Friday, July 21, 2017

80 North: Berkeley, Claremont Club & Spa, a Fairmont Hotel


Claremont Club & Spa, a Fairmont Hotel  41 Tunnel Rd., at Ashby Ave./Domingo Ave.  9 stories; 276 rooms.  3 heated pools; hot tub; 4 saunas; 2 steam rooms; full-service spa; fitness room; ?10 tennis courts (fee; 6 with night lights).  4 restaurants; room service.  Resort fee $28/night.  Pets ok.  Parking fee.  Built originally by a Kansas farmer who struck it rich and wanted to fulfill his wife’s dream of living in a home resembling an English castle, the first incarnation of this hotel burned to the ground in 1901.  The current Victorian hotel, built in 1915, once charmed architect Frank Lloyd Wright into describing it as “. . . one of the few hotels in the world with warmth, character and charm.”  The hotel was rebranded to Fairmont in 2015 and has been redecorated in a tasteful contemporary style accented with contemporary art.

check-in desk at the Claremont Club & Spa, a Fairmont Hotel in Berkeley, California
check-in desk at the Claremont Club & Spa, a Fairmont Hotel in Berkeley, California

The lobby has an assortment of conversation areas, and a sabre bottle opening of Champagne is held there every afternoon.  Just off the lobby, the Lobby Lounge and Bar offers the hotel’s famous views along with live music, while the colorful adjacent Hillary Tenzing Room celebrates the first climbers to summit Mt. Everest--Sir Edmund Hillary and Sherpa Tenzing Norgay--and serves afternoon tea on weekends.   A brand new amenity is Edie, the Ambassador Canine. She hangs out in the lobby by the check-in desk, welcoming people as only a sweet dog can (she’s a Boxer mix and was formerly at the Fairmont Pittsburgh).  A free 30-minuted Art and History Tour is available by appointment.

lobby seating at the Claremont Club & Spa, a Fairmont Hotel in Berkeley, California
lobby seating at the Claremont Club & Spa, a Fairmont Hotel in Berkeley, California

entertainment in the Lobby Lounge and Bar seating at the Claremont Club & Spa, a Fairmont Hotel in Berkeley, California
entertainment in the Lobby Lounge and Bar seating at the Claremont Club & Spa, a Fairmont Hotel in Berkeley, California

Hillary Tenzing Room  at the Claremont Club & Spa, a Fairmont Hotel in Berkeley, California
Hillary Tenzing Room at the Claremont Club & Spa, a Fairmont Hotel in Berkeley, California

Edie, the Ambassador Canine at the Claremont Club & Spa, a Fairmont Hotel in Berkeley, California
Edie, the Ambassador Canine at the Claremont Club & Spa, a Fairmont Hotel in Berkeley, California

The hotel now provides all the amenities of a resort, but in an urban setting.  Some guest rooms boast a Jacuzzi tub for two and views of San Francisco, others have charm from the past—a deep closet here, a vintage tub there.  Some rooms have soaking tubs, and the go-for-broke Tower Suite includes a private roof deck with stunning views.

view from guest room at the Claremont Club & Spa, a Fairmont Hotel in Berkeley, California
view from guest room at the Claremont Club & Spa, a Fairmont Hotel in Berkeley, California

guest room bed at the Claremont Club & Spa, a Fairmont Hotel in Berkeley, California
guest room bed at the Claremont Club & Spa, a Fairmont Hotel in Berkeley, California

guest room bathroom at the Claremont Club & Spa, a Fairmont Hotel in Berkeley, California
guest room bathroom at the Claremont Club & Spa, a Fairmont Hotel in Berkeley, California

The hotel’s pools and hot tub are surrounded by several long rows of chaise lounges--looking like something out of sunny Southern California or Hawaii, but certainly not Berkeley.  The basement spa features a whirlpool with a view of San Francisco and the Golden Gate Bridge, two silent flotation tanks, a therapeutic “deluge” shower, 32 treatment rooms, and a hair and nail salon.  Guests can use the wet facilities (saline whirlpools, saunas, eucalyptus steam rooms) at no additional fee.  The Club offers a fitness center with classes, tennis courts, swimming pools, and the casual Bayview Cafe (B-L daily).  Additionally, the Kids’ Club provides childcare and holiday camps.

spa whirlpool at the Claremont Club & Spa, a Fairmont Hotel in Berkeley, California
spa whirlpool at the Claremont Club & Spa, a Fairmont Hotel in Berkeley, California

view of The Club at the Claremont Club & Spa, a Fairmont Hotel in Berkeley, California
view of The Club at the Claremont Club & Spa, a Fairmont Hotel in Berkeley, California

