Go: Santana Row Staycation
Santana Row opened in late 2002. The goal was to create a European experience inspired by the 3rd, 5th, 6th arrondissements of Paris: shops, restaurants, apartments, parks all close together in a beautiful conglomerate. When I first heard about the project in the early 2000's, I was doubtful they could pull it off, but they did! To this day, Santana Row is a unique place that is full of life and variety.
The only problem is the parking: it can be a pain in the neck to get in and out of there, especially on the weekends. This is why I decided to try a Santana Row Staycation. I moved into Santana Row for 48 hours and it came alive to me in new ways. I invited some girlfriends to join me, we had the best time, and I would do it again in a heartbeat.
Here is my Staycation itinerary.
3 PM FRIDAY: Checked into Hotel Valencia, the only hotel on The Row. It's a very nice, 4-star hotel. The room was great, the king size bed was very comfortable. The best deal you can get on a standard room is $199; sometimes the rate goes down to $189. Breakfast is included, as well as water bottles from the front desk, illy espresso in your room, and turn down service. There is a nice pool and hot tub.
After settling into the room, we got our bearings by popping into shops and taking in the scene. It was my first visit to Kendra Scott, I was so impressed that I wrote an article all about the jewelry shop and their birthday discount.
DINNER FRIDAY: We were invited to attend the Ozumo grand opening. The original Ozumo has been a hot spot on San Francisco's Embarcadero for 17 years. It was a fun event and I'm eager to return. The food was delicious, the sake was chilled and floral (just how I like it), and the ambience was clean and fresh. Show this article and Ozumo will welcome you with a free round of sake on your first visit. If there are any questions, Manager Lexi is my contact.
FRIDAY NIGHT: After the Ozumo fête, we walked around some more, people watching and window shopping. Then we ducked into Burke-Williams for some late night spa time: hot tub, steam room, cool misting room. They are open until 10 pm, but don't kick you out until 10:30. It's conveniently located right next to the hotel. We had 3-day passes that allowed us to come and go as we pleased and included a coupon for 20% off a spa service.
SATURDAY MORNING: Hotel Valencia advertises a free continental breakfast, but it's much more than that—it's a full hot breakfast buffet and it was great. After breakfast, we relaxed and read at the roof-top pool; it's a very pretty setting.
SATURDAY LUNCH: We had a late outdoor lunch at EMC Seafood & Raw Bar. We slowly ate, sipped, and relaxed into the slower pace of a weekend away. My favorite dishes were their Truffle Salmon Carpaccio and their selection of sushi rolls. They're known for their uni pasta and Bloody Mary. I recommend going to EMC during happy hour for a late lunch or an early dinner: they have great Happy Hour deals 3-6 pm everyday, available throughout the restaurant. EMC doesn't take reservations, but General Manager Andrew Byers has offered to make a reservation for you if you mention Simply Silicon Valley.
Location, location, location: EMC is in my favorite part of Santana Row, on the southern-most block looking at the gorgeous fountain and Vintage Wine Bar—and it's on the sunny side of the street. They close off that block of road on the weekends, which made us feel like we were dining in an Italian piazza. By the way, did you know the façade of the wine bar is from Montpellier, France, built in the 19th century? Recent for Europe, ancient for America; we'll take it, merci beaucoup!
SATURDAY AFTERNOON: After lunch, we made our way to Burke-Williams for spa time and massages. I asked the employees what their favorite treatment is and they all answered, in unison, with a moan: "Savannah's Surrender." This is a wet room service (aka Vichy shower, click here to know more) and involves mud. I plan to experience it one day.
SATURDAY EARLY EVENING: After the spa, we got dressed and ready for our night on The Row. First stop: cocktail hour at Cielo, the rooftop bar at Hotel Valencia. The view and setting were fantastic. On the stroll to dinner, we took some time for a walking photo shoot at my favorite piazza mentioned above. 'Cause we're on a girls getaway, and this is what girls like to do.
SATURDAY DINNER: We dined at Mendocino Farms where everything was perfect. The cream of tomato soup was divine, the salads and sandwiches scrumptious, and they serve wine and beer on tap. We were there at closing and they gave us to-go containers with the remainders of their yummy side salads. My friends were raving about the food: it was healthy, filling, and tasted great. Highly recommend.
SATURDAY NIGHT: I also polled the spa employees on the best place to dance, and they agreed on this one as well: Rosie McCann's was the unanimous vote. I would never have guessed this Irish pub turns into a small dance club at night. The DJ starts at 9:30 pm—nice and early start time for 30- and 40-somethings. The cover charge is $10. They offer bottle service with mini firecrackers, Vegas-style. We had a blast getting our groove on with the eclectic crowd (that included 3 bachelorette parties) and burned some serious calories.
SUNDAY MORNING: The exercise fad du moment is SoulCycle. They opened one month ago at Santana Row and we joined for the 9:30 am class. What an experience! The best way I can describe it is taking a hip-hop dance class, on a bike, in a nightclub, with a motivational speaker. It was great! You have to try it. It's expensive, but right now they're offering a first-timers package: buy one, get one free. This makes one class $16. They also have a downtown Los Gatos location.
A sweaty work-out was the perfect way to bring my staycation to a close. I returned to the hotel to shower and pack up. Hotel Valencia was flexible and gave me an extra half hour for late check-out. I left Santana Row at 12:30 pm and was back home 20 minutes later.
In summary, I had the best weekend. I didn't touch my car the entire time. I walked everywhere. I got to experience Santana Row in a new light: it felt like I was running around Paris with my girlfriends. Next time you need a weekend away, consider this itinerary. Bon Voyage! Or, better stated, Bon Staycation!
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