants in the north side's Gourmet Ghetto and high-end boutiques downtown. But consider staying onsite and using a $40 credit for breakfast at Five restaurant, which recently received a Bib Gourmand rating from the Michelin guide. Executive chef Banks White crafts a delectable breakfast menu featuring omelets stuffed with gulf shrimp and farm-fresh avocado ($16) and eggs benedict made with cage-free eggs ($13). At dinner, the restaurant pairs locally sourced entrees with an extensive wine list that spotlights local wineries.
Berkeley, California: Eclectic College Town Full of Art, History, and Culture
Situated across the bay from San Francisco, Berkeley is best known as the location of the oldest University of California campus, home to some 36,000 students and a still-thriving activist spirit. Residents are left leaning and politically engaged, a legacy of Berkeley's role as one of the major centers of campus unrest during the late 1960s. Though things have settled down since the city's turbulent peak, public demonstrations still take place every now and then. Telegraph Avenue remains a colorful, free-spirit-friendly thoroughfare lined with cafés and smoke shops. During the school year it teems with scholars, bohemians, and vendors hawking tie-dyed graduation gowns. Over on Shattuck Avenue, a slew of bars and restaurants serves frothy microbrews and fresh, farm-to-table cuisine.
Those looking to sample Berkeley’s renowned folk-music scene can drop by the Freight & Salvage Coffeehouse, a venue that has hosted blues, bluegrass, and other Americana artists since 1968. For a night of world-class opera, theater, jazz, classical music, or dance, head to Hertz and Zellerbach Halls on the campus of the university.