I travel a lot. I live out of hotels for anywhere between 150 - 350 days a year, mostly for work. I would like to say that all hotels are equal, but that is definitely not the case. Some of them are nice; some of them are not so nice. I am a bit spoiled; I admit it. It's amazing how you tend to start choosing hotels based on the bed, the breakfast buffet, the soap, the front desk staff...the list goes on. Here is my usual criteria.
1) Location: Is it good? Can you walk around easily? Is there a good place for dinner nearby? 2) Staff: First impressions are everything. When I walk up to the check-in desk, I judge the staff right away based on how the front desk person acts. 3) Room: Is the bed comfortable? Is the room bright enough? Are the sheets soft (this is the one that really makes me keep coming back.)? Is there enough room for two people or do you feel like two sardines in the room? How's the view? 4) Amenities: This includes pool, gym, free breakfast, happy hour, welcome gift etc. 5) The Hotel: Is there a hang out area in the main lobby? How are the bars and restaurants?
Mr. Lovely and I took a trip to San Jose last weekend to stay at the Hotel Valencia Santana Row. The Hotel, as the name states, is located on Santana Row, which is home to more than 100 restaurants (like LB Steak and Maggiano's Little Italy) and stores (such as Anthropologie and Lululemon Athletica). I had never been to Santana Row before; in fact I have only been to San Jose a couple of times and Mr. Lovely has never been, so it was a fun way for both of us to explore a new area.
We arrived in the afternoon and checked in. The front desk staff was very nice. Our room was very large and had a really nice balcony with a view of Santana Row. You know me, the first thing I went and checked out was the pool and the gym! I knew I was going to have an indulgent night and wanted to get my run in early. The gym was fantastic. It had french doors that you could open up to a balcony, so you could see the view while you were running. It also had 4 treadmills and a few elliptical, as well as weights, exercise balls and other assorted items. There were towels and cold water and oranges for after.
|Our room (source)|
After I finished my run, we started off our stay by relaxing and having a couple of glasses of wine, which was our welcome gift from the hotel. After that, we wandered around the Row, which was quite busy. It seems to be the place to be, to see and to been seen on a Friday night!
For dinner, we walked to the nearby White Shallot, which is a French Vietnamese restaurant. Everything was delicious, but the best thing was the dessert! We had a the Cafe Gormand, which was a trio of desserts, featuring chocolate cake, an almond tart, and a vanilla bean panna cotta. I am a sucker for a good panna cotta, and this one was no disappointment! We also had the tofu custard with coconut creme, which I loved but Mr. Lovely was so-so about. I think if he wouldn't have known about the tofu, he may have liked it more.
We went back to the hotel and went to sleep on the (very comfortable with the softest sheets EVER) king sized bed (heaven). The next morning we had a complimentary continental breakfast at Citrus, one of the the hotel's restaurants. Sometimes when you get a continental breakfast, it is just some bread and jam and coffee, but this was a great spread. There were pancakes, oatmeal, omelets, tons of pastries and fresh fruit and a cured meat plate with tons of meats and cheeses! I have to admit, I only tried the fruit and an omelet, but thanks to Mr. Lovely, we tried one of everything and the verdict was that everything was great!
After breakfast, we wandered around the shared spaces of the hotel. The main level had a great outdoor sitting area with fountains. The pool and hot tub were up on the 5th floor and had a great view. After finishing our self tour, we settled down in our room to watch the Euro cup before heading home. This rounded out our stay nicely (except that Portugal lost). My only regret was that we didn't have more time. We could have easily stayed longer!
|The outdoor courtyard (source)|
Do you ever take a day to get away from home, even if the getaway is close to home? What criteria do you look for in a hotel?
*Disclaimer: I received this room for free in return for a fair and honest review. All opinions expressed are my own.