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Best Overall: See Four Seasons Hotel Silicon Valley Rates at TripAdvisor "Offers the high standard of service and amenities that the brand is known for."
Best Budget: See The Zen Hotel Rates at TripAdvisor "Sometimes offers great deals in the sub-$150 per night range."
Best Boutique: See Garden Court Hotel Rates at TripAdvisor "The property has a Spanish Mediterranean style, and rooms take on a luxurious yet laid back residential vibe."
Best for Luxury: See Nobu Hotel Epiphany Palo Alto Rates at TripAdvisor "The main feature of the hotel is the Nobu restaurant—guests can order room service from it 24 hours a day."
Best for Families: See Homewood Suites by Hilton Palo Alto Rates at TripAdvisor "Located in a prime spot on El Camino Real just a five-minute drive from Stanford University."
Best for Romance: See The Clement Palo Alto Rates at TripAdvisor "The hotel is delightfully intimate, making it a great fit for a couples’ retreat."
Best Business: See The Westin Palo Alto Rates at TripAdvisor "Ideal for anyone visiting the university, whether you’re a researcher or a family with a prospective student."
Best Pool: See Dinah’s Garden Hotel Rates at TripAdvisor "Stands out for its lushly landscaped swimming spot surrounded by Japanese-inspired gardens, sculptures, and koi ponds."
Best Historic: See Crowne Plaza Palo Alto Rates at TripAdvisor "Hosted the Beatles for a stay, and today, the property has plenty of period-inspired touches."
Best Overall: Four Seasons Hotel Silicon Valley
Whether you’re in Palo Alto for business or leisure, the Four Seasons Hotel Silicon Valley is designed to impress. Though it's in an unassuming setting — an office complex just off Highway 101 — the 200-room hotel still offers high standard of service and amenities that the brand is known for. Given its location in Silicon Valley, it has state-of-the-art technology, of course. You’ll find the industry heavy-hitters staying here on weeknights, so rooms have quality Wi-Fi and plenty of outlets to plug in. They’re a little generic in terms of decor, though, as with many business-oriented hotels, but they offer plenty of space.
Then on Friday and Saturday nights, weekend trippers dominate: they’re here for the spa, the rooftop pool, the Quattro restaurant, the cocktails in the lobby bar, and, for some travelers, the proximity to area attractions like Stanford University and the Winchester Mystery House. It’s also just a 25-minute drive to downtown San Francisco, traffic permitting.
Visiting the area soon? Read up on some of the best things to do in Palo Alto.
Best Budget: The Zen Hotel
While “budget” might be a relative term in Silicon Valley, you can find good bang for your buck at the Zen Hotel in Palo Alto, which sometimes offers great deals in the sub-$150 per night range (more typically you’re looking at $300 per night). As the motel’s name implies, the decor takes on an Asian-inspired look with dark wood and bamboo plants. It also offers quality amenities like L’Occitane bath products and complimentary snacks to the tune of Ghirardelli chocolate, KIND bars, and Starbucks coffee. Plus, there’s a free breakfast buffet that includes hot dishes like scrambled eggs, bacon, and pancakes.
Another great feature at this budget-friendly spot is the on-site gym with machines, free weights, and yoga mats. The Zen Hotel also strives to be an eco-friendly property with energy-efficient lighting and reduced water consumption. It’s conveniently located just five minutes down the road from both Stanford University and the Palo Alto Junior Museum and Zoo.
See what the city has to offer with our guide to Palo Alto.
Best Boutique: Garden Court Hotel
If corporate-like chain hotels aren’t your thing, book a stay at the Garden Court Hotel, a chic boutique property that has personality but still offers traditional amenities for frequent business travelers to Silicon Valley (like a 24-hour business center). The property has a Spanish Mediterranean style — picture an ivy-filled, tiled courtyard surrounded by wrought-iron Juliette balconies at the center of the hotel — and rooms take on a luxurious yet laid back residential vibe, featuring a neutral palette with calming blue accents. Upgrade to the higher-level room categories for amenities like fireplaces and jetted tubs.
In terms of on-site features, the hotel has an outpost of the popular Italian restaurant chain Il Fornaio, which serves three meals a day and offers a children’s menu. There's also a small fitness center, 7,000 square feet of meeting space, and in-room spa treatments. There’s no formal spa or a pool, however, which sometimes turns away leisure travelers. But the hotel is conveniently located in downtown Palo Alto and is within walking distance of a number of shops, restaurants, and bars.
Best for Luxury: Nobu Hotel Epiphany Palo Alto
Chef Nobu Matsuhisa might have started out in restaurants, but his international brand has grown to include a collection of luxurious hotels (through a partnership with Robert De Niro), including a property in Palo Alto. The Nobu empire first opened a restaurant at the former Epiphany Hotel, then managed by boutique operator Joie de Vivre in 2017, before taking over the hotel entirely just a few months later. The hotel has since been undergoing renovations inside and out to bring it to Nobu’s elevated standards and aesthetics (elegant and Asian-inspired).
