Across the Bay Bridge from San Francisco, you’ll find an eclectic art scene, vibrant culture, and culinary masterpieces, not to mention the best boutique hotels in Oakland and Berkeley.
Staying at Oakland boutique hotels, the incredible experiences don’t need to end when you’re tired out from sightseeing. All the best boutique hotels combine luxury, style, and a touch of something that makes Oakland and Berkeley unique to give you an unforgettable place to stay.
In 2019, National Geographic Traveler ranked Oakland among the top 28 places to see in the world, so it’s a spot you won’t want to pass up! And since one of the most important parts of having a good time while traveling is finding the right accommodation, boutique hotels in Oakland, CA are going to make a key component of the entire experience.
*This post may contain affiliate links, which means I may receive a commission, at no extra cost to you, if you make a purchase through a link. Please see my full disclosure for further information.
What I love about visiting Oakland and Berkeley is the combination of city life and nature. From the seaport in Oakland to Tilden Park overlooking the skyline, there’s something that calls to every traveler.
You can spend your days checking out the incredible museums covering everything from historic art to the latest and greatest science discoveries and then round off your evenings with delicious seafood dinners or a night out at one of the modern clubs.
Thankfully, to meet the individual styles of each traveler, there’s a great selection of unique accommodation in these cities too. Whether you’re looking for spots in downtown Oakland or for excellent boutique hotels in Berkeley near the University, I’ve got something on this list to meet your needs!
Where to Stay in Oakland, California
The architecture and diversity are what characterize the downtown area of Oakland, and the best hotels in Oakland will put you at the center of the action. From quirky art shops to unmistakable monuments like the Rotunda Building, you’ll be blown away by the variety downtown has to offer.
Jack London District
If Bay views are what you’re after, then you’ll want to look for boutique hotels in Oakland near Jack London Square. This area has developed into a flourishing neighborhood with new restaurants, cozy coffee shops, and local wineries.
Plus, it has an amazing historic story as the home of the famous writer Jack London who grew up in the area!
Shopping and local eateries are the top attractions of Temescal. Here you can explore the quirky, narrow streets of Temescal Alley and Alley 49 which have a fun and unique vibe you won’t find in other places in the city.
Piedmont Avenue may be one of the smallest districts in Oakland, but it’s certainly full of character. Packed with shops and restaurants, you’ll be close to historic landmarks like the Piedmont Theatre as well as Michelin-star restaurants when you stay at one of the boutique hotels, Oakland, located here.
Where to Stay in Berkeley California
For the best seafood and awesome oceanfront scenery, the Berkeley Marina is the perfect neighborhood. Hotels in Berkeley Marina tend to have a cozy vibe and unbeatable views, but are often a bit more expensive.
If you’re the type of traveler who likes a central location, then finding boutique hotels, Berkeley CA, in the downtown neighborhood is a must. Practically everything will be within walking distance from top restaurants to excellent shopping.
If you’re on the opposite end of the spectrum and prefer to be removed from the downtown traffic, then we’d recommend looking for hotels in Berkeley Hills. It’s a very scenic area with great views, more peace and quiet, and options for hiking and outdoor activities.
Best Boutique Hotels in Oakland California
1. Moxy Oakland Downtown
Oakland Neighborhood | Downtown
✓ Rating: 8 / 10 | Reviews: 385+ | View on Booking.com
Best For | First-time visitors, weekend travelers.
Location | If you’re looking for boutique hotels in Oakland, CA for a first-time experience where you’ll be close to the center of the action, then Moxy is the place to stay.
Top downtown attractions like the Paramount Theater, the shops and restaurants around historic Franklin Square, and the Oakland Convention Center are all less than a 20-minute walk away! Downtown Oakland has a lot of cool history, so you can walk around the Victorian buildings around Preservation Park, then make your way to the iconic Tribune Tower.
Features & Facilities | Moxy has an elegant and modern vibe with quirky art decorations that make it stand out for being one of the cool hotels in Oakland. Plus with the nightclub right on-site, the fun doesn’t need to end just because the day is over!
In the summer, the terrace is a great spot to relax in the evening and meet other guests, or you can play ping pong in the shared lounge and game room onsite.