The romantic, upscale Meritage (B-L-D daily, SunBr) offers refined steak and seafood dishes, enhanced with an extensive selection of wines.  Comfortable chairs invite sitting back and enjoying the spectacular bay view as well as the dramatic high-ceilinged interior dining room.  Sunday brunch is an extravagant buffet of salads, fresh fruit, seafood, and meats.  It includes a design-your-own-omelette station and a dessert table laden with fine cakes, chocolate éclairs, chocolate fondue, and several flavors of mousse.  Live music is scheduled on Sunday evenings.

view from Meritage at the Claremont Club & Spa, a Fairmont Hotel in Berkeley, California
view from Meritage at the Claremont Club & Spa, a Fairmont Hotel in Berkeley, California

The more casual, bistro-style Limewood Bar & Restaurant (L-D daily)  offers seating in the entry bar, outside on an expansive terrace, and inside in booths and at an assortment of tables--including one long communal table with a view of the open kitchen.  The menu is short and changes regularly.  Dinner begins with superb chewy-crusted sourdough bread from the local Acme bakery https://weekendadventuresupdate.blogspot.com/search?q=Acme+Bakery,  It is possible to make a light dinner of just the canapes, think Devils on horseback (Medjool dates, blue cheese, pancetta), scallion-cheddar hushpuppies with honey butter, fried eggplant rounds with green goddess dressing.  We enjoyed our selections with cocktails--me, a colorful and thirst-quenching Tequila-based Kumquat Smash, and he, a classic Southern rye-absinthe Sazerac.  Appetizers include a very green, dill-dominated chilled cucumber gazpacho, and a fresh and light sprouting broccoli salad with burrata and delicious, crispy toasted shallots.  For our mains, my dining partner had tasty roasted wild ling cod with asparagus and caramelized onions, while I had a somewhat disappointing chicken with seaweed butter and baby turnips (I was expecting a bone-in chicken, but it was breast slices arranged haphazardly atop each other and was in desperate need of some mashed potatoes).  Sandwiches and a burger are available at lunch.  Our colorful strawberry shortcake with Bourbon-soaked berries was a choice ending.  


bar at Limewood Bar & Restaurant at the Claremont Club & Spa, a Fairmont Hotel in Berkeley, California
bar at Limewood Bar & Restaurant at the Claremont Club & Spa, a Fairmont Hotel in Berkeley, California


terrace at Limewood Bar & Restaurant at the Claremont Club & Spa, a Fairmont Hotel in Berkeley, California
terrace at Limewood Bar & Restaurant at the Claremont Club & Spa, a Fairmont Hotel in Berkeley, California

oyster bar at Limewood Bar & Restaurant at the Claremont Club & Spa, a Fairmont Hotel in Berkeley, California
oyster bar at Limewood Bar & Restaurant at the Claremont Club & Spa, a Fairmont Hotel in Berkeley, California

Kumquat Smash cocktail at Limewood Bar & Restaurant at the Claremont Club & Spa, a Fairmont Hotel in Berkeley, California
Kumquat Smash cocktail at Limewood Bar & Restaurant at the Claremont Club & Spa, a Fairmont Hotel in Berkeley, California

Sazerac cocktail at Limewood Bar & Restaurant at the Claremont Club & Spa, a Fairmont Hotel in Berkeley, California
Sazerac cocktail at Limewood Bar & Restaurant at the Claremont Club & Spa, a Fairmont Hotel in Berkeley, California

canapes at Limewood Bar & Restaurant at the Claremont Club & Spa, a Fairmont Hotel in Berkeley, California
canapes at Limewood Bar & Restaurant at the Claremont Club & Spa, a Fairmont Hotel in Berkeley, California

cucumber gazpacho at Limewood Bar & Restaurant at the Claremont Club & Spa, a Fairmont Hotel in Berkeley, California
cucumber gazpacho at Limewood Bar & Restaurant at the Claremont Club & Spa, a Fairmont Hotel in Berkeley, California

broccoli-burrata salad at Limewood Bar & Restaurant at the Claremont Club & Spa, a Fairmont Hotel in Berkeley, California
broccoli-burrata salad at Limewood Bar & Restaurant at the Claremont Club & Spa, a Fairmont Hotel in Berkeley, California

wild ling cod at Limewood Bar & Restaurant at the Claremont Club & Spa, a Fairmont Hotel in Berkeley, California
wild ling cod at Limewood Bar & Restaurant at the Claremont Club & Spa, a Fairmont Hotel in Berkeley, California

chicken with seaweed butter at Limewood Bar & Restaurant at the Claremont Club & Spa, a Fairmont Hotel in Berkeley, California
chicken with seaweed butter at Limewood Bar & Restaurant at the Claremont Club & Spa, a Fairmont Hotel in Berkeley, California

strawberry shortcake at Limewood Bar & Restaurant at the Claremont Club & Spa, a Fairmont Hotel in Berkeley, California
strawberry shortcake at Limewood Bar & Restaurant at the Claremont Club & Spa, a Fairmont Hotel in Berkeley, California

More things to do in Berkeley.

