Alta Mira Hotel and Restaurant (Closed)
125 Bulkley Ave, Sausalito, CA 94965 Phone 415-332-1350
Note: The Alta Mira Hotel and Restaurant are now closed to the public. The facility has been converted to a rehab center. We retain the historical information below because the Hotel played such a big part in the history of Sausalito. Scroll down for a shot of the hotel entrance from a 1973 TV series contrasted with a similar shot from today.
Once the Grande Dame of Sausalito hotels, the Alta Mira has now been converted into a luxury rehab facility that is closed to the public. As many as 48 patients pay close to $50,000 per month for treatment at the facility, which was opened without Sausalito City approval under a technicality since the complex has multiple street addresses and the owners treat it as a cluster of separate residences.
For those who grew up in the area in the 1950’s through the 70’s, the Alta Mira was a place where you had to wear a tie or a skirt if you wanted to eat in their restaurant. Women would arrive for lunch wearing white gloves and hats. It was home to wedding receptions, bar and bat mitzvahs and elegant parties. People were drawn here by its elegant architecture, sweeping views of the Bay and San Francisco, and (expensive) gourmet cuisine.
The Alta Mira was originally built in the 1880’s as a luxury home, complete with tennis courts. It was later converted to a hotel, but was completely destroyed by a fire in 1926. The hotel was rebuilt, and in 1954 was bought by William Wachter. It was sold in December 2003 and renovated, serving for several years as a 23-room inn before its 2007 conversion to a rehab center.
For generations this is where families took Mom for a special Mother’s Day brunch to make her feel special, and a place a man would take a woman to dinner to show he was a sophisticated and successful guy.
Staying here had the same imprimatur as staying in the Four Seasons or the Ritz Carlton in San Francisco has today, even in a small town across the Bay.
You can still drive by the facility, but it is not open to the public. (See map below).
The images below show the Alta Mira as it appeared in an episode of The Streets of San Francisco TV series with Michael Douglas and Karl Malden in 1973, and a modern shot at a similar angle from a nearby location outside the gates. The building behind the uniformed police officer’s head is at the upper left of the modern photo, an angle I had to take due to the gated entry and the plantings obscuring the property from the street The small tree to the right of that building in 1973 now towers over the facility, and the large tree behind the building is gone. Click here for more movies and TV shows filmed in Sausalito.