The Acqua Hotel: kid-friendly boutique hotel in California’s Bay Area

I’m pleased to announce I’ve found a new (to me) hotel brand favorite for traveling families: Broughton Hospitality’s boutique hotel collection, with properties across the west. On our recent California road trip with kids, we had the pleasure of spending a night outside San Francisco at Mill Valley’s Acqua Hotel, which served our family’s needs perfectly.

acqua hotel

What made the Acqua, and the other Broughton hotels we’ve experienced, so well suited? These boutique hotels fall right in-between the price point of a economic motel and a high-end luxury hotel, while including a host of hotel amenities families need. The Acqua, perfect for bay area travel, is priced only marginally higher than a standard motel, and yet offers large rooms, plenty of outdoor space to play, adjacent biking and walking paths, an ideal location to Sausalito and Muir Woods National Monument, a full breakfast, free parking, and wifi. The value for amenities cannot be beat.

We checked into the Acqua Hotel just in time for their complimentary wine and cheese reception hour (from 5 pm to 6 pm), which we enjoyed in the sunshine on the expanse of lawn overlooking the bay. The kids played touch football on the grass while we sipped a nice pinot noir, and we all snacked on grapes, cheese, and crackers…perfect to fend of hunger pre-dinner. We were minutes away from Mill Valley, where we ate a fun dinner at Joe’s Taco Lounge (recommended by the hotel staff), and once we returned to our room, we had enough space to stretch out for a family movie night. Our corner room (a junior suite) boasted a nice view with patio (though sizes vary), and slept five very comfortably, and the style was chic, fresh, and modern. The bathroom was very large with a huge tub and shower, and the hotel’s unique, airy layout makes you feel like you’re always outside.

acqua hotel

The following morning, we ate our fill at the far-above-average complimentary hotel breakfast buffet, laid out in the Acqua’s second floor breakfast room with outdoor patio overlooking the back bay. “Finally, a hotel breakfast buffet with enough seating,” my husband noted, and he was right: there was more than enough room…no jockeying for a table in the morning rush. The buffet featured highly decent coffee and tea options, fresh sliced fruit, gourmet danishes (nothing out of the package here), cereals and oatmeal, and your standard breads and bagels (topped with artisan jams and jellies). We were very impressed (and trust me, we’ve seen our share of free hotel buffets).

For what you get, I can’t stress the Acqua’s value for families enough: it’s perfect for exploring the Bay Area, and close enough to the city (five miles or so from the Golden Gate Bridge) to make for a good home base for city excursions (though note: you’ll pay for tolls and parking in the city). The hotel does boast free bike borrowing (for use on the nearby bike paths), but at the time of our visit, they only had two adult-sized bikes. My single recommendation for the Acqua is to offer child-sized bikes as well, so a family could enjoy this amenity.

acqua hotel

Distance from the interstate:

Right off Highway 101 (though we couldn’t hear street noise at night).

Room rates:

Our junior suite was listed at $169.00 a night, and deluxe king and double rooms are generally under $150 a night. Check with Acqua’s reservation system for exact rates, of course.

Included amenities:

In-room wifi, parking, breakfast, wine reception, all-day coffee and tea service, plenty of outdoor space for kids.


The Acqua is located at 555 Redwood Highway. From the San Francisco Airport, take Hwy. 101 North/I-380 West ramp en route for I-280 North toward San Francisco. Continue on I-280 North, and stay to the left as it turns into 19th Ave. Exit. Follow 19th Ave. all the way to and over the Golden Gate Bridge (approximately 7 miles), then continue on the 101 North. Take the Seminary Dr. exit, and turn right at the first light at the bottom of the exit, which is Seminary Drive/ Redwood Highway.

As I disclose whenever applicable, we experienced the Acqua as guests of Broughton Hospitality. While we appreciate this opportunity to review the property for our readers, all opinions are our own, and I was under no obligation to write in a particular view point.