Way more thing to do in Berkeley.  

Here are some travel articles to inspire and help you plan some spectacular getaways.

images ©2017 Carole Terwilliger Meyers

Thursday, July 13, 2017

101 South: San Luis Obispo, SLO Brew


SLO Brew has been in town since 1988, when it opened as the first brewpub on the Central Coast--and one of the first in the U.S.--since prohibition.  Now this main pub is right downtown, amid a sea of pubs.  Recently expanded, it is now composed of three venues:

The Brew  736 Higuera St., (805) 543-1843.  L-D daily.  Located smack across the street from Bubblegum Alley and on the street where the SLO Farmer’s Market is held each Thursday, this brew pub is situated within the renovated and remodeled 1890s Carissa Building.  It is spacious, with several seating areas that include a long bar and an area with mega booths, and live concerts are often scheduled on a stage that at other times holds a huge TV screen tuned to sports.  A few brews are still made here, but most of production has moved out to The Rock.  If you are indecisive, you can order a sampler flight of four, like I did.  My faves were Pismo Pils and Reggae Red.  Pub fare includes roasted roots (ours included carrots, beets, and turnips), fresh local fish and chips battered with IPA, and a chicken pot pie topped with a flaky crust.
1890s Carissa Building holds The Brew at SLO Brew in San Luis Obispo, California
1890s Carissa Building holds The Brew at SLO Brew in San Luis Obispo, California

check-in at The Brew at SLO Brew in San Luis Obispo, California
check-in at The Brew at SLO Brew in San Luis Obispo, California

interior of The Brew at SLO Brew in San Luis Obispo, California
interior of The Brew at SLO Brew in San Luis Obispo, California

giant booths at The Brew at SLO Brew in San Luis Obispo, California
giant booths at The Brew at SLO Brew in San Luis Obispo, California

bar at The Brew at SLO Brew in San Luis Obispo, California
bar at The Brew at SLO Brew in San Luis Obispo, California

roasted roots and sampler beer flight at The Brew at SLO Brew in San Luis Obispo, California
roasted roots and sampler beer flight at The Brew at SLO Brew in San Luis Obispo, California

chicken pot pie at The Brew at SLO Brew in San Luis Obispo, California
chicken pot pie at The Brew at SLO Brew in San Luis Obispo, California

fish and chips at The Brew at SLO Brew in San Luis Obispo, California
fish and chips at The Brew at SLO Brew in San Luis Obispo, California

tending to the tanks at The Brew at SLO Brew in San Luis Obispo, California
tending to the tanks at The Brew at SLO Brew in San Luis Obispo, California

The Lofts  738 Higuera St., (805) 543-1843.  5 suites.  Pets ok.  Free parking 2 blks. away by Jamba Juice.  Perched directly above The Brew--yes, you can hear the live music, but it is subdued and free and earplugs are provided, and sometimes you can even smell the fragrant grain from the brewing process--this sophisticated lodging offers one-, two-, and three-bedroom suites.  Featuring a contemporary decor plus exposed brick walls, each suite is unique.  All feature a flip-on fireplace, sliding barn-style doors, high ceilings, tall doors, wood floors, old-fashioned but new plumbing, a well-appointed kitchen with high-end appliances, a sofa sleeper, white cotton bed linens on a comfy four-poster high bed, and--in concert with the music theme--an old-fashioned record player and some well-loved 33 1/3 albums.  My husband was chuckling to Charlie Daniels and I was enjoying The Doors.  Two rooms have a back porch with a creek view.  Lobby decor is artsy, and includes music-related art such as a psychedelic painting of Jimi Hendrix and an unusual black-and-white photograph of Tina Turner, and room service is available from the hotel pub.
lobby elevator at The Lofts at SLO Brew in San Luis Obispo, California
lobby elevator at The Lofts at SLO Brew in San Luis Obispo, California

upstairs lobby at The Lofts at SLO Brew in San Luis Obispo, California
upstairs lobby at The Lofts at SLO Brew in San Luis Obispo, California

Jimi Hendrix portrait at The Lofts at SLO Brew in San Luis Obispo, California
Jimi Hendrix portrait at The Lofts at SLO Brew in San Luis Obispo, California

4-poster high bed at The Lofts at SLO Brew in San Luis Obispo, California
4-poster high bed at The Lofts at SLO Brew in San Luis Obispo, California

bathroom at The Lofts at SLO Brew in San Luis Obispo, California
bathroom at The Lofts at SLO Brew in San Luis Obispo, California

front room at The Lofts at SLO Brew in San Luis Obispo, California
front room at The Lofts at SLO Brew in San Luis Obispo, California

kitchen at The Lofts at SLO Brew in San Luis Obispo, California
kitchen at The Lofts at SLO Brew in San Luis Obispo, California

comp beers in fridge at The Lofts at SLO Brew in San Luis Obispo, California
comp beers in fridge at The Lofts at SLO Brew in San Luis Obispo, California

