Historic “Little Castle” Located One Block from UC Berkeley
In 1929, renowned architect Julia Morgan designed the Berkeley Women’s City Club, the first social club and women’s residence of its kind in California. The building became known as Morgan's "Little Castle" because it was constructed at the same time and with many of the same materials used in her most famous creation, Hearst Castle in San Simeon. Today, Berkeley City Club stands as an enduring link to the city's past, a testament to its progressive values, and an elegant spot for an overnight stay.
Blending Romanesque, Moorish, and Spanish Mission styles, Morgan managed to imbue steel-reinforced concrete with the versatility of wood, rendering elaborately carved archways and vaulted ceilings throughout the club. An indoor swimming pool ripples under an arched ceiling inlaid with tiny Craftsman tiles, and leaded-glass windows overlook a lush wraparound courtyard full of palm trees, ficus, and ferns.
Fittingly for a spot listed on the National Register of Historic Places, Berkeley City Club gives guests the chance to step back to a time when socialites played Bechstein pianos, danced in glossy ballrooms, and slept in feather beds while cuddling their Eleanor Roosevelt action figures. Each of the hotel's modest bedrooms has a private, Craftsman-tiled bathroom and is uniquely decorated with an embroidered bedspread and period furniture.
The ample breakfast buffet, served every morning in the dining room, includes hot dishes such as eggs and fried potatoes as well as fresh fruit, toast, yogurt, and juice. Guests can also participate in any number of Berkeley City Club events. Twenty to 30 of them are held each month and range from tai chi classes to masquerade balls. The club partners with the Landmark Heritage Foundation to make sure that a significant portion of all proceeds from classes, events, and hotel stays goes toward preserving the building as Julia Morgan envisioned it.
Berkeley, California: Eclectic College Town Full of Art, History, and Culture
The Berkeley City Club stands just one block from the campus of the University of California Berkeley, home to some 36,000 students and a still-thriving activist spirit. Lined with cafés and smoke shops, colorful Telegraph Avenue bustles with scholars, bohemians, and vendors hawking tie-dyed graduation gowns.
World-famous musicians and actors take the stage at Hertz and Zellerbach Halls and the Berkeley Repertory Theatre, and plenty of bars and restaurants along Shattuck Avenue pour frothy microbrews and serve farm-to-table cuisine. Wandering Berkeley’s residential neighborhoods can be a charming diversion in the spring, when tangled gardens spill their blooms across tree-lined sidewalks.