The Claremont Club & Spa invited my family to enjoy some of the Holidays in the Hills activities and stay overnight. All opinions are those of my children and family. TLDR: We had a ton of fun!
Making holiday magic happen for your family doesn’t have to mean flying or driving to far-off lands. Save on travel and splurge on a fabulous staycation full of holiday fun and enchanting views of the Bay at the Castle in the Hills. My family — including four kids 11 and under — and I recently stayed overnight at the Claremont Club & Spa and enjoyed some of their holiday offerings. And even though we were just a few miles from home, it felt like we were on a fancy vacation without all the travel headaches.
Claremont’s Holidays in the Hills
The Five Palms Ice Rink, now through February
Does ice skating outside without the freezing cold ice sound enticing? As a parent to little kids, it sounds genius to me. The Five Palms Ice at the Claremont is exactly that: a special eco-friendly, Swiss-engineered Glice skating rink that looks like ice but is more like plastic (almost as hard on the tush when you fall). It does take a little practice to get used to it, similar to real ice skating (but in some ways harder). Three out of four of my kids absolutely loved it, as did my husband. I found it a bit tricky myself, but I’ve never been known for my coordination.
The Glice rink is open Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays from November 18 through February 2023. Adults cost $24, kids, $12. (Save $4 when you bring your own ice skates. No toe picks permitted). They also have a pizza oven outside by the rink baking up some pretty tasty pies, along with adult and kid beverages. Purchase a cookie decorating kit or a round of s’mores from the snack chalet to pump up the holiday magic even more. More info here >
ProTip: They’re open Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, Christmas, and New Year’s if you’re looking for a fun mixed generation holiday activity when most places are closed.
Gingerbread House Decorating, certain December Saturdays
This is one of those things that you have to try at least once if you have little kids. Each ticket provides one large gingerbread house kit – icing, sprinkles, and all the tools you need to create your masterpiece. Advanced reservations are required; the cost is $135 per ticket and that covers one giant house. Only offered on December 3, 10, and 17. Reserve tickets here >
Holiday Tea is served weekends throughout December
No need to head to San Francisco for this special holiday tradition. Head to the Lobby Bar and indulge in the classic high-tea delicacies, including delightful desserts and petite sandwiches. Available on Saturdays and Sundays, December 3 – 24. Seating from 1 pm until 3:30 pm. Adults | $125 (includes one glass of sparkling wine); Children (6 – 12) | $75. Make reservations here >
Claremont Pool and Resort Amenities
If you have time outside of the fun holiday activities during an overnight hotel stay, you’ll want to access all the resort offers like three heated year-round pools, tennis courts, and three complimentary hours of Kids’ Club per day. We didn’t have a chance to visit the pools, but we’re planning to come back sometime soon. Because let’s be real, all kids really need to be happy on vacation is a swimming pool. Read more about the Resort Services here >>
The Rooms at the Claremont are super nice
The rooms are spacious and refined, with comfy beds and fabulous views (make sure to request a Bay View). You can also request connecting rooms if that makes sense for your family. But that’s just what the adults care about. For the kiddos, the beds are big and fluffy with plenty of pillows, the views are exciting and TVs are big and have plenty of content, including Chromecast. You can order room service to keep things simple, including some scrumptious (and huge) chocolate chip cookies with cold milk. If you have little ones, cribs are also available upon request. More details about rooms and suites here >>
Holiday & Wintertime Dinners
We enjoyed some delicious pizza from the outdoor wood-fired oven after our Glicing escapades. They also have s’mores kits, hot cocoa, wine, and all the goodies for a special day or evening with the family.
But if you’re looking for something a bit more formal, the Limewood Restaurant is a great option. They even have Christmas Dinner (or Brunch), as well as everyday dining. If you prefer a to-go option, Claremont’s catering team at East Bay Provisions has a Family sized Prime Rib dinner that looks amazing.
The Bottom Line on Claremont Club & Spa for families
We had a blast the Claremont. It was fancy but relaxed, with a low-key elegance that made everything feel special. From the Glice rink, al fresco dining, views, and ubiquitous holiday magic, we had such a memorable time as a family with minimal effort as far as planning and traveling. If only every vacation could be as simple to execute as our stay at the Claremont. Yes, it’s not cheap, but for all that you save on planes, trains, and automobiles, the cost feels reasonable as far as fancy goes. We look forward to going back in the summer and splashing around in the pools!
Plan your visit to the Claremont Club & Spa
Location: 41 Tunnel Road, Berkeley
Contact: Telephone: +1 510 843 3000 | Toll Free Reservations: + 1 888 560 4455 | firstname.lastname@example.org
Check out our Bay Area Staycation Guide for more places to explore.
Thank you again to The Claremont Club & Spa for hosting my family of six for Holidays in the Hills activities and an overnight stay.