While the hotel is open during renovations, the project is expected to be completed in early 2020. The main feature of the hotel is the Nobu restaurant, of course — guests can order room service from it 24 hours a day. Other amenities will include access to a gym and free bicycle rentals.
Read through our best art museums in Silicon Valley article for more travel ideas.
Best for Families: Homewood Suites by Hilton Palo Alto
When it comes to traveling with families, having plenty of space is key. To find that in Silicon Valley, book a stay at Homewood Suites by Hilton Palo Alto, located in a prime spot on El Camino Real — that's just a five-minute drive from Stanford University. Each and every accommodation at this extended-stay hotel is suite-style: they range from one to two bedrooms in size and come with full kitchens and living rooms with pull-out sofas. It’s also pet-friendly, so even your family dog is welcome to join your trip.
Guests are treated to a free hot breakfast buffet each morning and a free happy hour with light bites from Monday to Thursday. Other features at the Homewood Suites include an outdoor pool and hot tub, a 24-hour convenience store, a fitness center, free parking, a business center and meeting room, free Wi-Fi, and a gym. The hotel also offers laundry services.
Best for Romance: The Clement Palo Alto
Though most North American all-inclusive resorts are located in the Caribbean and Mexico, there’s also an ultra-luxurious, all-inclusive hotel in Palo Alto: the Clement. The price is sky-high, even for Silicon Valley, but it does cover all food and beverages (including alcoholic) at the multiple on-site restaurants, from the Open Kitchen to the formal Dining Room to the Outdoor Dining Terrace. You can also order food and drink delivered directly to your room, your cabana, or fire pit at the rooftop pool. There’s also a gourmet guest pantry that’s open 24 hours a day where you’ll find everything from fresh salads to pints of ice cream. Valet parking is also included in the rate.
With just 23 well-appointed rooms and suites, the hotel is delightfully intimate, making it a great fit for a couples’ retreat. The personal concierge for each guest is also handy for booking romantic dinners at area restaurants — he or she can often score hard-to-get reservations, even at the last minute.
Want to take a look at other options? Check out our guide to the best romantic hotels in San Francisco.
Best Business: The Westin Palo Alto
Westins around the world are go-to hotels for business travelers, and the brand’s Palo Alto location is no exception. Located directly across the street from Stanford, the property is ideal for anyone visiting the university, whether you’re a researcher or a family with a prospective student. While standard guest rooms have a more corporate vibe, suites take on a more residential atmosphere with warm wood decor. Some suites even have working fireplaces and jetted tubs. But no matter which room you choose, you’re treated to Westin’s signature Heavenly Bed, free coffee and tea, and marble bathrooms.
Outside the rooms, the hotel offers a heated outdoor pool, a 24-hour gym, the Restaurant Soleil (which does room service at all hours of the day), and a convenience store. The hotel is also a popular place for meetings, with 2,203 square feet of event space across four rooms, plus a business center.
Best Pool: Dinah’s Garden Hotel
Opened in 1957, Dinah’s Garden Hotel is a family-run property that’s one of the most charming in Palo Alto — it’s particularly notable for its beautiful pool. While many hotels in town have outdoor pools, Dinah’s stands out for its lushly landscaped swimming spot surrounded by Japanese-inspired gardens, sculptures, and koi ponds.
It also impresses with its 129 guest rooms, most recently renovated in 2015 — they range from quaint garden rooms to two-bedroom suites with kitchenettes, all decorated with mahogany furniture and warm-toned fabrics with nature-inspired patterns. The hotel has two popular on-site restaurants, the formal The Sea by Alexander’s Steakhouse and the casual Poolside Restaurant & Bar. There's also a small gym, a business center, free self-parking, free Wi-Fi, and a complimentary business shuttle for destinations within a five-mile radius.
Best Historic: Crowne Plaza Palo Alto
In 1965, well before Silicon Valley’s tech giants were even established, the Crowne Plaza Palo Alto hosted the Beatles for a stay, and today, the property has plenty of period-inspired touches. Originally owned by Doris Day, the Crowne Plaza’s 194 rooms and suites are decorated with 60s-inspired pieces (think funky patterns), and there’s even a Beatles Room — the one where the band actually stayed, decorated with memorabilia. The property may be a little dated, but that almost adds to the charm, given its retro pop culture fame.
Other features at the hotel include a heated outdoor pool with loungers and umbrellas, a 24-hour fitness center with a sauna, the 4290 Bistro and Bar, a dedicated workspace with tables and booths, and a 24-hour market for sundries. Guests can use a complimentary area shuttle that stops not only at Stanford University and Lucile Packard Children's Hospital, but also area shops, restaurants, and other sights.
Take a look at our other reviews of the best hotels near San Francisco.