There’s no need to give up your exercise routine thanks to the modern fitness center located at Moxy.
Rooms | Boutique hotels in Oakland are known for their style, and Moxy Oakland certainly provides this with natural lighting from the large windows and artistic decorations. Some of the rooms also have views of the city and some of the notable landmarks!
All rooms come with modern comforts like flatscreen TVs, air conditioning, and spacious bathrooms stocked with toiletries. There are also a variety of room sizes ranging from queen beds to king suites, so solo travelers, as well as groups or families, can enjoy the experience of staying at one of the best boutique hotels in California.
2. Kissel Uptown Oakland
Oakland Neighborhood | Uptown
✓ Rating: 8.5 / 10 | Reviews: 120+ | View on Booking.com
Best For | Honeymooners, luxury travelers.
Location | Kissel Uptown ranks among the top hotels near Berkeley since it’s easy to reach the main attractions of Downtown Oakland like the Oakland Convention Center and the Oakland Museum of California, while also being close to the cultural scene of Berkeley.
You’ll be able to walk to the top shopping areas and restaurants of Downtown Oakland, and enjoy some stunning views of the city from your room!
Features & Facilities | Luxury hotels in Oakland, CA, don’t get much better than Kissel. With modern amenities like a well-equipped fitness center and a restaurant and bar right onsite, all the bases will be covered for a memorable trip to California.
You’ll have the option of including an American breakfast during your stay which can be delivered to your room upon request. During the evenings, you can make your way to the romantic rooftop terrace which has comfortable outdoor furniture to appreciate the skyline of Oakland.
Rooms | Although all the rooms at this Oakland boutique hotel are luxurious, some go over-the-top with private balconies, huge king beds, and spa baths.
No matter what room you pick, you’ll have a personal minifridge, Wi-fi, a coffee maker, and heating and air conditioning controlled in your own room. The large windows let in plenty of natural light, and in some rooms there are also living areas and work desks if you’re looking for stylish boutique hotels Oakland has to offer for a business trip.
3. Signature Inn Oakland
Oakland Neighborhood | Temescal
✓ Rating: 8.1 / 10 | Reviews: 590+ | View on Booking.com
Best For | Couples, sightseeing trips.
Location | The Temescal neighborhood is known for its food scene and diversity. No matter what you’re craving, you’ll be within walking distance of all sorts of restaurants serving everything from homemade pizza to Ethiopian cuisine.
It’s still close to downtown Oakland attractions and it’s a great spot if you’re looking for hotels near UC Berkeley, but you don’t want to stay right next to the campus. Here is where you will find the delightful Signature Inn.
Features & Facilities | Some travelers may feel daunted about trying to find the best boutique hotels in Northern California that still meet their travel budgets. Thankfully, spots like the Signature Inn makes this possible!
The simple elegance of the place will make you feel at home and provide a historic charm. Learn about the top attractions in the Temescal area from the front desk so you can visit some of the unique local shops. Keep in mind that breakfast and meals aren’t available at Signature Inn, but in the midst of the Temescal restaurants, you’ll probably want to eat out all the time anyway!
Rooms | The simple but stylish decor of the Signature Inn uses historic elements like tiled bathrooms and some rooms have vintage mini-fridges. You also won’t need to go without modern comforts like flatscreen TVs or air conditioning, plus, you can stay comfortable since the temperature is adjustable in your room.
Just like any of the best Oakland boutique hotels, you’ll also get bonuses like free toiletries and Wi-Fi. This boutique hotel in Oakland is best for solo travelers or couples, although there are some rooms with additional sofa beds if you need a spot for families or groups.
4. Waterfront Hotel
Oakland Neighborhood | Jack London District
✓ Rating: 7.9 / 10 | Reviews: 370+ | View on Booking.com
Best For | Business travelers, sightseeing trips, families.
Location | Looking for a Jack London hotel, Oakland CA has to offer? You’ve come to the right spot at the Waterfront Hotel. As you might have already guessed from the name, you’ll be right at the water’s edge with a great view of the bay.
