Cavallo Point Lodge, Sausalito: Bottom Line Review

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Location, location location…  Across the Golden Gate Bridge from San Francisco, and strikingly near the foot of the bridge, Cavallo Point Lodge’s historic buildings form a semi-circle around the decommissioned Fort Baker parade grounds.  From the grounds, you’ll find striking views of both the city and the bridge.  A 20 minute hike or 10 minute bike ride takes you up the hill above the Golden Gate Bridge to Battery Spencer which offers stunning views of the bridge and the city beyond.  Two miles in the other direction you’ll find charming downtown Sausalito which is loaded with excellent dining options (you can also catch a ferry from there to San Francisco).  My wife and I spent three nights at Cavallo Point Lodge.  Here’s what we thought…

This stay was part of my “workation” with my wife as we escaped Michigan’s winter and travelled the California coast for most of February 2022. For details about the trip, see: Workationing the Pacific Coast Highway.

Cavallo Point Lodge Bottom Line Review

Cavallo Point Lodge Bottom Line Review

Excellent!  We absolutely loved the location.  Even though the lodge appears to be a stone’s throw from San Francisco, Cavallo Point is a quiet “get away from it all” retreat.  We thoroughly enjoyed hiking the hills behind the property, walking 2 miles into Sausalito for a meal, and most of all, hiking up the hill next to the Golden Gate Bridge to Battery Spencer and onward to Battery Kirby, with jaw dropping views all the way.  Even better was taking out a complimentary “vintage” electric assisted bike to pedal up past Batter Spencer to enjoy the Marin Headlands (you can alternatively borrow a Lexus car to do the same with less pedaling).

  • Points Price: 55,000 Choice Privileges points per night (plus about 5 years of lost life due to stress).  Choice Privileges offers the ability to book many Preferred Hotels & Resorts with Choice points (details here), but it can be an excruciating process (see this post for my booking and re-booking horror story).  Before attempting to book through Choice, check your pulse and then check for room availability here.
  • Resort Fee: $45 per night, but you do not have to pay this when booking with Choice points.  This was a very pleasant surprise to me when checking out!
  • Historic vs. Contemporary Room Types: The lodge offers a number of different room types but the important thing to understand is the distinction between “historic” and “contemporary”.  Historic rooms are located in iconic restored Fort Baker buildings.  Contemporary rooms are in modern units that were built into the hillside above the historic buildings.  From the outside I find the contemporary buildings to be an eyesore, but from inside I expect that their floor to ceiling windows are magnificent.  I’d be interested in trying out a contemporary room on a future stay, but for this trip we stayed in a historic room.
  • Room Upgrade: By booking with Choice points, my only option was to book into a historic Queen (with only a property view).  I called before our stay to see about upgrading, but was told that I had to talk to Choice about changing room types in advance (no thank you).  However, they did tell me that I might be able to upgrade at check-in if rooms were still available.  It turned out that I didn’t even have to ask.  The check in agent offered to move us to her favorite room (a Historic King Deluxe with City View) for $150 per night.  I took the deal.  Historic King Deluxe rooms are huge.  They have separate bedroom and living room areas (but no door between them) and would be called suites anywhere else.  And “City View” means that windows look out across the water towards San Francisco.  Our view was terrific!  After our stay, I compared the cost of Historic Queen rooms vs. Historic King Deluxe with City View rooms on a number of dates and found that the latter usually cost more than $300 extra per night.  As a result, I feel pretty good about the $150 per night I paid to upgrade.
  • Parking: Free
  • Turndown service: None
  • Housekeeping: Daily service
  • Internet: Wobbly.  We often had good performance, but it intermittently slowed way down and even disappeared a time or two.
  • Dining: The hotel offers one main restaurant which we ate at daily for breakfast and once for lunch.  While the food presentation was great, I was sometimes disappointed by the quality.  For example, my “Fresh Seasonal Fruit” at breakfast included tasteless strawberries like those I’m used to finding out of season in a Michigan grocery store.  And, for lunch, I didn’t care much for the burger I ordered.  That said, I did really enjoy their Pumpkin Pecan Pancakes (that’s fun to say several times fast too).
  • Morning coffee and pastries: Coffee and pastries are available for free each morning in the lobby from 7 to 10.  Coffee is served in to-go cups, and pastries in take-away bags. Unfortunately neither the coffee nor the store-bought (and cold) pastries were very good (one notable exception is that I really enjoyed the cinnamon roll on the one day that was available).
  • Spa: They have one, but we didn’t try it out.
  • Fitness Room:  They have one, but we didn’t try it out.
  • Service:  Fantastic.  All employees were very friendly and helpful.  The bellhops, especially, seemed to go above and beyond towards ensuring guests have terrific stays.  I was also very impressed with housekeeping, but its hard to put a finger on what exactly was so great.  All I can say is that the room was noticeably cleaner and better organized after each housekeeping visit.
  • Other:
    • Electric bikes: “Vintage” electric bikes are available for free to guests.  You can easily bike up the hill to the Golden Gate bridge or past the bridge into the Marin Headlands (I did the latter).  This was awesome!  So much fun!
    • Lexus cars:  The lodge offers a small fleet of Lexus cars (I liked to refer to them in plural as “Lexi”) that guests car take out for free.  We were going to try this out one evening until we learned that cars had to be returned by 6pm.  We’ll give them a go next time.
  • Would I stay again?  Yes.
  • Is it worth traveling to the area just to stay here?  Yes-ish.  To me, an ideal visit to the area would include a couple of nights in San Francisco itself along with a longer stay at Cavallo Point Lodge.  I’d also like to stay over a weekend when more organized activities are available (while we were there they offered only morning yoga which we didn’t manage to do at all).

