The Claremont neighborhood of Berkeley lies east of the Elmwood neighborhood and west of the world-famous Claremont Resort Hotel & Spa. The hotel's original structure was designed as an English castle with horse stables but when it was destroyed in a fire, the property fell into the hands of a successful gold prospector, who in turn lost it in a game of checkers. This statuesque hotel as we know it today, built in 1915, became a retreat center for the wealthy, and sets the tone for the neighborhood. This is where you will find the most elegant and most expensive homes in Berkeley.
The Claremont neighborhood is framed by the intersection of Claremont, College, and Ashby Avenues, forming a triangle. Prairie-style houses, spacious bungalows, and brown-shingle homes define the architecture of the Claremont neighborhood, many of them commissioned by legendary local architects Bernard Maybeck, Julia Morgan, John Hudson Thomas, William Wurster, and William Ratcliffe.
The Claremont neighborhood has two small shopping areas you can easily walk to. The hub of a short shopping block on Claremont Avenue just south of the hotel is the charming Star Grocery, an old-timey market with a gourmand's touch featuring local, organic produce, a butcher shop that makes farm-raised, sustainable, antibiotic and hormone-free meat, poultry and fish; a deli counter that makes sandwiches to order (with names like "The Godfather" and "The Goodfella"); and extensive beer and chocolate bar selections! Also in this tree-shaded block is Afikomen Jewish Books, Semifreddi's Bakery, Jutta's Flowers, and The Craftsman Home - a store specializing in fine oak and craftsman furniture, lighting, and fine arts and crafts for the home.
Along Domingo Avenue, at the west end of the Claremont Hotel, a small cluster of shops includes Peet's Coffee and the Bread Garden. Bicyclists converge here on weekend mornings to fuel up for their climb into the hills. Rick and Ann's, a cozy neighborhood family favorite since 1989 for gourmet "home-style" dishes is here also.
The owners, active in the community, host a variety of benefit dinners, donating a portion of sales to local organizations in need. If you're in need of a more expanded shopping or dining experience, walk southwest on Claremont Avenue to College Avenue's Lower Rockridge or north on College into the Elmwood shopping districts.
Schools in the Claremont neighborhood include John Muir Elementary, LeConte Elementary, Malcolm X Elementary, and Willard Middle School. AC Transit runs buses up and down Claremont, Ashby, and College Avenues and to the Rockridge and Ashby BART stations.