Lodge at Tiburon
Your Secret Family Destination
By Kathy Chin Leong

When you have one of those rare open weekends as a family and you are wondering what to do, choose Tiburon. Right in the Bay Area approximately 90 minutes north of Silicon Valley and 45 minutes from San Francisco, Tiburon appeals to the kid in all of us. Why?  Angel Island State Park is only a ferry ride away and offers a day full of picnicking, exploring, hiking, bicycling, and more.  

And there's no question that THE place to stay is at the Lodge at Tiburon which  is steps away from the downtown scene, ferry docks, and also achingly close to a variety of coffee houses, breakfast eateries, sandwich shops, fine restaurants, and more. Foodies will not be disappointed. The Lodge features 103 rooms and suites, idyllic views, and is perfectly situated for launching off to take a morning walk.

The weekend I came up, I checked in early and made it on time to take the 11 a.m. ferry.  My friend Jamie and I spent the day hiking, eating lunch at the island cafe, and touring the historical barracks where Chinese immigrants were first incarcerated when they came from their homeland to the United States.  The Angel Island Immigration Station is a wonderful museum that reveals how the first immigrants survived the camp in the 1940s.  

 I came to the Lodge at Tiburon to check out its new nine-month long renovation. Now freshened with a contemporary Northern California coastal design, the lodge owners spent millions remodeling guestrooms, the pool, the lobby and the new Tiburon Tavern restaurant. These new design elements feature plenty of plantings around the premises. An outdoor fire pit surrounded b y Adirondack chairs is most inviting.  It is extremely family friendly in the pool area where families can bring their babies and splash in the water. A couple of cabanas shield little ones from the sun.  Decked in greens and striped brown colors, the coordinated pool furniture and lounge chairs with lush greenery provide a distinct resort club feel.   

I was so pleased with the rooms that feature comfortable beds, free Wi-Fi, flat screen televisions, and a mini-refrigerator to store snacks.  Views of the pool were sublime from our window.  Rooms are roomy and extremely cheerful with fresh white shutters on the sliding glass window doors,  sea foam green walls, white bedding with a goldenrod throw folded neatly across the bed. 

If you don't want to hang out in your room, there is plenty of space to enjoy on the premises. The lobby area has a sitting alcove with a fireplace to read magazines and newspapers. It also features free DVD library so you can check out a movie to use with the in-room DVD players- another bonus for the family.

TiburonSept13-1.jpgWe also enjoyed the restaurant downstairs- the Tiburon Tavern which also got a huge facelift. Flagstone slab walls, airy floor plan, and sliding doors that open up to the patio are part of the essential casual California vibe that echoes throughout.  The tavern, led by chef Jamie Prouten, features American comfort food and an assortment of shared plates.  Prouten has a new spin on fun dishes. The $10 calamari, for instance, is not deep fried, but grilled in smoked olive oil and garlic. The award-winning $10 melted cheese sandwich is made with gourmet Fiscalini cheddar, sourdough bread, and a tomato dipping sauce.  

The night we came the chef decided to get creative and made an appetizer of fried and slivered pigs' ears with sea salt. It had a smoky pork taste and carried a savory crunch.  My friend's Mary's roast chicken was juicy and flavorful at $18.  My beef short ribs, also $18, were rich and saucy, every bite tender with a bouquet that serenaded the mouth.  

TiburonSept13-2.jpgWhile we could have stayed to listen to the live music in the front patio, after dinner we headed and the outdoor patio with the fireplace only to meet a mom and her teen daughters from England. Conversation quicky led to the new prince and princess, William and Kate, whom the entire country, apparently, adores. 

BOTTOM LINE:
The Tiburon Lodge is your go-to, destress location that delivering elegance and sophistication without the snobbiness. Service is great, and front desk personnel are friendly and knowledgeable about things to do locally. Rates run about $250 per night, but you can snag a room for under $200 on travel sites such as www.hotel.com.  Close to downtown Tiburon and the Angel Island Ferry, the lodge is an excellent venue to bring little kids to play, swim, and eat.  And if you need another reason to convince the kids to come, tell them Grass Shack Organic Ice Cream is directly across the street!

****

DETAILS:

Lodge at Tiburon
1651 Tiburon Blvd.
Tiburon, CA 94920
415/435-3133
www.lodgeattiburon.com
Eoom rates start at $250.

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