More about Hotel Durant
Great Experience At Hotel Durant!
I did a ton of research about the different hotels in Berkeley and ended up staying at Hotel Durant. We had a great experience there. The location was perfect because we were close (walking distance) to a ton of restaurants, Telegraph Ave and the Cal campus. We didn't want to drive, so the hotel's proximity to everything really helped. I recommend the breakfasts across the street at Cafe Durant! The hotel staff was very helpful and the rooms were clean. We had a room with a king-sized bed so the room felt a bit cramped, but otherwise it totally met our needs. We ended up renting a car later in our stay and were able to get parking at the hotel right away. The hotel is above Henry's, a bar, and down the block from take-out eateries like La Burrita and Top Dog, so if you want a super-quiet environment, this may not be your place. The hotel was perfect for our visit and we will definitely stay there again for future visits to Berkeley. I recommend it to travelers who want to be near the campus and near restaurants etc.
Nice changes at the Durant!
I stayed at the Hotel Durant during homecoming game this past weekend and was plesantly surprised that the staff were much, much pleasant than last year. The bellmen were very helpful and the front desk clerks were very friendly yet professional.
After asking around what brought these changes, I found out that there's a new management company that's running the show. Moreover, it was great to learn that the new owners are planning to renovate the hotel next year. We stay at Hotel Durant primarily due to its location. I'm looking forward to next year when they renovate the hotel! This place will be a gem!
My favorite place to stay in Berkeley
The Hotel Durant is my favorite place to stay in Berkeley and quite frankly, it's the only place I do stay in Berkeley. It is my hotel of choice when I am visiting the university for business. The location is unbeatable as is the service and the in hotel restaurant. I often have breakfast and lunch meetings at Henry's Grill when I am in town, because it's easy for people to get to, there is parking and the food is good. I always appreciate the friendly, helpful and professional staff. They make me feel welcome and make my stay beyond pleasant. I recommend the Hotel Durant to all my colleagues from the University of Michigan who need to travel to Berkeley.
Necessary for what we needed
Location, location, location. We recently traveled to the Durant with a group of 19 high school students for a Model United Nations competition at UC Berkeley, and the Durant was great for us. When you are traveling with a group of kids, you don't need a hotel that has a lot of distractions. We found the hotel clean, the desk staff friendly and helpful, and the location perfect for us. They hotel does offer wireless internet in the lobby, but the rooms are hard-wired. One complaint, when my wife turned on the bathroom hairdryer, it shorted out our room. Twice.
Yes, the rooms are tiny, the bed is small (more like a double than a queen), there is no coffee maker, and the street is noisy, but downtown Berkeley isn't like staying in the Hamptons. You go for the nightlife and the college ambiance.
The restaurant in the hotel was very good. The food was worthy of a hotel restauant, the wait staff was excellent. You can also get a table that has a view of the street, and can gaze on all that is unique to Berkeley.
4 day stay
We stayed here for 4 days whilst visiting a family member at the University. The price was good, around $130 a night and the location was perfect for the University. All in all what we expected, although small and somewhat dated rooms, they were clean and acceptable. FYI We stayed during a very hot spell and their is no air con, only a ceiling fan. On the plus the bar area was really good, the staff friendly and the food was really good and we actually ended up eating there a number of times. All in all it did the job, though the rooms are nothing special.
Convenient stay for a wedding at the Claremont
Chose to stay at the Durant due to the price and close proximity to the Claremont (attended a wedding reception there).
The pros - ability to park ($15), easy check-in, bed was very comfortable, the room was clean and it was inexpensive (compared to the Claremont).
The cons - hotel staff took my car keys after I parked (so if you have two sets - keep one so you can leave whenever you want), sink was in the bedroom/sleeping area, due to the location of the hotel there were practically no cabs going by the hotel (and calling one took about 1/2 an hour), the walls are thin (could hear neighbors watching TV at 6 a.m.) the room was small as well (think Europe) and I heard that some rooms had murphy beds... fun for kids, but not so for adults.
