Cal Memorial Stadium

Courtesy Photo

Cal Memorial Stadium

Football Season Trips

Where to Stay for College Pac 12 Matchups

The college football season is in full swing. Still there is plenty of time to set up a weekend trip to one of the great Pac 12 matchups ahead. A little bit of contrarian thinking is advised here and also a good look at the weather. Let’s migrate from north to south just like those smart birds.

Pacific Northwest

Seattle is the best place to combine a luxury visit with some great football in the Northwest. The Washington Huskies are on the mend with a brand new stadium. This is a place for the “boatgater” as luxury yachts pull right up to the waterfront stadium. I would be most interested in staying downtown, which would also make it easy to take in a Seattle Seahawk football game. They just happen to be one of the best teams in the NFL right now.

The Fairmont Olympic Hotel has long been one of the best hotels in town and it has recently been remodeled. The very lavish interior starts in the lobby area and continues right up to the guest rooms. I would also look into the Seattle Renaissance Hotel and in particular the club level service.

If you had an extra day or so, exploring the Puget Sound is the thing to do. A fast way to see much of the area is to take one of the hydrofoil ferry rides from Seattle to Victoria, British Colombia. This trip takes about 3 hours and the scenery is spectacular. Once you arrive you will be treated to the Old English village of Victoria. Nothing could be more authentic than “Tee Time” at the Fairmont Empress Hotel where the Queen herself greets guests. Well she did look just like her.

Cal and Stanford

The Cal Bears are rebuilding this year but they also have a newly remodeled stadium. This is quite a place for football and the views from the top level take in the entire Bay area. Getting a room in Berkeley on a football weekend may take some doing. The Oakland Marriott City Center is about 15 minutes from Memorial Stadium and often overlooked for such weekends. This hotel caters to the growing business crowd in Oakland and is being continually updated.

Stanford is on a roll these days and may well have a shot at the National Championship. While most football fans crowd into the older hotels in Palo Alto there is a newer more luxurious property that is not that well known. The Rosewood Sandhill is just minutes from the stadium in the Sharon Heights section of the Stanford area. This chic property is the gathering spot for the Venture Capital crowd that funds the high-tech industry. The Rosewood Sandhill is a very luxurious hotel and only a few years old.


The UCLA Bruins are on the rise and are favored to win the Pac 12 South again. Pasadena is home to the Rose Bowl but really has limited hotel options. Downtown L.A. is only 20 minutes away and offers a lot of choices. The Westin Bonaventure has been featured in countless movies and is still one of the best bets. The unique floor structure allows for great view from almost every room especially on higher floors. The Millennium Biltmore is also a top pick in downtown with its original historic lobby area.

L.A. Live offers even newer hotels and scores of restaurant options. My own choice would be to take in the nightlife at L.A. Live but stay closer to the Bunker Hill area, which includes the Bonaventure and Biltmore. This part of downtown is thoroughly connected by elevated walkways making access easy to the various restaurant options. Downtown L.A. is also perfect for USC football games.

Arizona State University and University of Arizona

The Arizona State University Sun Devils are also on the rise and will contend in the Pac 12 South. My first pick for this trip would be to stay at the Montelucia Resort and Spa in Paradise Valley. Before or after the game enjoy a hike up Camelback Mountain, which can be accessed easily from the resort. For games in Tucson I would check out the Westin La Paloma in the foothills of the Catalina Mountains. The resort has 27 holes of Jack Nicklaus golf and not more than a 15-minute drive to the unique Arizona Stadium. Those with a fear of heights will want lower level seats here as the stands rise like one of the great pyramids.

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