BERKELEY -- The Claremont Hotel Club & Spa in the Oakland-Berkeley hills is being eyed for purchase by the hotel group that owns the iconic Fairmont hotels in San Francisco, San Jose and Banff and the landmark Plaza Hotel in Manhattan, hotel industry sources said Wednesday.

Executives with the Claremont Hotel and its Boston-based manager, Pyramid Hotel Group, didn't return phone calls. Canada-based FRHI Hotels & Resorts, owner of the Fairmont hotels, provided only a brief comment about a pending purchase of the Claremont.

"FRHI Hotels & Resorts does not comment on rumor or speculation," said Mike Taylor, a spokesman. "Our company is continually evaluating opportunities for growth with all three of our leading luxury hotel brands through potential management contracts and attractive acquisition opportunities."

However, sources with companies that consult with the hotel industry said the Fairmont group has been considering a purchase of the Claremont for several months and has received detailed information about the property, which physically straddles the Oakland-Berkeley border but uses a Berkeley address.

"The Fairmont people have been looking at the Claremont for a long time, maybe six months," said Thomas Callahan, an executive with PKF Consulting, which tracks the lodging industry. "The Claremont is a classic property and is an icon. And Fairmont loves icons."

The Claremont once served as a residential hotel, convention complex and concert hall for legendary performers such as Count Basie and Louis Armstrong. The 279-room hotel opened in 1915 and commands views of San Francisco and the bay.

"Fairmont would be a great fit for the Claremont," said Alan Reay, president of Irvine-based Atlas Hospitality Group, which tracks the hotel market in California. "The interest in this hotel is a good sign that the market is bouncing back." Foreclosures and shutdowns plagued some hotels during the recession.

The Claremont hotel, which was purchased by the Paulson hedge fund and Winthrop realty trust in a bankruptcy proceeding in 2011, would probably not sell for more than $120 million under current market conditions, Reay estimated.

"The Oakland-Berkeley hills are an amazing area and a new owner should get a good room rate out there," said Ash Patel, a senior analyst with the hotel group of CB Richard Ellis in San Francisco.

Contact George Avalos at 408-859-5167. Follow him at Twitter.com/georgeavalos.