In the past, most visitors to the Bay Area have driven right by downtown San Jose without much thought as they make their way to San Francisco. This is changing, and fast. San Jose has experienced an unprecedented renaissance aided by the dynamic economy of nearby Silicon Valley. If you like football, this is now the hub of activity with the San Francisco 49ers right next door. Great college football is also very close. We stayed at the Fairmont San Jose recently to get a firsthand look.
After much debate, the San Francisco 49ers finally have moved to their new home, Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara. A lot is going on there this fall and not just professional football. The Cal Bears will be playing Oregon on October 24, a rare Friday night NCAA game that will draw a lot of attention as the Ducks look to get into the playoff scene. Then on December 5, another Friday night, the Pac 12 Championship Game happens. Stanford has won the last two, and this year’s game may well provide the winner with a trip to the NCAA Football Final Four. To top off the college season on December 30, the San Francisco Bowl will be played at Levi’s Stadium. This game has lagged in attention recently, but this new venue is sure to bring more interest.
Of course the real reason for the new stadium is the NFL. The 49’ers will have eight regular season games there, including a Thursday night matchup against Super Bowl champs Seattle Seahawks on November 27. Given their recent performance, you would have to expect several home playoff games as well in January. This new venue is very “fan friendly,” with plush seating and the best in concession services. The corporate suites are sure to please but in my opinion take you away from the true game feel. The Fairmont San Jose is nine miles from Levi’s Stadium, and light rail service is available.
If that’s not enough football, you also have Stanford and San Jose State playing nearby. The Stanford Cardinals have won the Pac 12 two years in a row and play on The Farm just 20 minutes from downtown San Jose. You can actually take a train from downtown to Palo Alto and walk no more than 10 minutes to the game. Stanford’s Football Stadium is practically brand new and only seats 50,000, ensuring all ticket holders with a good view. Take a little extra time before or after the game to enjoy the Stanford campus, perhaps the best in the nation. San Jose State plays at Spartan Stadium in downtown San Jose and has several key matchups at home including Nevada, UNLV, and Colorado State.
The Fairmont San Jose is ideally located to enjoy this bright new urban setting. The city’s best restaurants and shopping are right around the corner. On a short stay, you may never want to leave your room, though, as this property is first class all the way. The Fairmont has always been way ahead of the crowd in comfortable bedding. The mattresses are so good that I ordered one of them myself upon returning from a Fairmont visit.
The luxury continues into the bathroom, and each room has state-of-the-art electronics. The rooms are very large, with standard rooms starting at 452 square feet. Higher floor rooms have views of the Santa Cruz mountains or the San Jose skyline. The Tova Day Spa provides relief from the stress of modern-day life, and the hotel boasts a well- appointed fitness center as well.
There is something for everyone on the dining front and all right on property. The Fountain Restaurant is open for breakfast and lunch adjacent to the lobby and provides an elegant setting. A bit more opulent is the Lobby Lounge where you can linger a with your favorite beverage and keep track of sporting events on the 10-foot screen or one of the other four plasma TVs. The Grill in the Alley is the choice for steak while McCormick and Schmick’s provide an array of fresh seafood choices. Takai Sushi and Sake completes this fantastic array of fine dining choices.
The other great thing about the Fairmont San Jose is that it’s an hour closer to Santa Barbara by car. For complete details visit Fairmont.com/San-Jose.