Travel Deals in Oakland
Take a cue from Cinderella: Glass slippers are not made for travel. Don a pair of comfortable flats instead for your getaway to the Berkeley City Club, nicknamed the "little castle." Escape with your Prince Charming for an overnight stay ($81) and be treated like royalty at the Historical Landmark, just across the bay from San Francisco. Once upon a time, Hearst Castle architect Julia Morgan designed this opulent hotel as a women's social club complete with verdant gardens, interior courtyards, a heated indoor swimming pool, and views of the Berkeley Hills. Step away from your carriage and into a standard room, where complimentary Wi-Fi and a soft bed await. Have a ball touring the town and browsing the shops along Telegraph Avenue. The hotel is only a block from the UC Berkeley campus, and within walking distance of the Downtown Berkeley BART station and public transportation. Later, waltz through the Regional Parks Botanic Garden to see native plants of the Golden State in bloom. "Berkeley is a lively city teeming with all types of people, a beautiful campus, vast parks, great shopping, and some incredible restaurants," says Frommer's. If your stomach is growling like an evil stepmother, head down to the hotel's dining room. Or, grab a quick bite at Zachary's Chicago Pizza and have your wish for delicious food granted. Bite into the homemade dough and fresh ingredients from this award-winning pizza parlor and you'll taste why Michelin and Zagat rate these pies among the best. Then, return to your cozy room or dance until the stroke of midnight. After getting plenty of beauty rest, enjoy a complimentary breakfast for two in the dining room before the enchanting fairy tale comes to an end. After all, who needs a Fairy Godmother? All it takes is a touch of the wand (read: mouse click) for a magical getaway to the Bay Area.
Shakespeare, Joyce, Cervantes—it's always easy to turn to the classics when you want a taste of Europe without straying far from home. For something more tangible, write your own European masterpiece with this week's Escape to Palo Alto, California. You and a fellow protagonist will spend one night in a Deluxe Room, Thursdays through Sundays, at the AAA Four Diamond Stanford Park Hotel ($139) You'll be immersed in Old World luxury from the first chapter, opening with the hotel's inviting red brick fireplace and comfortable lobby. Words can hardly describe your spacious guest room, featuring one king or two queen beds, a large sitting area, vaulted ceilings, and a courtyard view. The plot thickens with complimentary parking, Wi-Fi, and access to the state-of-the-art health club. Setting is important, so you'll want to check out the hotel's garden swimming pool and whirlpool, as well as the landscaped courtyards, stately libraries, and parlors appointed with museum-quality artifacts. Later, ask about area activities and attractions. If you need inspiration, look no further than the nearby Stanford University campus and vibrant Palo Alto. "If it doesn't feel like your average college town, that'd be because this is also the northern extent of Silicon Valley," says Lonely Planet. "In fact, it can be said that Silicon Valley started here, just before WWII, when Stanford recruited several esteemed professors from MIT." When the dinner hour arrives, be sure to bookmark the hotel's award-winning Menlo Grill Bistro & Bar, specializing in Californian cuisine made from local, seasonal ingredients. With your $25 dining credit, treat yourself to the center-cut Berkshire pork chop with cornbread dressing, fried sage, and house-made applesauce. Wash it all down with a drink from the extensive glossary of wine and craft brews. Cover-to-cover, this stylish yet convenient Escape will be an instant classic.