The smartly designed, green-certified Hotel Durant is a terrific Berkeley getaway, immediately adjacent to the UC Berkeley campus and just steps away from colorful Telegraph Avenue (come on a weekend for the street vendors, people watching and great funky shops). It’s plenty gay-friendly and an obvious choice for visiting Cal sports fans — the stadium is just up the street.
Playful vintage collegiate décor is a theme throughout the property — from the desk clerks in their striped ties and Glee¬-ful Warbler-esque frat boy suits to the rooms with their handsome metal desks and bong-style table lamps (and all the way down to the faux college ID room keys).
The blue and gold décor is calming and classy. The lobby combines a display of Berkeley’s legendary activist history (featuring great 1960s protest photos) with a touch of boutique hotelier Joie de Vivre’s signature style — including whimsical over-stuffed chairs. In a unique singular touch, the rooms are all named after famous Berkeley alumni ranging from Patty Hearst to openly gay Star Trek star (and marriage equality activist) George Takei!
Amenities include free Wi-Fi, high-end linens, iPod docking station, in-room coffee maker and mini-bar, 24-hour business center, plus an HD TV. Guests on the “Graduate Floor” also get access to a Blu-ray disc library. We were thrilled to see the in-room recycling bins (social responsibility is another great detail that sets apart the Joie de Vivre properties and makes us feel good about staying with them). The historic Durant is a non-smoking, pet-friendly property and also features wheelchair accessible rooms.
- Venture out for dinner at one of the numerous restaurant options in the neighborhood. Although the hotel restaurant (Henry’s) is billed as a “gastropub” the menu is mostly basic sports bar fare (though the breakfast is worth a try).
- Berkeley has an abundance of historic architecture. Design your own tour by visiting the Berkeley Heritage historic landmarks page (which includes the Hotel Durant).
Rooms start at $129 (weekdays) and $149 (weekends) for queen, king and double rooms. On up to $280 (weekdays) and $360 (weekends) for 2-room suites. For reservations call 1-800-238-7268 or visit http://www.jdvhotels.com
<strong>Hotel Durant</strong> 2600 Durant Avenue, Berkeley, CA 94704; 510.845.8981; www.jdvhotels.com/hotels/sanfranciscoeastbay/durant