Between San Francisco and Silicon Valley, these six upscale hotels offer the advantages of luxury combined with service and sophistication. Find whatever combination of amenities appeals most: fine dining and craft cocktails, high-tech touches and high-touch personalization, a heated outdoor swimming pool and a deep soaking bathtub plus a rainfall shower. These are the best luxury hotels in the South Bay.
Feature Photo: Hotel Valencia Santana Row
The Clement Palo Alto
Don’t lift a finger: Newly opened in mid-2020, The Clement bills itself as “all-inclusive.” That means each of the 23 guest rooms comes with breakfast, lunch, and dinner, snacks, 24-hour guest pantry, wine, beer and cocktails, room service, Wi-Fi… and more. Also included: Take in views of the Santa Cruz Mountains from a cabana or a fire pit situated around the rooftop swimming pool and whirlpool. Enjoy access to the exercise gym and a 12-person boardroom. Ten-minute walk from Stanford University campus.
TIP: Forget the cash, really — valet parking and gratuities are also inclusive.
Four Seasons Hotel Silicon Valley
Find well-appointed accommodation in East Palo Alto right off Highway 101, just 2.5 miles from the campus of Stanford University. True to the reputation of the brand, standards are high, conveniences are modern, design is sophisticated, tech touches are personalized in 200 sunny rooms and suites with floor-to-ceiling windows. Craft cocktails and dinner are served at Quattro, the Italian-inspired in-house restaurant and lounge with an adjoining outdoor terrace.
TIP: Bring a swimsuit and enjoy the outdoor pool.
Hotel Valencia Santana Row
The vibe is old world Spain at the only hotel in San Jose’s preferred location, Santana Row. Surrounded by shops and restaurants, this upscale hotel is just a bit bigger than “boutique,” at 215 guest rooms and 17 suites. In addition to the rooftop pool, hot tub, and fitness center, there’s an on-site restaurant, a swanky full service bar, and outdoor service on the covered patio adorned with strings of lights in the evening. Free Wi-Fi.
TIP: Check out the Sunday Fundays promotion and special rates for AAA members.
*Nobu Palo Alto
This new Japanese-inspired hotel, bearing the same name as the iconic restaurant inside, is in the heart of downtown Palo Alto. The emphasis is on serenity and relaxation with a touch of high-tech. The smart TV measures 82 inches, Alexa awaits commands, sheer or blackout curtains operate at the touch of a finger, even the mattresses are branded Nobu. Appealing to the minimalists among us, the ryokan is a hotel-within-a-hotel on two floors of the 73-room property.
*Readers’ Choice Best Luxury Hotel in the South Bay
TIP: A true jump off point — this hotel is equally convenient to shopping and dining, Stanford University, and Silicon Valley.
Rosewood Sand Hill
Set between two golf courses on 16 acres in Menlo Park, this expansive property is as good as it gets in the South Bay and Peninsula. Dining is at Michelin-starred Madera; The Library & Bar is a sophisticated place to gather; Sense is the serene spa with garden and mountain views; Alex Chase is the in-house beauty salon. An outdoor heated pool and whirlpool surrounded by olive trees provides another oasis for guests.
TIP: Get some fresh air — all 121 guest rooms and suites have private balconies or terraces, and some have a fireplace as well.
The Ritz-Carlton Half Moon Bay
It may be just half an hour away from San Francisco and Silicon Valley, but the
feels more like the Scottish highlands than the coast of California. In fact, it looks and feels almost exactly like one of the storied Scottish golf resorts — think Gleaneagles, Turnberry or St. Andrews Old Course. And that’s not by accident: there’s even a bagpiper who strolls the grounds at sunset. The spa is top-notch, with treatments featuring native ingredients such as a redwood scrub. Those who don’t choose to do a spa treatment can still enjoy the excellent facilities, however — a $45 day pass gets you use of the whirlpool baths, sauna, and steam rooms.
HIGHLIGHT: It’s all about the sea here, from the crashing surf directly below the hotel’s bluff-top perch to the salt-and-silver design palate and photos of big-wave surfers on the wall. Even the basic rooms are spacious at 450 feet, while suites start at 1,000 feet and feature extras like a marble bath or personal fire pit complete with Adirondack chairs. Stay in the 5th-floor Club Level and you’ll be treated to breakfast and lunch, fresh-baked cookies, and a lounge well stocked with games.