It doesn’t have to be Valentine’s Day to have a romantic interlude at Casa 425, but the little boutique hotel certainly fits such an occasion. The courtyard (or “outdoor living room,” as they call it) is a setting like no other in the Inland Empire—cool starlit skies playing as a canopy to the people who frequent this little nook, huddled in groups near the fire pits and fountains. Enclosing this area are the 28 “sophisticated” rooms, all of them opening out to this mild scene. On a given night, there could be an alfresco film screening or some such event, but usually it’s just the idyllic resort feel of wine, appetizers and free-flowing conversation. And this is available to anybody.
The allure of staying at Casa 425 stretches well beyond that, however, as the hotel is within 100-feet of a coffeehouse, a movie theater, and Le Pain Quotidien, the winsome little French Bakery with a health-conscious menu. The entirety of the Claremont Village is a short walk, just as the colleges are. In fact, a car is completely unnecessary once you check in.
As for the hotel, this is where Casa 425 distinguishes itself from the pack. Each room has the spacious, modernist feel of necessity and elegance. By that I mean there’s no fuss to contend with, just a pureness of aesthetics taken with a minimalist’s essentials. Cooler Rothkoesque hues and earthy tones are the base paints, and everything else is white. The lamps, bedding, chairs and couches are amorphous, just efficient pieces with a sort non-flourishing regality. The flat-panel televisions are unobtrusive and have DVD capabilities built-in; DVDs are available to rent in the movie library at the front desk. The King Delux Spa room which I stayed in has a spa that sits suspended in open space, which white curtains can cut off from the main area. The showers are roomy as well, the bed comfortable and plush—down feathers in the duvets.
Best of all, there’s a cultured feel to everything about this well-crafted, right-intentioned getaway. You can rent bicycles to ride around the village; there’s a European-style breakfast every morning with fresh fruit; there’s a workout room on the second floor, and every room has high-speed wireless Internet access. There’s also a bar.
Just as Hemingway wrote of a clean, well-lit place in his literature, so this is one of the quaintest little bars to enjoy a digestif, a beer or a glass or wine. Top shelf combers will spot not only Blue Label but the even butterscotch splendor of Glenrothes 1991 single malt. If there every was a scotch to accentuate the whole experience at Casa 425, it’s a neat glass of this Speyside beauty.
If you can visit for Valentine’s weekend, it’s a sure thing to set a romantic mood. But, the one great thing about Casa 425 is that it’s romantic year-round—so there’s always tomorrow’s occasion, too.
Casa 425, 425 W. 1st Street, Claremont, (909) 624-2227; www.casa425.com; Rates $175-$400 per night