The Best Place to Stay in California's East Bay

Roz Warren
Lafayette Park Hotel & Spawebsite photo used with permission

When you check into a hotel for the first time, it’s a good sign when you overhear one guest say to another, “This is my favorite hotel!” After my recent two week stay at the Lafayette Park Hotel and Spa in Lafayette, California, it’s my favorite hotel too. Here’s why:

The Facility Is Full of Character and Super Comfortable
Lafayette Park Hotel & Spawebsite photo used with permission

There’s nothing cookie cutter or corporate about this place. Built in the 80s and modeled after a French country chateau, it's unique and fun and full of character. There's artwork and sculpture everywhere to delight the eye, and furnishings that are elegant but always comfortable. I wasn’t surprised to learn that this lovely, tranquil hotel has been rated AAA Four Diamond winner for 25 consecutive years.

The Rooms are Spacious and Full of Character and Have Great Amenities
My room at the Lafayette Park Hotel & Spaphoto by author

My spacious, high-ceilinged room was bright and comfortable, with custom furniture that was both handsome and functional, and great decorative touches like deep crown moldings and a beautiful (but nonworking) fireplace. Amenities included a HD flat-screen TV, plush spa bathrobes, a fridge, a coffee maker, and large windows that opened for fresh air (And had terrific drapes that that blocked out light and noise at night.)

The bed was gigantic and blissfully comfortable. There were TWO comfy reading chairs and a great desk. And? The room was superquiet.

The bathroom was gorgeous. I totally fell in love with the bath tub. Large, comfortable for a good soak, endless hot water.

It was the perfect hotel room. And hotel staff swooped in every day and cleaned it to perfection. Mine was a two week stay but I happily could have stayed there forever.

The Location Couldn’t Be Better

Lafayette is a lovely East Bay town in the hills of Lamorinda. The hotel is close to the Lafayette BART station, so you can zip right into San Francisco. It's also just two and a half miles from the Lafayette Recreation Area, one of the Bay Areas best places to walk and hike. (I recommend the 5 mile walk around the Lafayette Reservour.) Lafayette has plenty of eateries, supermarkets and stores that are a quick drive or a pleasant walk from the hotel. The hotel is also a good jumping off place for a trip to San Jose or the the wineries of Napa Valley and Livermore Valley.

The Pool is Outstanding
Lafayette Park Hotel & Spa Poolwebsite photo used with permission

The large, beautifully maintained outdoor pool is situated in a spacious third floor courtyard, surrounded by foliage and trees, under the beautiful California sky. Despite the low hum of traffic passing by the hotel, this is a calm and relaxing space. I was in the pool every morning at 6 and swam for an hour. I always had the pool to myself, the pool temperature was a perfect 85, and there were big fluffy towels available for drying off afterwards. Bliss.

And there’s a hot tub! And a fireplace! There’s also a Spa and an excellent Workout Room.

Hotel Staff is Friendly, Caring, Super-competent

In the two weeks I stayed here, every single staff member I encountered was caring and terrific. And I’m a fussy customer! Hailey, Myrna, Jessica, Rose Mary and Chris, and everyone else I encountered during my stay were always knowledgeable and endlessly patient as I bombarded them with endless requests and questions. When does the pool open? Do you have a map? A spoon? A recommendation for a nearby bookstore? Fresh paper for the printer in the business center? Can you send more coffee pods up to the room? How about a microwave? (They had one and I got it.)

And whenever I came through the lobby, they greeted me by name — and always with a smile.

I particularly appreciated the fact that the first room I was offered when I checked in was terrific — and just what I’d asked for. (Quiet, light, on a higher floor, with a good view) In my experience, it’s rare for an older woman who is traveling alone is given the best room available. But when I checked in, Mryna gave me a room upgrade — without my having to ask.

If You’re Traveling to California’s East Bay, this is the place to stay!

I didn’t eat at the Park Bistro & Bar, although every Lafayette local I met told me that it was fabulous. Apparently it’s the place to go to celebrate milestone events or just enjoy a great gourmet meal. That’s something to look forward to on my next stay. Which can’t come soon enough for me.

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Roz Warren, the author of JUST ANOTHER DAY AT YOUR LOCAL PUBLIC LIBRARY, has appeared on both the Today Show and Morning Edition, writes for everyone from the Funny Times to the New York Times, and has been included in 13 Chicken Soup for the Soul collections. Drop her a line at

Bala Cynwyd, PA

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