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Spend This Weekend By A Pool In Berkeley

Is there anyone else out there who is beginning to find the two-day weekend to be not nearly enough time off? I mean, by the time you do the laundry, go grocery shopping and…poof! Gone! I like the idea of going away for the weekend, but I don’t particularly relish the thought of spending half my time off in trains, planes and automobiles. But I’m also getting sick to death of spending August in the fog belt.

Antidote: Gather up a friend and head East, to the castle-like Claremont Resort and Spa, set in the Berkeley Hills. You've probably driven by it a million times—this weekend, stop. Because you know what? They have a two big, heated, outdoor pools, with lots of lounge chairs around them, as well as a full bar on the deck. And it’s sunny there! For $230, you can take advantage of their “Beat the Heat” promotion from now until September 7—a room for the night, two poolside drinks, access to the health club and the pool and free parking. (You can also get pool access by booking a $99 spa treatment Monday through Thursday, then paying an extra $25 resort fee for the day—and while you’re at it, you might also consider taking advantage of the three free hours of childcare that are available for spa guests; call 800-551-7266 for details.)

To our minds, the best day to go is Sunday. Spend the late afternoon lounging by the pool (by which point the crushing number of children that inhabit the space during the weekend days has diminished some), then bed down for the night in one of the recently refurbished rooms. You should ask for one with a view; if one is not available, take the elevator to the sixth floor around sunset, walk to the end of the hallway and ogle to your hearts content or, better still, snap up a patio seat at Paragon, one of three on-property restaurants—and enjoy from the comfort of a seat beneath a heat lamp.

The following morning, cross the street for breakfast at venerable mainstay Rick and Ann’s. On weekday mornings you’ll avoid the crazy line that is par for the course at weekend brunch. By the time you finish your bacon, spinach and cheese omelet and a blueberry muffin, the commuter traffic on the bridge will have died down. You’ll zip across the bridge and be at your office before your 10 a.m. Monday morning meeting, and no one will be the wiser.