Santana Row's Hotel Valencia
The Shopping Parents Getaway
By Kathy Leong
One day can make all the difference in the world. In this case, a one-night's stay at San Jose's Hotel Valencia proved to be a blissful staycation with an opportunity to see Santana Row shopping center with new eyes. I am usually rushing here to meet friends for lunch and dashing off to another appointment afterwards. This time, I wanted time to really check things out and see the sights. The hotel, only 20 minutes from my home, is a beautiful and classy getaway, perfect for the harried parent and anyone who loves shopping and dining for that matter. I often bring out-of-town guests here to dine outside whenever possible.
My husband Frank and I chose to spend a summer date night here, and we hope to do it again. We were positively rejuvenated after 24 hours and had so much fun visiting the shops and cafes we felt like teenagers out past curfew. Once we explored the hotel, we felt like we ventured into an inner sanctum. Everything is so quiet that you would never guess there were over 200 rooms on the property. The hotel lobby is on the third floor, and after leaving the hubbub of the street scene, we noticed the peaceful, zen vibe after the elevator doors dinged open. A budda fountain with sweet trickling water greeted us, and the attending staff efficiently and softly checked us in and gave the lowdown: free wi-fi, free workout room, free extended continental breakfast, rooftop pool, hotel bar, hotel restaurant.
Our junior suite boasted a deluxe living room with elegant decor with leather chairs and plantation shutters. Of course we flirted with that flat screen TV and wi-fi. The deeply comfortable bed replete with Egyptian linens and soaking tub made us giddy. Above the fray of the shopping activity, we sipped our wine and looked out over the balcony. Simply people watching and listening to the band below us made us appreciative of the free, but luxurious pleasures we often overlook in life.
The hotel features an innovative dining establishment called Citrus. Filled with warm furnishings and intimate spaces, it is an ideal place for an anniversary celebration or birthday. Our dinner here was just as elegant with every bite. Savory, fresh, and nicely portioned.
On the menu is everything from kobe beef to pan fried scallops. These were seared to perfection, and also tops during dinner was the hamachi appetizers served with edamame and soy sauce and plums. The watermelon salad? Also a thumbs up. Local foods such as the brussel sprouts were also cooked to a tender bite. Everything we tried on the menu this evening was so good we practically licked our plates clean. It is not your typical hotel restaurant, for this is one that stands on its own legs, as the dinner we experienced was outstanding. Great service, fantastic food, clever menu options.
What else is there to do here? A rooftop pool and hot tub under the stars is a romantic scene. All aglow at night, the pool with its surrounding lounge chairs is a delightful amenity. Very quiet and peaceful, the place was a secret treasure.
One of the best things about staying here is the included gourmet buffet continental breakfast that features aromatic coffee, tea, and juices, delicate pastries, hot breakfast meats, eggs, and potatoes. We were thrilled to be treated to a homemade breakfast with all the trimmings.
No trip to European-themed Santana Row can be complete without shopping, and I ran downstairs for some retail therapy while Frank napped and stayed in to catch up on reading. We could have easily stayed two nights simply enjoying the other aspects of the hotel and shopping area that includes a movie cineplex, spa and body treatment establishments, nail and pedicure salons, and over a dozen tony cafes, snack shops, and ethnic restaurants.
Shopping before the holidays can get frenetic. Let's face it: nothing is wrong with giving yourself a present, so go "Ho, ho, ho" and book Hotel Valencia for a pre-Christmas getaway.
355 Santana Row
Specials: Romantic Weekend Escape starts at $259 per night with $50 Citrus certificate and complimentary dessert. Late check out included.
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