Photos and captions follow

Cavallo Point Lodge Preferred Hotel Sausalito
“Historic” rooms are in restored Fort Baker buildings like the one shown above. We stayed in room 603 which was confusingly in building 604.  It’s really cool how a small number of rooms share a “house”.  While each room has its own locked door, there is also shared porch space for everyone in the house.
Cavallo Point Lodge Bedroom
Historic Deluxe King bedroom.  The bed was super comfortable. Unfortunately the included robes were small and a bit uncomfortable (not at all plush).
Cavallo Point Lodge Living Room
Historic Deluxe King living room
Cavallo Point Lodge Bathroom
Historic Deluxe King bathroom.  The shower was much bigger than it appears from the photo.
Cavallo Point Lodge Preferred Hotel Sausalito View from Window
City view at sunrise. I purposely took this picture from inside the window in order to demonstrate the view when windows were closed.  You can also see from the picture that the windows live up to the “historic” name.  In fact, during high winds, the windows rattled in their frames.  Actually, “rattled” is the wrong word.  They thumped.
Cavallo Point Lodge Preferred Hotel Sausalito View from Window
This photo was taken at around the same time as the through-the-window photo above, but here I opened the window first to get a clear sunrise photo.
Cavallo Point Lodge View of Bridge from breakfast table
View of the Golden Gate Bridge from our breakfast table.
Cavallo Point Lodge Avacado Toast
Avocado Toast. It looked amazing but needed salt.
Cavallo Point Lodge Breakfast Parfait
Housemade Warm Popovers on left.  Excellent. Coconut Milk Chia & Mango Parfait on the right.  Good but not great.
Cavallo Point Lodge Breakfast Fruit
Fresh Seasonal Fruit (with yogurt). Sadly the strawberries were tasteless.
Cavallo Point Lodge Breakfast Menu
Breakfast menu
Cavallo Point Lodge Vintage Electric Bikes
Vintage electric bikes and helmets. These are available to take out for free for guests.
That’s me about to bike up the hill to the bridge.
Cavallo Point Lodge walk to Golden Gate Bridge and Coastal Trail
To get to the Golden Gate bridge on foot or bike from Cavallo Point, walk across the parade grounds to the fishing pier and turn right towards the bridge. Cars are not allowed through this way.  This is the way to the bridge itself or to view the bridge from Battery Spencer (don’t miss this!).
View of the Golden Gate Bridge from Battery Spencer. You can get here from Cavallo Point Lodge either with a 20 minute uphill walk or a 10 minute bike ride.  I did both.  It does not get old.
This is my bike as I headed back towards the lodge after biking a bit around the Marin Headlands.
Cavallo Point Lodge Lexus Cars
Lexus cars (Lexi) available to borrow.
Cavallo Point Lodge Lexus Cars
More Lexi
Cavallo Point Lodge Preferred Hotel Sausalito Sunrise
City view at sunrise.  Just behind those trees is the Bay Area Discovery Museum that looks like a ton of fun for kids.
Golden Gate Bridge as viewed near Cavallo Point Lodge
It’s 100% worth the 10 minute walk from the lodge to the waterfront at sunrise!
Cavallo Point Lodge View of Golden Gate Bridge
View of the Golden Gate Bridge from a short hiking trail behind Cavallo Point Lodge
Cavallo Point Lodge View of Golden Gate Bridge
Another view from the hiking trail.
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M.A. Moore