All the attractions of Jack London Square are just outside the front doors of the hotel. Stop at Heinhold’s First and Last Chance Saloon (Oakland’s historic and oldest bar!) or check out the incredible Jack London Square Farmers Market.
Features & Facilities | After a day of strolling around Jack London Square and eating at one of the fantastic seafood restaurants, you can come back to relax in the heated swimming pool at the hotel.
The business center and meeting facility make this one of the top boutique hotels in Oakland for business travelers. No need to have your meeting in a stuffy conference room thanks to the great views of the waterfront you’ll have here!
Rooms | The bright and expansive rooms give the Waterfront Hotel the type of ambiance all boutique hotels, Oakland CA strive to achieve.
You can control the heat and AC from your own room, and there’s a safe included to keep your valuables in a secure location. You can pick from rooms ranging from one queen bed to huge private suites with living areas included. These larger rooms are also great for families, so you and your kids aren’t crowded into a small space during your trip to Oakland.
Not all the rooms have a direct view of the waterfront, so if this is important to you make sure you select this option when making your reservation!
Best Boutique Hotels in Berkeley, California
5. Graduate Berkeley
Oakland Neighborhood | Southside
✓ Rating: 7.6 / 10 | Reviews: 460+ | View on Booking.com
Best For | Couples and Berkeley campus visitors.
Location | The artsy and vintage vibe of this location gives the Graduate Berkeley Hotel top marks among hotels near UC Berkeley. It’s a great neighborhood to walk around in, or you can check out the University of California Botanic Garden to feel like you’ve escaped the city streets.
Features & Facilities | You’ll feel a bit like you’ve stepped back in time thanks to the Bohemian decorations and fancy furniture found at this Berkeley boutique hotel.
There’s a restaurant and bar onsite serving a variety of American cuisine that can also accommodate a range of dietary needs. If you’re staying in Berkeley for a longer period, services like dry cleaning and laundry are available in addition to daily housekeeping.
You’ll also be able to keep up with your fitness routine thanks to the small but well-outfitted gym onsite.
Rooms | Even though the rooms at the Graduate Berkeley Hotel have a historic vibe, that doesn’t mean you’ll be missing out on any of the modern comforts like air conditioning, Wi-Fi, or a safe for your personal belongings. You can keep snacks and drinks cool in the small refrigerator in each room, and make your own coffee each morning with the coffee maker.
Graduate Berkeley is also one of the best pet friendly hotels Berkeley CA boasts. There’s a small additional fee to cover potential damage, but the hotel will also provide pet bowls and baskets to keep your animal companions comfortable during your stay.
6. Hotel Shattuck Plaza
Oakland Neighborhood | Downtown
✓ Rating: 8 / 10 | Reviews: 775+ | View on Booking.com
Best For | Couples, business travelers, and first time Berkeley visitors.
Location | Offering top-of-the-line amenities for what you could hope for in hotels in downtown Berkeley, the Hotel Shattuck Plaza will put you at the center of the action.
The University of California is only two blocks away and the fun, upbeat urban vibe of downtown Berkeley offers endless options for fine dining, craft brews, and a vibrant art scene thanks to nearby locations like the Berkeley Art Museum & Pacific Film Archive.
Features & Facilities | With decorations like elegant chandeliers, indoor palm trees, and spacious lounges, it’s no wonder why this Hotel Shattuck Plaza stands out among luxury hotels, Berkeley CA features.
Zino Restaurant is a fine-dining option on-site featuring Mediterranean and American cuisine for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
There’s also a state-of-the-art fitness center with great equipment if you want to keep your regular exercise routine during your stay.
Business travelers will appreciate the well-lit and comfortable work areas which ensure you can still enjoy your visit to Berkeley even if you’re traveling for your job.
Rooms | There are a variety of room sizes at the Hotel Shattuck Plaza ranging from smaller rooms with one double bed to large suites with king beds and living areas. Many of the rooms feature city views.
Rest assured that your valuables are secure in the safe in your room each time you go out, and enjoy streaming services like Netflix on the flat-screen TV when you’re tired after a day of exploring Berkeley.
This is also one of the best pet friendly hotels, Berkeley, and will provide bowls and beds for your animal travel companions.