All in all, we just stayed at the Durant due to price and location - I wouldn't stay there again though. I would opt for paying more and staying elsewhere. I heard that the Durant is the 'nicest' hotel in Berkeley - so parents, bring your earplugs! It was an okay stay, but wouldn't recommend this place to my friends.
Rooms Ready for the Makeover
Homecoming weekend was our third stay at the Durant. Yes, this weekend is crazy with all of the furniture removed from the Lobby to make way for the giant bar for the overflow from Henry's, and the limited parking due to the bar and barbeque outside. This was expected and not a problem, and it was understandable that the Lobby ladies' room (one toilet!) had a huge line (the men's room turned into a second ladies' room, relegating the men to the outdoor port-a-pots).
Best part of the Durant is the location in its proximity to the Cal campus and all of the action, followed close on its heals by Henry's, which is a great bar. The rooms are comfortable, but tired, especially for the price paid for the rooms. The lighting is dreary. On our last trip a bedside lamp blew and smoked and was never replaced and the lightbulbs in them are scary. The overhead light is too small to adequately light the room, and the overhead fan is noisy and does nothing.
In the morning, there is coffee offered in the Lobby until 9 or 10, and the regular coffee jug is perpetually empty, with patrons repeatedly requesting more coffee.
Internet service is generally very good, but t.v. channels minimal.
Location, location, location
The Durant is an old hotel that has been a Berkeley tradition for many years. It is the closest hotel to UC Berkeley and has parking which are its biggest draws for me. As some other reviewers have already said, the rooms aren't that special. I have seen it improve over the years that I have visited but it still has creaky floors and drab furniture. The staff has definitely improved in the past year and are pleasant and professional. There are better hotels in the area, but the location and the traditions associated with the Durant make it a good choice if you are visiting UC Berkeley and want the spirit of the college town. The hotel even has old photos of the university on the hall walls. On football game days, it can be a madhouse in the lobby as they clear the furniture and open up the back lot to have a post game celebration. That can be fun if you are a Cal fan and the team does well, but noisy if your room is just above the lobby! (The room prices also go up on football days.)
By the way, a half a block down the street is Top Dog--another Berkeley tradition. This place has the most amazing hot dogs. It took me 10 years before I tried one and now I get one every time I visit.
You Can Do Better- Uncomfortable with few amenities
Rooms are small, bed was lumpy/soft and not too comfortable, linens were not soft/nice and the fitted sheet pulled up from the mattress by morning. I had a bright light from the street that couldn't be dimmed by curtains shining in my eye all night, and the street noise was loud enough to wake us up throughout the night. We had to have the window open because the room smelled old/musty and was hot. There was no in room coffee pot, no in room wireless internet, a small bathroom with very old fixtures and no counter space for setting down toiletries. Parking isn't cheap/included and lot feels unsafe because it isn't well lit and no one supervises it. We paid $185/night mid-week for a very, very average experience.
Because the mattress was soft, the sheets wouldn't stay on, linens felt cheap/scratchy, and blanket was cheap/polyester foam-like if I remember correctly. Chairs were not too comfy to work in and the work space was really cramped. This is not a hotel room to do any work in or relax in. It was a place to sleep and take a shower, about on the same scale as a Ramada Inn or Motel 6.
I told the front desk staff the morning we checked out about our inability to sleep due to noise and light and he simply said "Oh, sorry to hear that" and offered us nothing at all in compensation. This was the most expensive night we had in Northern California, and we stayed at Sheratons and Hyatts the rest of the time. Sheraton and Hyatt both had very clean rooms, firm mattresses, soft linens and nice blankets/comforters and pillows, quiet rooms, flat screen TVs, complimentary water bottles, in room coffee, good room/staff service, and cost anywhere from 50-70$ less per night.