I just stayed at Cavallo Point Lodge last week in Historic King ADA for 5 nights. I had “Do Not Disturb” on outside of both doors. Only one door had a dead bolt. Housekeeping knocked and immediately scanned open the door, not once, but twice!!
Very unsettling…..
Management was notified both times.
Very unsettling!

Mick Dodge

“LOOKS GREAT!!! How was the weather over there by the bridge? “SAN FRAN” can get windy?……………. I hope they did chocolates on the pillows?

Ellen

So this place is B.Y.O.C.

AlexL

The views look great!
Btw, is the bottom line review for Hyatt Residence Club, Piñon Pointe still coming? Is this trip right after the Arizona trip? I like the trip background section in your Arizona trip.

SamBam

Thanks for not calling the city “San Fran”.

Aloha808

Looks great, I’m really interested in staying here now! As an aside, do you think the Ritz Carlton in Half Moon Bay is worth a visit?

Last edited 7 months ago by Aloha808
Grant

I stayed one night using a Marriott 50k free night certificate. Rates vary from 50k-70k per night. Parking + resort fee = $80/night on top of the free night. I think it’s worth a visit but wouldn’t stay longer than 1-2 nights.

Aloha808

Thank you. Looks like the points price has really increased since then. I saw some dates for next month pricing at ~140k/night.

Grant

The only date that I saw that was above 70k points for next month was March 15. If your stay is outside that date, you shouldn’t see higher prices than 70k per night. If you are searching more than 1 night at a time, were you looking at the total price of your stay?

Eric Pease

Anyone who stays at Cavallo should visit Kirby Cove. Amazing views and a great place to picnic.

Grant

Thanks for the review Greg. Do you think the $150 upgrade was worth the money vs the base historic room?

Are you reviewing any other Preferred Hotels & Resorts properties on your CA trip?

dee

do you really want to spent a few days in San Francisco??? It’s trashed in most parts esp downtown… crime bad cars broken into constantly and you can shoplift up to $950 without getting arrested..They also have a human waste app to use so that the truck will comewith guys in Hazmet suits to pick up the human waste

BILL

i think I’d like to get the guys in hazmat suits to come for this comment.

WR2

Reality hurts? SF has gone to crap, literally. Best viewed from afar.

Huell Babineaux

Sorry to say, she is right. What she said can also be said about PDX, SEA, LAX and so many other West Coast cities that have gone to crap.

Cavedweller

Cost $5m to clean up Venice Beach.Who running the show there the same people who run Waikiki.The only thing saving Waikiki for now is No Tents. But the area around there u can have them ???
God help the Travelers.

Last edited 7 months ago by Cavedweller