You might remember Palo Alto as a sleepy college town almost lost in the shadows of its famous neighbor, Stanford University. Well, you might not recognize University Avenue and the surrounding streets these days. The incredible wealth developed in nearby Silicon Valley has led to elegant new restaurants and hotels in this classy old town.
Palo Alto is very different than Southern California. Has more of an East Coast feel to me with its narrow streets and large trees creating what seems like eternal shade. There are almost as many bicycles as cars, something to watch out for as you navigate the streets in search of your destination.
The Clement Hotel is the newest addition for lodging in Palo Alto with a sister property in Monterey. Set on El Camino Real just across the street from the Stanford Campus one might almost mistake the property as a luxury condo building. The contemporary design of the hotel allows for a mix of business and personal travelers. I can easily imagine Venture Capital folks putting together Facebook and Google type deals here.
The 23 large one-bedroom suites give a small family enough room to enjoy their trip, and those in need of more space can find it with two-bedroom offerings. The wood-and-glass architecture throughout the hotel fits in well into Palo Alto. International and business travelers will be right at home and there is even a high tech boardroom called The Jury Room for meetings and private dinners.
Well if you are a foodie you’ve come to the right place. You see The Clement is an all-inclusive hotel. Yes all food and beverage is built into the price of your room. What makes this even more intriguing is that the food is five-star quality.
The Kitchen and Dining Room are the focal points with an atmosphere similar to an event at an elegant home. Guests can also eat at the Rooftop pool area or dine in their rooms.
Breakfast has a wide offering ranging from organic omelets and Greek yogurt parfaits to more decadent fare like waffles and New York-style bagels.
Lunch and dinner share the same menu, and everything we sampled was expertly prepared, including pan-seared salmon and bone-in rib eye.
The California contemporary architecture gives a continuing elegant feel to the dining scene. Make sure you take a meal at both the Dining Room and the Rooftop pool for the complete experience. And remember everything is sort of on the house, including the wine, so order away without guilt.
Stanford Shopping Center is one of the best shopping centers in the world, set amongst the same foliage as the university next door. This is shopping in the Fashion Island league with multiple restaurants and food courts to provide something for everyone. If you can’t find it here, it probably isn’t made. It’s about a half mile walk to the shopping center, perhaps a perfect Uber ride?
Stanford Football Stadium is just a par four walk from The Clement. This is one of the great tailgating venues in the nation. With most home games played at night, fine wine is all over the place as you make your way to the game. Most people are very friendly, and conversations with strangers are easily engaged. Stanford running back Bryce Love has a shot at the Heisman this year, making the games even more intriguing.
Stanford will play host to Washington and Notre Dame here in the month of November. There are always tickets available, especially amongst the tailgating crowd.
Should you desire an effortless trip to the Bay Area, “the city” as locals call it, Amtrak is also within walking distance from The Clement. The ride will take about 45 minutes with stops including San Mateo, SFO, and Burlingame just in case you have other plans. Going south you can get off at all the famous Silicon Valley locations all the way to San Jose.
Amtrak service seems more efficient in this part of the world and is widely used. Parking in S.F. is very expensive and hard to find, so I would seriously consider the train system.