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Walnut Creek Magazine

Lafayette Park Hotel & Spa Enchants

Nov 07, 2018 08:09AM ● By Fran Miller

BY FRAN ENDICOTT MILLER 

As a Lafayette resident for the past 20 years, I’ve enjoyed many a meal and happy hour at the Lafayette Park Hotel’s Park Bistro & Bar. I’ve attended courtyard weddings and indulged my children in the Holiday Teddy Bear Tea. But not once had I actually spent the night at the Lafayette Park Hotel, nor pampered myself with a treatment at the hotel’s tiny yet tony spa. As Julia Roberts' character says in Pretty Woman, “Big mistake. Big. Huge!” 

I recently set-out to discover the full breadth of this East Bay gem’s offerings, and I was charmed. As the only Woodside Hotel Group hotel in which I’d not stayed, I was more than curious. Woodside Hotels include many of Northern California’s most indulgent resorts, such as Bernardus Lodge in Carmel Valley, The Bodega Bay Lodge, and Indian Springs in Calistoga. Each exudes sense-of-place, a Woodside hallmark. What might be the Lafayette Park Hotel’s sense-of-place aura?

I found it in the gracious hotel room, over a gourmet dinner at the Park Bistro, and in a masterful massage at the spa – European charm mixed with relaxed California elegance. The winning combo is a favorite of business travelers, families of St. Mary’s College and University of California, Berkeley students, and locals seeking a bit of indulgent R&R.

Reminiscent of a French chateau, the hotel - located at the eastern end of Mt. Diablo Blvd. -features elegant communal spaces and captivating courtyards. Guest rooms come in a variety of layout options, and all are spacious and well appointed with the amenities expected by modern travelers. Beds are plush, as are the robes and slippers found in each closet.

Chef Frank Macias heads the kitchen at the Park Bistro & Bar and his passion and artistry are evident in every delicious and beautiful dish. The hotel is fortunate to have brought this uniquely talented chef into its fold. Macias brings 20 years of culinary experience from some of the nation’s top restaurants where he worked alongside top talent, and his seasonal cuisine makes the Park Bistro & Bar one of the best dining experiences in the East Bay. Dine in the main dining room, in the clubby bar area anchored by a rustic cobblestone fireplace, or al fresco on the covered outdoor patio with its two roaring fire pits. And don’t miss the cocktails – creative and delicious. Try the ‘origami airplane,’ (pictured) a Japanese twist on the new-modern classic with Japanese whisky, Aperol, and lemon, served with a whimsical origami airplane affixed to the rim. Dare to decipher the ingredients in the ‘the beekeeper,’ a people’s choice award winner at the 2017 Lamorinda Art of Mixology Contest: beeswax washed Golden State vodka, yellow chartreuse, Benedictine, charred lemon gum syrup, Aquafava, and citric acid.


Finally, perhaps the hotel’s best kept secret is its pool and spa. Surrounded by gardens and greenery and located high off the main road on the hotel’s third floor, this small Eden is a tranquil space that transports. Book a massage or facial, then enjoy an al fresco lunch by the large fireplace, followed by a lounge chair nap and hot tub soak. No need to spend the night for this experience – a favorite of locals in-the-know, of which fortunately I now am one.  

Photos by Paul Dyer