by Anneli Rufus
A guided tour yesterday of Downtown Berkeley's Hotel Shattuck Plaza, which occupies the site of the former Shattuck Hotel, revealed eye-poppingly cool design elements and green technology.
In a National Historical Landmark edifice that has housed guests since 1910, the 204-room Shattuck Plaza opened last month after nearly three years of remodeling.
Kevin Davis of San Francisco's Ziv Davis Interior & Architecture Studio chose black, white, and candy-apple red as the ground floor's signal colors. The latter captivates in exuberant glass chandeliers that make you want simultaneously to laugh, love them, and bite off chunks to suck. The former seize your attention the second you step through the front door, as the foyer's marble floor tiles bear the shape of a peace sign four feet across. (The peace theme, a nod to Berkeley being Berkeley, is echoed in the hotel's do-not-disturb signs, which say not Do Not Disturb but Peace, Please.) Black-and-white wallpaper in a bold postmodern-lace pattern graces the hotel's organic restaurant-bar, Five, whose patrons eat three meals a day (selected from a menu that includes watermelon beer) under the 1910 structure's enormous original crystal chandelier.
Inserted into a slot just inside the door to each guestroom, that room's key-card activates the LED overhead light, bedside lights, air conditioning, speaker phone, iHome, and flat-screen swivel-mounted TV. Remove the card and it all powers down: It's an energy-saving strategy that is currently popular in Asian hotels but just catching on in the States, says front-desk supervisor Matt Swenson, who also points out that each guestroom and suite has free wi-fi and its own bathroom. The old Shattuck Hotel formerly on these premises included several toiletless rooms whose guests were compelled to share communal bathrooms on the corridors. Those corridors now boast neo-psychedelic new carpeting -- Berkeley being Berkeley, again -- and quirky wallpapers that won't let you forget you're a long, long way from Motel 6.
Recycling is afoot as well: A glamorous ballroom and semi-alfresco courtyard are currently still in the works, incorporating bricks salvaged from the original structure.