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…
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.
- 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).