When I walked into the lobby of the Aiden in Berkeley, I was struck by its sense of design. Soft seating mixed with high top tables, a wall painted as if it is street art, and sleek bicycles hanging on the wall, waiting for patrons to ride them downtown. Only one mile from UC Berkeley, the three-story Aiden makes every effort to give the illusion that clientele are in an oasis. The upper floors are set back, allowing for large potted plants outside big windows. The hip wallpaper consists of articles and facts about Berkeley. The designer toilet is mounted on the bathroom wall—no pedestal. The window coverings are amazing—the best I’ve seen in a hotel. The inner roller shade is blackout and the outer roller shade is translucent. They spared no expense on the desk drawer pulls. The bed and pillows were super comfortable; the hotel quiet. I give Aiden high marks for sleep comfort. The rooftop has outdoor seating, yoga mats, and a TRX workout system.
So why the 3 star rating? I don’t think the interior designer ever stayed in the room. Although the room had ample space, the layout was less-than-ideal, and even dangerous. My room opened to a large hallway of empty space—no pictures hanging and no furniture—that looked rather bland and unfinished. Turning the corner into the main room, I was happy to see a stylish room. But on further inspection, the good looking room wasn’t as functional as it should be. First of all, the desk and office chair were placed at the end of the bed. Even a wafer-thin person would not be able to sit in the chair and get work done. In fact, to get from one side of the bed to the next it’s best to remove the office chair. However, if you remove the chair, the desk drawer pull, which sticks out a few inches, becomes an obstacle. Both my partner and I ran into it and after more than a week, we both still have bruises, The drawer pull even drew blood from one of us! After the second injury, I wrapped a hand towel around the drawer pull.
I’m not sure why the hotel bothered with a super fancy phone system with a screen or an alarm clock. Just about everyone has a cell that serves as both a phone and an alarm. Their phone system and alarm left very little space on the bed stand. They were wired such that I was unable to move them out of the way and store them on the floor during my stay. And, unbeknownst to me, the alarm was set to 6:00 AM. It was quite startling to have it wake me.
Layout is an easy thing to fix. Given that the hotel is so new, I expect they will sort out some of these flaws, especially the “deadly drawer pull.” The location is fabulous, near the university and lots of restaurants of many ethnicities. There seemed to be a fair amount of on-street parking, although I opted for valet garage parking (extra fee) at the hotel. The staff are friendly, welcoming, and full of helpful knowledge of the area. less
Jeroen Buiks, General Manager at Aiden by Best Western at Berkeley, responded to this review
Thank you so much for taking the time writing this detailed review of your stay with us! We’re very happy that you had an overall good stay and that we offered many things you enjoyed such as our unique décor, rooftop terrace with TRX workout station and the comfort of sleep. We do appreciate your feedback regarding the room layout because we do take this very seriously. We are a brand-new hotel, and we are still working on fine-tuning the final details, and guest feedback is therefore very valuable! We would have loved the opportunity of offering you a different room during your stay that may have been more suitable for you. We have many different room configurations, and it would have been our pleasure to show you some options! We also apologize that you got woken up by an alarm that you didn’t set. We specifically installed single-day alarm clocks to avoid this issue, so we will investigate what caused this to happen. We really hope you will consider staying with us again in the future when visiting Berkeley, and if you do, please contact me directly so I can see to it that you are assigned to a room that you will find very comfortable!