7. Berkeley City Club Hotel
Oakland Neighborhood | Downtown
✓ Rating: 8.1 / 10 | Reviews: 275+ | View on Booking.com
Best For | Romantic vacations and UC Berkeley visitors
Location | Just 5 blocks from the UC Berkeley campus, you’ll be within easy walking distance of all the top downtown attractions of Berkeley. Check out the theaters, restaurants, and museums nearby before heading back to one of the best boutique hotels, Berkeley California has to offer, the Berkeley City Club Hotel.
Features & Facilities | You’ll be impressed from the moment you see the architecture of the Berkeley City Club Hotel: the elegant historic façade gives the appearance of royalty, and you’ll see that this impression goes beyond just appearances!
Even among the best luxury hotels in Berkeley California, this spot stands out thanks to its inner courtyard and garden, the private onsite restaurant, Julia’s (reservations required), and a delicious breakfast included in the room price.
Perhaps the star of the show is the indoor swimming pool with a domed ceiling and huge windows. Even though the hotel has unique historic charm, the modern amenities such as the fitness room are top-notch.
Rooms | The elegant rooms at the Berkeley City Club Hotel all have large windows with views of UC Berkeley, Berkeley Hills, or San Francisco.
There’s also a variety of room sizes ranging from single queen-sized beds to luxury king beds. For an additional charge, you can also get cribs or extra beds upon request.
Basics like Wi-Fi and free toiletries are included in all the rooms, but the historic charm of this former historic social club is maintained thanks to touches like artwork and the draping curtains. These elements make this hotel one-of-a-kind among the best hotels in Berkeley, CA.
8. The Claremont Club & Spa
Oakland Neighborhood | Elmwood
✓ Rating: 8.3 / 10 | Reviews: 285+ | View on Booking.com
Best For | Couples and families
Location | Close to the Claremont Canyon Regional Preserve in the Elmwood neighborhood which is known for its shopping and dining, the Claremont Club & Spa offers everything you could hope for in the best hotels in Berkeley.
Attractions like the UC Berkeley are close by, and there are lots of parks like the Bateman Mall Park and Oak Park which are great places to enjoy the outdoors without leaving the city.
Features & Facilities | Prepare to be blown away by the experience of staying at one of the best boutique hotels in Berkeley. Enjoy a relaxing swim in one of the two heated swimming pools while kids can safely splash and play in the children’s pool.
There’s a state-of-the-art fitness center so you can keep up your exercise routine, and 10 tennis courts for afternoon matches under the Californian sun.
Once you’ve worked up an appetite, head over to the Limewood Bar & Restaurant on-site which serves some of the best regionally sourced cuisine you could hope for at one of the top hotels in Berkeley including an extensive wine list and house-crafted cocktails.
Rooms | Even the standard rooms at the Claremont Club & Spa have a feeling of high-end luxury. All rooms have personal AC, a flat-screen TV, a mini-bar, and a refrigerator.
Keeping with the “spa” elements of this Berkeley boutique hotel, comfy bathrobes are also provided. Upgrade to one of the rooms with a window overlooking one of the city landmarks or the Bay.
A further upgrade to a suite room will also have a living area and some of the best views over the city. These larger spaces are great for extra-luxury trips, or families who are looking for hotels in Berkeley, CA with enough room for multiple travelers or that will also accommodate pets who are along for the ride.
9. Lower Level Flat in 1885 Queen Anne Cottage
Oakland Neighborhood | Alameda
✓ Rating: 9.5 / 10 | Reviews: 25+ | View on Booking.com
Best For | Families and groups.
Location | If you’re looking for hotels near Berkeley, CA but you want a more private place to spend your trip, then this excellent vacation home is the perfect solution.
Located just outside of Oakland in Alameda near the Robert W. Crown Memorial State Beach, the home has a peaceful setting while still being very close to the top attractions of downtown Oakland and a short drive from places like the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and Jack London Square.
Features & Facilities | Surrounded by peaceful views of this property’s beautiful garden, you can enjoy a secluded atmosphere at this excellent alternative to boutique hotels in Oakland.
