Claremont Resort may go up for auction in November

The Claremont Resort has had several owners over the past few years. Photo: pixieclipx/Creative Commons

The Claremont Resort and Spa may be headed for the auction block.

The San Francisco Business Times reports that the storied 279-room hotel, an imposing presence overlooking south Berkeley, is caught up in a complicated billion dollar bankruptcy involving Government of Singapore Investment Corp. and the current owners, a partnership between private equity firm Paulson & Co. and Winthrop Realty Trust. The bankruptcy threatens to send the property to auction on Nov. 8., with Nov. 6 as the last day to submit bids.

The current owners acquired the Claremont in January 2011 when the then-owner, Morgan Stanley, defaulted on the loan it had taken out to buy the resort and other hotels. The group restructed the portfolio but was still unable to pay off $1.5 billion in loans, prompting it to file for bankruptcy in February of that year.

The Claremont was put up for sale in May of this year for $80 million, but no new buyer has stepped forward, according to the Business Times (full article behind paywall).

The Claremont Hotel opened in 1915 and has changed hands numerous times. Most of the Claremont sits in Oakland, but a small section sits in Berkeley. The hotel has a Berkeley mailing address.

Investment group puts Claremont resort up for sale [05.23.12)
Claremont files for bankruptcy, operations unaffected [02.02.11]

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  • The Sharkey

    They should think about selling off some of the furniture and other accoutrements of the hotel.

    I can’t afford to put in a bid on the property, but I’d love to have a chair or lamp or dinnerware or what have you that came from the Claremont.

  • Considering the cheapest room available is over $300, it comes as no surprise to me that they’re not doing good business.

  • PragmaticProgressive

    Convert it to affordable housing in the heart of Claremont?  Convert the pool into a Warm Pool?  If it’s OK to pursue such projects in other parts of town, why not here?

  • Berkeley Resident

    I agree.  They’re not competing with some of the boutique hotels in other cities, both here and across the pond, with lower room rates.  Demands have changed.  I would envision part upgraded and less expensive hotel rooms to meet the demand of today’s younger generation, part condos (affordable and higher end), community access to the amenities in a different structure than currently exists.  It’s a  beautiful landmark and is so much a part of our town.  I hope it evolves with the times.

  • Guest

     My parents stayed there for much less than that over the holidays. Nobody ever actually pays the rack rate at any hotel!

  • guest

     Except it’s mostly in Oakland but partly in Berkeley.  Can anything good happen in that case?

  • I wasn’t referring to the rack rate, I was referring to the best available rate online, which I had checked immediately before making my comment. 

  • guest says “$262

    average nightly rate” for next weekend which means there must be at least some rooms below $252.  Sunday (10/28) night rate was listed for $178.

  • LouKidUp

    If the Claremont does give up on the high-end market, it won’t be the first time. This is from the Oakland Tribune May 1, 1915: “Under Miss Nace’s management, the Claremont, designed nine years ago as a hotel for the wealthy, will be conducted for the use of persons with moderate incomes.”

  • LouKidUp

    As far as I can tell, the hotel is entirely in Oakland. The postal boundaries don’t follow the city limits between Berkeley and Oakland.

  • Anonymous

    The last time The Claremont came up some wise person on Berkeleyside suggested that the city buy it and turn it into a retirement home for city employees. I urge the city council to consider this.

  • 4Eenie

    Will it finally give up the ghost, I wonder?

  • Mbfarrel

     Big Game weekend?

  • Mbfarrel

    I hope not, if only because it is the last remnant of the Key System.

  • LouKidUp

    The hotel doesn’t need a rationale for a Berkeley address. It has a Berkeley address because it’s in the Berkeley delivery area, along with other parts of Oakland in Panoramic Hill and the hills above the hotel. This is easy to see by typing ‘94705’ in Google Maps.

  • guest

     The tennis club, some of the tennis courts, and a small portion of the parking lot are in Berkeley, the rest of the hotel’s property (including, as far as I can tell, the building itself) is in the Oakland city limits.  Both Domingo and Tunnel Rd are in Berkeley, which is why it has a Berkeley address (the city limits cut across slightly to the north of Tunnel Road, so the entrance is entirely, just barely, in Berkeley).  Berkeley is actually south of Oakland in this area, which I think causes a lot of confusion.

  • LouKidUp

    That the address and entrance are on Tunnel Road might be relevant if the city limit were the boundary for this purpose. Everything within a half mile of the Claremont in any direction is in the Berkeley delivery area, though. Again, we just need to look at 94705 on a map.
    I don’t know the entire reason for this, but it might help to know that the Claremont started out in an unincorporated area that was much closer to Berkeley than to Oakland. In 1906, as construction was starting on the hotel, Berkeley annexed part of the Claremont district, but the annexation was limited to the area south of the hotel. In 1909, Oakland annexed the remainder of the district. During those three years, a number of homes were built in the unincorporated area, which presumably was still considered part of the environs of Berkeley.

  • guest

    I just looked up the zip code on the USPS website, and Oakland isn’t even listed as an “acceptable city.”  This seems a little bizarre, since Kensington and part of Albany uses Berkeley zip codes as well, and nobody there uses “Berkeley” as their address.  The northern part of Westbrae, in Berkeley, is within the Albany delivery area as well. 

    I’m surprised Oakland hasn’t raised a stink about this.

  • The idea of a Warm Pool at the Claremont makes me giggle.  Thank you so much for this comment.  :)

  • guest

     The for-real warm pool is at the Bellevue Club in Oakland.  Hot, hot, hot!

  • kitty

    serves em right.  the claremont is not worth their high prices.  someone else will manage it better.

  • Jes’ Sayin’

     It’s not necessarily a good idea to root for local businesses to fail.

  • PragmaticProgressive

    Seriously?  How about they save some $$ from their salary and pay for their own retirement home.  

  • Niamhconorie

    Visiting such places is one of the greatest moments of everyone life because of which some memorable moments are stored through out in life. Same like such palace I want to share kambalda hotel near Perth to be visited if anyone visiting Australia a true lovely palace surrounded by nature.