Garden Court Hotel Rating: 4.0 Pearls
The Garden Court Hotel is a standout boutique property in Downtown Palo Alto. The hotel's beautiful rooms are the highlight; they have elegant white-and-blue decor, upscale amenities, marble bathrooms, and in many, balconies overlooking the quaint courtyard. Property features include an upscale Italian restaurant, 7,000 square feet of meeting space, and a small fitness center. Though there is no spa, the hotel can arrange in-room massages, and owners can bring pets for a one-time fee (which covers pet-friendly amenities such as beds and treats). Those looking for more features -- such as a spa and a pool -- may consider the nearby, 200-room Four Seasons or the Rosewood Sand Hill in Menlo Park, but guests return to the Garden Court for its elegant rooms and intimate vibe.
W Silicon Valley Rating: 4.0 Pearls
The W Silicon Valley is located in Newark, a quiet and family-friendly area that is fairly isolated from local attractions. This 174-room hotel offers the sleek and stylish rooms that are characteristic of the W brand, along with a secluded outdoor pool and popular bar. All rooms here are suites -- with wet bars, mini-fridges, and lounge areas -- but the living area isn't separate from the bedroom. The (somewhat minimal) action of Silicon Valley is located a 20-minute drive away in Palo Alto, but the W does offer nice perks such as a 24-hour fitness center, outdoor fire pit, and a pet-friendly attitude.
Domain Hotel, a Joie de Vivre Hotel Rating: 3.5 Pearls
The Domain Hotel is a 136-room converted motel in Sunnyvale that has been significantly spruced up -- colorful rooms have funky decor and high-tech gadgets, the pool is nice and secluded, and freebies include Wi-Fi and parking. The hotel is convenient for business travelers and offers perks like iPod docks, flat-screen TVs, and an outdoor heated pool. The stylish cafe and bar called Bytes is a nice touch and offers free breakfast.
Avatar Hotel, a Joie de Vivre Hotel Rating: 3.5 Pearls
The Avatar Hotel is a 1960s-style motel that has undergone a fun redesign: think funky furniture, shag carpets, and glass cases of toy robots. Perks here include an outdoor heated pool, bright fitness center, and the up-to-date technology expected in a Silicon Valley Hotel. Great freebies include free evening wine hours, parking, local shuttle service, and free Wi-Fi. Rooms feature flat-screen TVs, iPod docks, laptop tables and spacious work desks. While the Avatar Hotel attracts mostly business travelers for its central Santa Clara location, the close proximity to the Great America Theme Park is nice for families too.
Hotel Avante Rating: 3.0 Pearls
This 91-room hotel is particularly business-friendly, offering free Wi-Fi, conference rooms, and even executive toy boxes including items such as a Rubix cube. Quirky rooms are colorful and stylish, and feature furniture on wheels so guests can create an ideal workspace. Aside from movable furniture, room decor is masculine, with pops of color and bold striped rugs, along with large flat-screen TVs. This hotel offers many conveniences including free breakfast, a free weekday shuttle, and a small fitness center, but the one standout feature here is a nice outdoor pool complete with Jacuzzi and lounge chairs.
Coxhead House Rating: 3.0 Pearls
This historic bed and breakfast features just four cozy rooms, outfitted with features such as walls full of books, fireplaces, hardwood floors, and chandeliers. There is free Wi-Fi in the inn -- and wood-paneled rooms and a small library evoke the pleasures of times past -- free parking and a free but limited breakfast. All rooms but one have fireplaces, and one of them has a whirlpool tub. But TVs are old tube ones, and there’s a pricey room tax.