Plus, you’ll have all the comforts of home like a large private kitchen, a washing machine, and Wi-Fi throughout the property. Hop on one of the free bicycles available for use to explore the area, and once you’re tired head back to cook your favorite meal to eat outside on the spacious terrace and outdoor dining area.
The large windows and bright modern design are on par with the amenities you’d find at any of the luxury hotels Berkeley California features.
Rooms | This vacation home is suitable for families of up to four thanks to the queen bedroom and the comfortable sofa bed in the living room. There’s a large bathroom with a walk-in shower and free toiletries provided for your stay.
Families can also make use of the games and puzzles provided in the room for entertaining evenings while traveling in California. After a day of exploring, you can also relax and watch one of your favorite shows on a flatscreen TV with streaming services like Netflix.
Best Boutique Hotels in Oakland & Berkeley California Map
Boutique Hotels Frequently Asked Questions
Are boutique hotels better?
You might be wondering if it’s worth trying to find boutique hotels in Oakland or what makes these properties special. Although you’ll be able to find the same sort of amenities at other nice hotels in Berkeley and Oakland, it’s really the ambiance that sets boutique hotels apart.
Other hotels will feel more standard and while they might cover the basics, they don’t go above and beyond or add those extra touches that make the best boutique hotels in California stand out. Because of this, if you want a fully-immersive vacation experience, boutique hotels in Oakland and Berkeley are going to be better places to stay.
What is the difference between a boutique hotel and a regular hotel?
More often than not, a regular hotel is meant to only cover the basics – a bed to sleep, an alarm to wake you up, maybe some coffee in the morning. Those extra touches and the local flair that are characteristic of a city or neighborhood are what set boutique hotels apart.
This is good news when looking for boutique hotels in Oakland, CA, since the city has such distinct neighborhoods. A boutique hotel will capture what makes Jack London Square or downtown Berkeley unique, while a regular hotel won’t do this. On top of this, boutique hotels place more emphasis on comfort and will often have a quieter setting than other hotels.
Are boutique hotels more expensive?
This depends on the location, but sometimes boutique hotels can actually be a more budget-friendly option! A lot of travelers think that they won’t be able to afford staying at one of the best boutique hotels Oakland CA has to offer, but many branded properties will actually charge more than a boutique hotel.
Among both boutique hotels and regular hotels, you’ll still find a range of prices and specific amenities. Factors like location, room size, and available facilities all play into the final price of a hotel. It’s definitely worth checking out boutique hotels, Berkeley and Oakland, since you’ll often be able to score a better overall value for the price.
What is the difference between a boutique hotel and a 5-star hotel?
Although both boutique hotels and 5-star hotels focus on luxury, a boutique hotel will generally offer more peace and quiet than most 5-star chain hotels. If you’ve ever stayed at a 5-star hotel expecting luxury and instead end up feeling like the hotel is impersonal, then you’d probably be better off at a boutique hotel.
You’ll find more homey comforts at boutique hotels in Berkeley, CA along with many of the luxury amenities that set 5-star hotels apart.
Best Boutique Hotels in Oakland CA Conclusion
Now that you know what sets the best boutique hotels in Oakland and Berkeley apart, you’re one step closer to planning an incredible trip full of luxury and style.
A hotel should offer more than just a place to crash-it should be a way to really experience the culture and qualities of a location, and all the boutique hotels in Oakland, CA will do just that.
Whether you’re traveling to Oakland for a retreat on the Pacific or you’re looking for boutique hotels in Berkeley to stay close to the university, one of the locations on this list will ensure that your vacation will be full of style, comfort, and a creative flair you won’t find at a typical hotel!
More Northern California Hotel Guides
Top Northern California Boutique Hotels
My Favourite San Francisco Boutique Hotels
Epic San Francisco Hotels with a View
Best Union Square San Francisco Hotels
Beautiful Boutique Hotels in Napa Valley
Best Sonoma Boutique Hotels
Top Northern California Coast Boutique Hotels
Best Big Sur Boutique Hotels & Cabins
My Half Moon Bay Boutique Hotels Top Picks
Carmel By The Sea Boutique Hotels Guide