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Claremont is old-world hotel drenched in charm
By CARY ORDWAY
Sometimes a modern, big-city hotel just isn't enough. You want that spectacular old-world hotel on a hill drenched in charm, promising something way out of the ordinary for your escape from every-day life. The Claremont Hotel, Club & Spa is one of those places.

You've seen this type of hotel before, maybe on the Travel Channel or in the pages of a major travel magazine when they do their lists of the world's best hotels. These kinds of hotels share a certain sense of style and place, an elegance that is evident from your first turn into the parking lot. It's the kind of place you pass by and remind yourself that this is one hotel you'd like to visit when time and finances permit.

The Claremont has held its commanding view of the San Francisco Bay since 1915 and in fact caught the attention of famous architect Frank Lloyd Wright, who referred to it as "...one of the few hotels in the world with warmth, character and charm." The hotel, in fact, looks almost like a castle on a hill, a stately manor that seems more European in flavor and completely dominating the surrounding real estate. Walk into the luxurious high-ceiling lobby past the high-end retail shops and you discover a quiet sophistication that will be the hallmark of your unforgettable getaway.

The hotel is tucked away on a 22-acre parcel of prime view property just minutes from downtown Berkeley and the nearby University of California. Many of the rooms at the Claremont offer a panoramic view of the bay and downtown San Francisco. There's no mistaking where you are, yet you're seemingly far away from the bustle of the big city. The hotel's gardens and well manicured grounds feel more like a country estate that a big-city hotel.

We arrived at our room on the fourth floor to discover a spacious unit with plenty of room for two queen beds, a desk area, an entertainment area with a 37-inch flat-screen television and lots of open space in the middle of the room. An easy chair was positioned for television viewing. The windows were smaller than modern designs, yet they allowed us to look directly across the bay at the Golden Gate Bridge. The room had a more than adequate bath area with a closed-in tub/shower, marble vanity and stylish wall designs. The verdict: A comfortable, spacious room but just a small part of the charm of staying at the Claremont.
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