As we hit the switch, the lights flooded the plush room and my sister and I let out a little gasp of glee.
It was as if we had just stepped into Spain. Everything, from the furnishings to the view of the rolling hills in the distance, made me want to relax in luxury.
The wide slated double doors leading out to the balcony were reminiscent of my little pink Italian apartment the summer I spent in Florence, Italy, just on a slightly grander scale.
This was the start of our weekend getaway with Hotel Valencia Santana Row.
To give you an idea of the area, Santana Row is the place to go shopping in San Jose. Even though I grew up in Santa Cruz, a mere 45 minute drive away, I’ve never fully explored San Jose. San Francisco always seemed to call me back time and time again.
Being able to finally explore an area so close to home was a great experience, and I’m glad I was able to make this weekend happen for exactly that reason.
I’m looking forward to also sharing a post with you guys about what to do around San Jose. My sister and I had a fun time exploring the city last Sunday at the end of our stay.
But, let’s get back to this ridiculously good looking hotel.
Waiting for us as we walked into the room were the classic chocolates on the pillow. And just as important, tortilla chips and fresh pico de gallo, our favorite snack of all time in our Mexican-food-loving-family.
To my excitement, there were also beers on ice next to the chips and salsa, a nod to my mention of a certain fondness for craft beer.
As we made our way to the other end of the dresser, our excitement only increased. We noticed a cheese plate and a bottle of white wine, and pretty much everything else we would need to have an epic girl’s weekend away.
The weekend only kept getting better from there.
I was astounded at how over and beyond Hotel Valencia went in their customer service. We had a knock on our door during our downtime, and it was a woman who worked at the hotel making sure we had everything we needed.
She had a bag of ice and more chocolates on hand, which I graciously accepted.
I just have to comment on the chocolates, orange flavored milk chocolate that melts in your mouth. My sister and I were contemplating calling her back for a whole box.
The aspect I liked most about our room was that it had that traditional Old World Mediterranean feel, but the overall design and cleanliness of the room was very modern.
This could best be seen in the bathroom that was spotless and modern. It was a good balance of Old World touches with West Coast modernity.
The rest of the hotel was similar in the modern Spanish touches, especially with the outside courtyard where the complimentary hotel breakfast is served and the Citrus restaurant is housed.
This same courtyard also turns into The Terrace after 4pm, complete with white fairy lights in the bushes and a red-lit fountain.
The free breakfast was without a doubt the best I’ve tried in the realm of complimentary breakfasts.
The breakfast was tasty and layered. The amount of choices offered in terms of food and beverages was astounding, and it actually tasted good!
Most of the complimentary breakfasts I’ve had are more a way to fill my belly and save money on the first meal of the day, but I don’t usually expect much in taste.
One of the best parts of the weekend was the Wine Weekend Getaway package that was included with our stay at Hotel Valencia. Talk about the way to a girl’s heart. Hint, it involves beautiful scenery and really, really good wine.
On our arrival, we were given a picnic basket provided to us by the hotel. As we went through its contents we discovered a whole picnic had been packed for us.
It was complete with sandwiches, mini condiments (mini Grey Poupon is the cutest!), chocolate chip cookies, bottled water, a wine opener, potato chips, and most importantly, free tasting and discount coupons for a bunch of different wineries around the South Bay and the Santa Cruz Mountains.
We chose to drive ourselves so we could go at our own pace and create our own schedule. Besides the pretty horrid traffic on Hwy 17 on our way to the first winery, it was an incredible day.
We went to three wineries in total : Regale, Loma Prieta, and Picchetti.
It was the least busy of the wineries we visited and it was such a tranquil and colorful spot with friendly staff. Regale continued the Old World theme of the weekend with its attractive architecture and gardens.
We were surprised to find out that the winery has only been open for five years. It seemed so well established, the staff at ease, and had a good variety of delicious wine on offer.
This area is known for its pinot noirs and a few chardonnays thrown in here and there. I’m not a big red wine fan, but Regale had a tasty couple of pinot noirs and a cab sauv that I enjoyed.
Our next stop was Loma Prieta Winery just down the road.
This was probably our least favorite of the day, but more due to the fact that it was really busy while we were there.
However, the Loma Prieta Winery took the award for the best view without a doubt, and the unique touches around the winery more than made up for the hustle and bustle.
There was a bocce ball court and a life-size chess game to play. Guests were also welcome to roam around the vineyards, which was a nice and personal aspect of exploring the winery.
The last stop of the day was Picchetti Winery in rural Cupertino. This was the biggest winery we went to because it’s also a ranch, dating back to over 100 years ago.
There are even hiking trails around the winery. The tasting room was lit up with lights and looked like a rustic old barn inside.
The staff here were also friendly and helpful with the 10 different wines we tried. We went through the spectrum of wine style choices, and eventually decided on buying a bottle of the 2013 White Pavone to celebrate such a great day.
It was a full day of wine tasting and a gorgeous experience of driving on the backroads in the Santa Cruz Mountains.
Later that night, we had the chance to enjoy the new outdoor Terrace at the hotel. Although we had already eaten in the outside area for breakfast, it turns into something magical when the sun goes down.
It must be something about the fairy lights, I have a weakness for them.
Me, my sister, and our friend, Drake, dined there for a few appetizers and drinks to start off the night on Saturday.
I tried something outside of my usual craft beer tastes and went for a couple of different sparkling wines. I thought it would be fitting for the chic and classy vibe of the weekend.
We tried three separate dishes for the few hours we were there: the Maine lobster roll, the chef’s choice of local artisanal cheese, and the Kobe beef sliders.
All of the dishes were quickly devoured, but my personal favorite was the surprisingly juicy and flavorful Kobe beef sliders.
Later that night we went out to a tequila bar on Santana Row called El Jardin. Sipping on a mojito under the hot summer night at the outdoor bar was the perfect way to end, well, a pretty perfect day.
On my last day before check out, I found my way up to the rooftop to see an even better view than our room, looking out over Santana Row.
It had just rained so there was no one up there, but it was actually nice to enjoy the view on my own for awhile. I took a moment to appreciate how I ended up on that rooftop with the rolling hills and the endless possibilities before me.
Thank you Hotel Valencia Santana Row for hosting me this past weekend, I had an unbelievably good time. All opinions, as always, are my own.
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