Best Swimming Pool: For a dip into Hearst-like opulence
Berkeley City Club
Unlike at Lafayette Reservoir, swimming is encouraged here, if only you could afford it. It's easy to walk past the Berkeley City Club without really taking note of it. But step inside, and the club's neo-Gothic-deco fantasy design will refuse to let you go. Designed by famed East Bay architect Julia Morgan, the building, originally the Berkeley Women's Club, was completed in 1930. Morgan also designed San Simeon's opulent Hearst Castle, hence this beauty's moniker as the "little castle." Tucked into its basement is a delight of a swimming pool that rivals William Randolph Hearst's absurdly ornate versions. With a glowing aqua floor, elegantly arched ceiling, Gothic windows, and orange-and-blue deco tiling, the pool even boasts a viewing platform, all the better to view its sparkling water. Unfortunately, you must be a member to take a dip (membership is $134 a month and includes access to other parts of the club). For the spendthrifts, however, the club offers $5 tours, which include the pool, on the fourth Sunday of each month from noon to 4 p.m.