The Best Hotels to Book Near the Greek Theatre, Berkeley

The Sather Tower stands tall on the University of California, Berkeley campus
The Sather Tower stands tall on the University of California, Berkeley campus | © AF archive / Alamy Stock Photo
Photo of Sara Darling
11 September 2021

Known for its hippie vibes and high-achieving university, Berkeley is a city of contrasts in the Bay Area. There’s always something to do, including community events, festivals, museums and galleries, but nothing compares to the Greek Theatre, an 8,500-capacity amphitheater that hosts concerts. And you’ll be first in line for a seat to the show when you stay at one of these nearby hotels – bookable on Culture Trip.

Hotel Shattuck Plaza

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Courtesy of Hotel Shattuck Plaza / Expedia

Less hippie, more hip – this boutique hotel cleverly combines the building’s history, dating to 1910, with discreet service and modern facilities. For example, its glamorous bar and lounge features original high ceilings, complete with immaculately restored crown molding, while at eye level, a horseshoe-shaped granite bar top, encircled by salmon-pink leather stools, adds contemporary elegance. And, behind a room-dividing curtain, Zino serves fresh, Californian takes on classic Mediterranean cuisine.

Claremont Club and Spa, a Fairmont Hotel

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Courtesy of Claremont Club and Spa, a Fairmont Hotel / Expedia

No doubt about it, the Claremont Club and Spa is a Berkeley icon. Known around town as “the White Castle on the Hill,” this sprawling, stately resort has some of the best views of the San Francisco Bay – and, if you squint, the Golden Gate Bridge – that you’ll find anywhere. If you’re the active type, book the tennis courts for a game or two, dive into the heated lap pool or go hiking in the nearby Claremont Canyon Regional Preserve.

Hotel Mac

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Courtesy of Hotel Mac / Expedia

This charming boutique hotel may be a 20-minute drive from Berkeley, in the artsy community of Point Richmond, but don’t let that put you off. The owners have taken great care to keep as much of the original charm of this 1911-built hotel as possible. From the flickering fireplaces in the rooms to the saloon-style bar downstairs, it exudes an authentic, old-fashioned warmth (though the air conditioning keeps things suitably chilly in the heat of summer).

Lafayette Park Hotel and Spa

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Courtesy of Lafayette Park Hotel and Spa / Expedia

A hop north from Berkeley on the Bart, Lafayette is a cute commuter town with bags of Californian charm. This is its finest hotel, fusing the looks of a French château (a turret roof, shuttered windows and a central courtyard featuring a lion’s head fountain) with the laid-back attitude of a Californian country home. Spend your afternoons strolling among the groves of oak trees, getting pampered in the spa and dining at the farm-to-table Park Bistro & Bar.

Union Hotel

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Courtesy of Union Hotel /

This quaint, clapboard-clad hotel is around a half-hour from Berkeley, in bayside Benicia, but it’s more than worth the cab fees. Antique oil paintings, restored furniture and daringly bold Bradbury and Bradbury wallpaper bring character and charm to each of the 12 large suites, while the original carved 19th-century bar, stained-glass windows, chandeliers and period objects throughout are evident of meticulous attention to detail. After a hard day’s browsing the local antique stores, pull up a barstool and relax with a classic cocktail – you’ve earned it.

Waters Edge Hotel

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Courtesy of Waters Edge Hotel / Expedia

Across the bay, in the small yacht-loving community of Tiburon, you may not get a pool or a gym at the Waters Edge Hotel, but you’ll be staying at the only waterfront hotel in town. The clinking of masts and the lapping of waves should help you drift off to sleep – that’s if the complimentary wine and cheese offering, which happens every evening out on the deck, hasn’t already done the trick.

Graduate Berkeley

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Courtesy of Graduate Berkeley / Expedia

You needn’t have graduated from Berkeley to feel like a part of the college community here. From the racks of yellow-spined National Geographic magazines lining the lobby to the eclectic street art that adorns the walls, there’s a sophisticated, cerebral vibe to this historic hotel. On Friday evenings and weekends, you’ll find Berkeley’s more well-heeled students gathering at the stylish pub-style bar and restaurant, Henry’s. If things get too loud, you can always retreat to your plush, velvet- and leather-trimmed room.

Argonaut Hotel

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Courtesy of Argonaut Hotel / Expedia
The Argonaut Hotel’s 252 luxurious guest rooms are tastefully outfitted with nautical accents and ecofriendly products, while the lobby has plenty of cozy seating for when you return from exploring Fisherman’s Wharf. Breakfast, lunch, dinner and a daily happy hour are available at the Blue Mermaid Restaurant – try the award-winning house chowder.

Not convinced? Find everything you’re looking for at one of the best hotels in San Francisco, or venture further afield and book a stay at one of the most incredible hotels in Monterey. You can then enjoy seaside views at one of the best restaurants in Monterey or explore the best beaches near San Francisco. While in the area, make sure to also check these must-visit attractions in San Francisco off your bucket list.

These recommendations were updated on September 11, 2021 to keep your travel plans fresh.

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