The Washington Inn (495 10th St., Oakland, 510/452-1776, www.thewashingtoninn.com , $165–190) brings a hint of European elegance to Oakland . Guest rooms are done in clean lines, simple furnishings, and bright whites linens with touches of brilliant color. This inn prides itself on pampering its guests, so be sure to take advantage of the extras. And make a dinner reservation at TWIST, the hotel’s wonderful white-tablecloth California-Italian restaurant. The inn’s location in the heart of downtown makes it perfect for business and pleasure travelers alike.
If you prefer to stay in Alameda , the Hawthorn Suites (1628 Webster St., Alameda, 510/522-1000, www.oaklandhs.com , $132–165) has all the appointments and amenities of a good motel, plus big, extra-nicely decorated guest rooms. Sure, it’s a chain, but it’s one of the nicer ones and it’s conveniently located in downtown Alameda, only a short drive from the USS Hornet museum .