Exclusive! Historic East Bay Landmark Gets a Makeover

Summer planning is upon us, and there is a great reason to stay close to home for a relaxing and luxurious staycation. The Claremont Hotel, Berkeley’s historic resort, has undergone a major renovation and become part of the Fairmont family of hotels. I was thrilled to have an exclusive photo tour with the Claremont’s Marketing and PR Manager, Nicole Hankton, who welcomed me as a guest in her daytime home. I have been frequenting the Claremont my entire life growing up here, from holiday parties to family special occasions. The iconic hostess in the hills has been home to many, including Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie, and their family when he was filming Moneyball in Oakland.

The second I walked in for my East Baycation, I was shocked. Gone were the heavy blue and gold carpets, dark central lobby, and ornate lighting. What enveloped me now were contemporary, elegant, and crisp spaces that elicited feelings of being at a true destination hotel and resort.

Fine attention to detail was given by LA-based design firm, KNA, who exquisitely preserved the hotel’s grandeur of the past, while taking her to a refined and warm future. The bar stools at the hotel’s restaurant are purposefully mismatched after deliberation led the design team to keep all of them. Proving that fun and creative solutions can be made by way of happenstance.

With its traditional meets timeless meets modern tone, my room could have been in any major metropolitan city. Though views of the Bay afar and lush grounds of the property below happily reminded me I was home.

The Claremont celebrates its 101st birthday this year. It has survived earthquakes and during the 1991 Oakland Hills Firestorm, every news channel in the country showed the hills behind aglow in red flames, while the hotel's white façade stood strong.

"The Claremont Hotel is the ideal place for an East Baycation." 

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It is the ideal place for an East Baycation this summer and beyond. You may never want to leave and at the same time, you can still be home.

Photography by Jen Kay.

An original version of this article appear on 24 East24 East shines a bright spotlight on local businesses + products, highlights nonprofit causes + programs, and showcases local design + style. It is a community of enterprising and dedicated leaders, creatives, and families. 

Celine Mactaggart is a fourth-generation East Bay resident, Oakland native, and mother of three. Her family has lived in the East Bay since 1895. Her site, 24 East is named for the highway that always brought her home.