Offering great value for a surprisingly small nightly fee, the Golden Bear Inn (1620 San Pablo Ave., 510/525-6770, www.goldenbearinn.com, $99–121) has myriad small unique touches that make it special among budget motels. A family-friendly place, parents can rent an inexpensive room with two twin beds in a separate bedroom, providing privacy and relaxation for everyone. Cute rooms are nicely decorated and have televisions and wireless Internet access. Restaurants and attractions cluster comfortably nearby.
The Downtown Berkeley Inn (2001 Bancroft Way, 510/843-4043, www.downtownberkeleyinn.com, $145) brings the inn concept into the city. The location, exterior, and room design all mimic the urban style that defines downtown Berkeley. Guest rooms boast top amenities, such as high-end beds and 42-inch plasma televisions. If you’re out till the wee hours, pull the blackout drapes and sleep in!
© Liz Hamill Scott from Moon California, 2nd Edition