City lights and starry skies mix and mingle at Cavallo Point. Nestled near the base of the Golden Gate Bridge on the arguably lesser-explored Marin County side of the border, guests know they’re close to San Francisco. Unless the fog has rolled in, the proof is in the amazing view. But that’s where the expected city-esque hotel similarities end.
Cavallo Point, The Lodge at the Golden Gate, boasts a unique address that oozes history. Located at the mouth of the San Francisco Bay within the boundaries of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area (GGNRA), in a former life the Lodge was known as the Fort Baker military base. Established in 1897 to protect the Golden Gate, the post remained active through World War II.
Today, the military buildings remain, but their mission has changed. Structures that once served as barracks for enlisted soldiers have been meticulously restored and modernized creating accommodations that acknowledge the property’s history.
Cavallo Point offers 142 accommodations; when booking a stay, guests choose between Historic Lodging and Contemporary Lodging. The 68 rooms and suites considered Historic Lodging were built between 1901 and 1915, and once served as officers’ quarters for the Army. The brick buildings boast details only age can deliver — think authentic tin ceilings, foyers and staircases, fireplaces, and big, beautiful front porches that typically come with a view.
Set on a hillside overlooking Fort Baker, 74 newly constructed rooms and suites comprise the Contemporary Lodging offerings. These rooms are cozy and luxurious with modern touches ranging from Bryte Restorative Beds, to gas fireplaces, radiant heat floors, and bamboo furnishings. But it’s the swoon-worthy views of the Golden Gate Bridge and San Francisco Bay that give guests something to smile about long after returning home.
I stayed in a Contemporary King Suite with Golden Gate View on the second floor. The attention to detail in the guestroom was refreshing. Touches like bubble bath and bath salts for use in the soaking tub, numerous hooks for towels, a Lavazza coffee maker as well as a hot water kettle for tea drinkers, and a small refrigerator stocked with complimentary snacks and beverages. Housed in two-story buildings, all rooms and suites also feature private entrances.
When staying steps from the Golden Gate Bridge, guests typically learn time spent at Cavallo Point can deliver more than just a pretty view. When the fog rolls in, the fog horns kick on. While some find the sound soothing, all accommodations are stocked with earplugs for light sleepers, just in case.
Cavallo Point is a LEED Gold Certified hotel, but you don’t have to be an eco-conscious traveler to appreciate the property’s green design and reuse of historic materials. Those wanting to dig deeper will find sustainable choices ranging from refillable toiletry dispensers and energy-efficient appliances, to native plant landscaping.
Complimentary yoga classes are offered on a daily basis. Accessing the endless miles of hiking, biking and other outdoor activities in the GGNRA is as easy as walking out your door. The property also has a fleet of electric bikes that are free for guests interested in exploring on two wheels, so it’s hard to imagine needing to spend time in the gym. If you must, the Fitness Room is open 24 hours a day.
Cavallo Point offers a trio of onsite dining options. Sula (formerly Murray Circle) serves dinner Thursday through Sunday, in a formal, upscale setting. Expect options like Dungeness Crab Salad, Wagyu Beef Filet, and Pan Seared Scallops. If you save room for dessert, the Sticky Toffee with orange zest ice cream and toffee sauce is well worth the calories. Open daily for dinner service and a bit more relaxed, Sula Lounge serves a handful of small plates ranging from oysters on the half shell and Wagyu beef tartare, to a trio of local artisanal cheeses.
Farley is the most casual and approachable of the three dining spots. Open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, menus offer a little something for everyone. From Muscovy duck hash to Steak frites and wild mushroom ravioli, there are plenty of options throughout the day. Along with indoor dining, there’s dog-friendly, outdoor patio seating with views of the Golden Gate Bridge.
Contemporary King Suite with Bridge View room rates start at $959. Historic Room rates start at $550. Go to Booking.com, Expedia or Priceline to check for better rates. There is a daily Resort fee of $60 per room that covers a long list of amenities including Wi-Fi, valet and self-parking. Free charging is available for guests with electric vehicles.
Cavallo Point is dog-friendly; a $150 fee (per room, per stay) covers up to two dogs per room. Bedding, food and water bowls, and an assortment of treats are included.
Review and photos by San Francisco Bay Area travel writer and television correspondent Dana Rebmann. Her stay was organized by The Lodge at Healdsburg, but as always her thoughts and opinions are her own.