Hotel Valencia Review

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Anyone headed to San Jose for work or please, and prefers a hotel that’s different from traditional chain hotels should consider the Hotel Valencia. This boutique property is a bit hidden since the lobby is located on the third floor of a building on Santana Row. There’s no grand entrance from street level, just some valet drivers and a bank of elevators, so you’ll have no idea what you’re in for.

Once you arrive at the lobby, you’ll quickly realize that the hotel has a Spanish theme. In fact, if you never leave the hotel, you might think you’re in Spain. 

Location

The Hotel Valencia is located on Santana Row, San Jose and Silicon Valley’s premier shopping, dining, and entertainment area. Half of this area is pedestrian-only and features some of the top local restaurants in the city. What’s also great is that the hotel is less than a five-minute walk from Westfield Valley Fair. This giant mall has some of the top brands as Silicon Valley’s only Eataly. In addition, they’ve recently attracted international restaurants such as Ramen Nagi.

Many people staying in San Jose will often be in the area for work or a conference. If you’re here strictly for a conference, staying near the convention center might make sense. However, that limits your food and shopping options. If you have a car or are doing business throughout the area, Santana Row is a better choice. 

What makes the Hotel Valencia great is that it’s one of the few luxury hotels in the city. Many celebrities stay here because it has a bit of exclusivity to it. The hotel is located on the third floor of a retail complex, so the lobby is away from the public. 

If you’re driving, it’s about 15 minutes from San Jose Airport or 45 minutes from San Francisco Airport. This assumes that there’s no traffic, but it’s worth noting that SFO car rental lines can be long. You can also take the Milpitas BART bus #60 from San Jose Airport to Winchester and Olsen. Public transportation will take you about 30 minutes.

Room type

The hotel has 216 rooms in total. I was booked into a Deluxe Balcony Room on the fourth floor. The room is roughly 350 square feet and features two double beds. Since I was travelling with my daughter, it would have been nice if the room had two queens (since it has the room), but I understand why there are two doubles.

The washroom has a full tub, single vanity and toilet. Pump bottle body wash, hand soap, shampoo and conditioner were provided instead of miniature bottles. I personally prefer this, and it’s the way most hotels are going these days. One thing that I don’t love is that the sliding door to the bathroom has no lock. This is a personal choice since my daughter likes to creep up on people who are taking showers.

Within the room, you’ll find a long desk that allows you to work. You’ll also find snacks laid out in a tray and spirits that you can purchase. The mini fridge is fully stocked with drinks you can also purchase, such as pop, wine, and water. Since the mini fridge does not weigh its items, you can remove things as needed and put in your own stuff. Note that the mini fridge does require a key, which is provided to you at check in.

The room’s highlight is easily the balcony facing the inner courtyard. I stayed over a weekend, and on two nights, a live musician was playing Spanish music. When I decided to get takeout, I ate on the balcony with my wife.

While the rooms are well-lit during the day when the sun is out, things appear quite dark in the evenings. Higher-watt light bulbs would probably help. 

Amenities

Hotel Valencia San Jose has quite a few amenities. When checking in, they’ll provide you with water bottles. You can also get a cup of sangria. In the mornings, coffee and tea are served in the lobby for free.

The pool is located on the fifth floor and gives you views of the inner courtyard and Santana Row. When I visited, there were always people in the pool, but it never felt busy. There was a mix of younger people looking to sunbathe and families. Fortunately, everyone was respectful of each other’s space, so it never felt like the different types of guests were stepping over each other. You can also order light snacks, burgers, and sandwiches right from your phone. The pool opens at 6am and closes around 10pm. 

Right beside the pool is the gym. It has a few treadmills, a stationary bike, free weights, a universal, and yoga mats. Working out in the morning is ideal, as you can open up the doors and get a view of the sunrise while on the treadmill. Cold water and towels are available. 

Dining

If you’re looking for a meal at the Hotel Valencia San Jose, there’s only one restaurant: Oveja Negra. Fortunately, this restaurant is excellent. The restaurant serves Spanish tapas during dinner. This fits in perfectly with the overall Spanish theme of the hotel. I tried the beef cheeks, fried potatoes and seafood paella. I was told they change their menu every few months, but the beef cheek is their signature dish.

As for breakfast, they have a few Spanish-inspired dishes, such as a Spanish tortilla and a short rib hash. They also have many traditional breakfast options such as omelettes, American breakfast, Avocado toast and more. On the weekends, brunch is available from 10am to 2pm, which features some brunch favourites such as chicken and waffles, eggs benedict with Dungeness crab, French toast, and more.

Many locals and tourists come to the hotel just for drinks. Vbar on the third floor is dark and has red accents. This space is typically occupied by younger people looking for a place to mix and mingle. The bar also has an outdoor space that overlooks Santa Row. It’s open from 4pm – midnight (1:30am on Friday and Saturday). You’ll also find bar Cielo on the top floor. This rooftop bar is a bit more casual, with many guests and locals enjoying a drink after work. This bar is open from 5:30pm to 9:30pm daily and has plenty of seats.

Hotel Valencia Review

Cost/points

Generally speaking, room rates average US$440 per night. It’s worth looking at their offers page as there are some decent deals such as the breakfast-in-bed package, stay two nights and save, and complimentary third night. 

Although Hotel Valencia isn’t part of a major hotel loyalty rewards program, they have their own program called Valencia Hotel Group (VHG) Rewards. Joining is free, and it gets you the lowest price possible when booking directly. 

Final thoughts

Despite the fact that this is a luxury hotel that has multiple bars that attract people who want to have a good time, the hotel does a great job of balancing a family-friendly atmosphere while being an attractive destination for those who want to be seen. The bars are located away from the rooms, and you won’t find a live DJ in the common areas, such as the courtyard or pool.

While some parts of the hotel could use a slight update or additional lighting, the hotel staff were exceptional. There were always people around to assist, and the front desk staff remembered my name for the entire stay, even though my initial interaction with them was brief. That’s something you only see at high-end hotels.

About Barry Choi

Barry Choi is a Toronto-based personal finance and travel expert who frequently makes media appearances. His blog Money We Have is one of Canada’s most trusted sources when it comes to money and travel. You can find him on Twitter:@barrychoi

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