The Rock  855 Aerovista Place, off Broad St./Hwy 227, near the San Luis Obispo County Regional Airport, 3 mi. from downtown.  L daily, D W-Sun.  Tours by request.  Located in a business park, this new brewing facility features a tasting room, the casual SLO Brew Taproom restaurant, a beer garden, and event space.  It is centered around a dramatic historical rock that is part of the Seven Sisters volcanic rock formation, and the outdoor patio has “The Rock” as a dramatic backdrop.  The taproom centerpiece is a rotisserie Oyler smoker, considered by many BBQ aficionados to be the finest barbecue pit in the world.  Meat is slowly cooked over locally-sourced red oak and apple wood for a distinct smokehouse flavor.  Menu highlights include smoked fish tacos, mussels in a pot, Carolina-style pulled pork, and Texas-style smoked brisket.  Sandwiches, salads, burgers and wraps are also available.  The brewery expects to produce 5,000 barrels in 2017 and now uses only cans, no bottles.
beer garden at The Rock at SLO Brew in San Luis Obispo, California
beer garden at The Rock at SLO Brew in San Luis Obispo, California

co-owner Hamish Marshall  in tank area at The Rock at SLO Brew in San Luis Obispo, California
co-owner Hamish Marshall  in tank area at The Rock at SLO Brew in San Luis Obispo, California

colorful inventory at The Rock at SLO Brew in San Luis Obispo, California
colorful inventory at The Rock at SLO Brew in San Luis Obispo, California
SLO Brew Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

More things to do in San Luis Obispo.

Here are some travel articles to inspire and help you plan some spectacular getaways.

images ©2017 Carole Terwilliger Meyers
 

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

101 South: San Luis Obispo, Mission San Luis Obispo de Tolosa

update/p.211

Mission San Luis Obispo de Tolosa  (mission #5)  782 Monterey St., in downtown San Luis Obispo.  Founded in 1772, this was the first mission to introduce the red clay roof tile--which successfully repelled the flaming arrows used in attacks by Native Americans.  This complex has been extensively restored and includes a fragrant rose garden and a museum with rare early California photos.  Found to the right of the gift shop, its charming church  has a simple façade with a belfry and vestibule--unique among the state’s missions--and is still used for services.  Many of the statues and paintings date to the early 1800s.  An adjacent plaza and park with mature shady trees provides large grassy areas, stream-hugging paths, and inviting open-air cafes. 

exterior of Mission San Luis Obispo de Tolosa in San Luis Obispo, California
exterior of Mission San Luis Obispo de Tolosa in San Luis Obispo, California

museum at Mission San Luis Obispo de Tolosa in San Luis Obispo, California
museum at Mission San Luis Obispo de Tolosa in San Luis Obispo, California
 
interior of church at Mission San Luis Obispo de Tolosa in San Luis Obispo, California
interior of church at Mission San Luis Obispo de Tolosa in San Luis Obispo, California

painting in church at Mission San Luis Obispo de Tolosa in San Luis Obispo, California
painting in church at Mission San Luis Obispo de Tolosa in San Luis Obispo, California

garden at Mission San Luis Obispo de Tolosa in San Luis Obispo, California
garden at Mission San Luis Obispo de Tolosa in San Luis Obispo, California

gift shop at Mission San Luis Obispo de Tolosa in San Luis Obispo, California
gift shop at Mission San Luis Obispo de Tolosa in San Luis Obispo, California


Article about the 21 California missions.

Travel articles to inspire and help you plan some spectacular getaways.
 
images ©2017 Carole Terwilliger Meyers

 

Friday, July 7, 2017

101 South: San Luis Obispo, Jamba Juice


Jamba Juice  890 Marsh St./Chorro St., downtown, (805) 549-0733.  Daily 7am-7pm.  The Jamba Juice smoothie empire of more than 325 locations began here--this is the original, the very first shop.  A local favorite from the beginning, folks now also come here for acai bowls, guava-guava shakes, and fresh-squeezed OJ, as well as steel-cut oatmeal, chia pudding cups, breakfast wraps, and more.  The smoothie possibilities are endless, and you can add protein powder and energy boosters.  Service is pleasant, and you can sit inside or outside to enjoy your selection.

exterior of first Jamba Juice location, in San Luis Obispo, California
exterior of first Jamba Juice location, in San Luis Obispo, California

interior of first Jamba Juice location, in San Luis Obispo, California
interior of first Jamba Juice location, in San Luis Obispo, California
Jamba Juice Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato


More things to do in San Luis Obispo.

Here are some travel articles to inspire and help you plan some spectacular getaways.

images ©2017 Carole Terwilliger Meyers