Snow Globe Sweet: The Claremont Hotel

Find the old-fashioned bauble at the Berkeley landmark.

A SHELF-READY SNOW GLOBE, if it doesn't boast a snowman or rock some sort of Santa's cottage scene, very often depicts a few classic tableaux. One that stirs the hearts of city dwellers is the snow globe-encased skyline, the metropolis in miniature with its skyscrapers and various buildings and parks. Very often one will see a hotel among those buildings, because landmark hotels have defined the look of cities for decades, and their shape and hue and towers and wings are instantly recognizable, even when shrunk down to fit inside a palm-of-your-hand-sized gewgaw. The best part, of course, for city mavens who have a special devotion to older hotels, is to find a snow globe depicting a real location, one that's stood for over a century, a place where your family may have celebrated many a special occasion. Claremont Club & Spa, A Fairmont Hotel in Berkeley is such a destination.

IT'S PRETTY FABLED, from the train tracks that ran right up to the hotel to its early role as a racket-swinging draw for The Berkeley Tennis Club. Of course, it did open in 1915, and having your first century completed means you have a few fables to tell. And few objects are as fable-fabulous as a snow globe, an item often spied in stories of a fictional and winsome nature. But there's nothing fictional about the fact that you can now take The Claremont home with you should you purchase a globe at the hotel gift shop. Have a hotel aficionado in the family? This could be for them.

GIVING BACK: Fairmont recently acquired the century-old spread, a spread that was updated with modern touches in the rooms though its "castle-like architecture" remains grandly intact. A kindness-laden addition to the yuletide celebrations on the property? The Claremont, along with other Fairmont hotels in the region, has partnered with the Do It For The Love Foundation on a holiday fundraiser (you know this big-of-heart organization, which was started by musician Michael Franti and his wife Sara Agah, an emergency room nurse). Look for decorated Trees of Hope firs in the hotel lobby, and purchase an ornament that catches your fancy. The money raised by the ornaments helps the foundation's goal, which is to "inspire joy, hope, and lasting celebratory moments in the face of severe illness or trauma." You can give directly, too, to Do It For The Love, or volunteer or host your own event. It's sweet, deep, and important, qualities reflected in the season we're in.

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