After my flight into San Jose and finishing up on the project site for today, I needed a hotel to stay. I looked up a couple of places and as I am pushing to get my status renewed with Marriott, I was searching the app for nearby hotels. The closest one with a decent price was the Aloft Santa Clara. The Aloft brand is very low on my favorite list of Marriott brands. Not that it is a bad brand, it’s actually a good brand and very hip as well. They usually have some live music in the evenings but I am missing a good breakfast. As it was only for one night and a quick in and out, I didn’t really mind. I just wanted to be close to the project site.
Location & Check-In
The Aloft Santa Clara is located right next to the 237 Freeway in the South-Bay. Therefore easy access to the freeway and also conveniently located if you are visiting some of the nearby companies in the Silicon Valley. For example, Dell is located right across the freeway from the Aloft. Other destinations which are conveniently located nearby are the Santa Clara Convention Center, Great America Amusement Park, and the Levi’s Stadium, home of the San Francisco 49ers. Besides this, the hotel is located out of the way and nothing is in walking distance, like restaurants or bars except some walking/running trails.
After I was done at work, I drove down just one exit on Freeway 237 to get to the Aloft Santa Clara. I pulled into the parking lot and found a spot near the main entrance. On either side of the hotel building, you will find a sign with the Self-Park Notice, which limits Aloft’s liability. The area doesn’t look bad and you wouldn’t expect any issues, but better be safe than sorry. I had my car broken into in Downtown San Francisco before and rising housing prices and poverty in the Bay Area forces people some people to extreme measurements.
As usual, the check-in counter is located in the middle of the room and close to the main entrance. The whole check in process was quick and easy and they upgraded my regular King reservation to a room on the top floor. I didn’t really mind as it was already past 8 p.m. when I checked in, therefore I would only get some work done before leaving again early in the morning.
Two elevators are located to the right behind the check-in counter. Both elevators run individual and only the one for which you push the button will operate.
Guest Room 1 King (Room 519)
My room was located just a very short walk down the hallway on the left side, therefore facing north-west towards the bay, but you won’t get a good view of the bay. Rather you will see the big parking lot and garage across the street and the office buildings nearby.
The room itself has a decent size but not a lot of extra space for setting up your suitcase. The best spot for it is directly opposite the big King bed facing the wall and windows. Above this padded area is a TV screen mounted to the wall. The work desk is on the left side of the room directly below one window. It comes with an office chair. On the other side, you have another desk-like space but below it is the air-conditioning unit and above another window. Either side of the bed has a nightstand and plenty of outlets to charge your devices.
The closet to store belongings is on the other side of the wall from the head of the bed. The closet comes with a few drawers, in-room safe, iron, ironing board, coffee maker and hangers. Opposite of the closet is the vanity with a bowl-style sink. The hair dryer is on the shelf below. Each room also comes with a mini-refrigerator.
A sliding door separates the walk-in shower and toilet from the rest of the room. The shower comes with the new soap dispensers, rather than having this small individual throw-away bottles. Above the toilet is a rack with towels.
Next to the room door are the light switches for most of the room and one is the master switch, which turns off all the lights in the room.
The Aloft Santa Clara has a typical Aloft-style lobby with plenty of seating opportunities with chairs and tables. Everything from cozy to more dining-style like. There is a TV corner on one side of the lobby. Nearby is a pool table and usage of it is complimentary.
At the backside of the hotel is a small stage for live performances, which there were none during my stay. The back patio offers more seating opportunities and faces the freeway towards Levi’s stadium. Unfortunately, they kinda closed it off, by placing chairs in front of it. They kept it close to not have all the bugs coming in from the marshland right below and out the back of the hotel. Unfortunate. After asking the reason why the patio is closed, the concierge told me I could go out there if I want to, but I wanted to avoid to be the only one to go out there and then causing a bug-issue for the rest of the guests.
To get to the fitness center walk down the hallway to the right just past the elevators and it will be on your left side. The fitness center is well-sized and has a ton of workout equipment. It was empty while I checked it out. If you keep walking down the hallway you will exit the building at the south end of the building which will lead you to the fenced outdoor pool. Make sure you bring your room key to enter the pool area and get back into the hotel. The pool has a decent size and has a bunch of pool loungers at the sound end of it. There is also a gender-neutral restroom and a shower at the pool area at the north end of it.
In case you have to use a computer and don’t have your own, the business center is located next to the bar in the lobby just before the hallway to the rooms.
The bar is located in the lobby and is open daily until midnight. Besides drinks, you can order the typical bar-food as well. On a slow day, the kitchen closes about 30 minutes before the bar closes.
The Re:fuel by Aloft is a pantry style “restaurant”. Its the main source for breakfast and is open 24 hours a day. During the breakfast hours and dining hours, there is a window where you can grab additional food. You will order and pay at the front desk and they will prepare it and have it ready for you at the window. The menu is printed on the big boards right above the window and it’s a grab-and-go like food cups. I ordered,”The Original”, which was pretty good and delicious for being just a small cup full of food. Unfortunately, there are no nearby dining spots within walking distance. You have to take your car, cab or have it delivered.
Regular coffee and tea is available for free through the day and can be upgraded to different types of coffee like cappuccino for a small fee.
My stay was without any issues, just as I expected it. I have been to a few Aloft hotels before like the Aloft San Francisco Airport, Portland Airport, and Miami-Brickel. Aloft was also my first ever hotel of the former SPG group which got bought by Marriott and integrated into their portfolio. Overall the Aloft Santa Clara is a great hotel but I am missing a real breakfast in the morning. Alofts are all like this. If you don’t eat in the morning or if one of their pantry items is good enough for you, you will for sure love this place 100%. I also knew about the out of the way location of the hotel. The location is good if you are looking for a quiet place to stay, especially over the weekend. Weekends are calm at the nearby office buildings and traffic is also a little bit better. During the week traffic is bad on the freeways in the Bay Area. Staff was great and open for a good conversation.
Wi-Fi is free and fast in all areas of the hotel. You are in Silicon Valley and I am sure guest expect a great and reliable connection.
Peter has a passion for Traveling, Photography, and Geocaching. These are the best ingredients for amazing adventures all over the globe. “Traveling is fun, no matter if you stay in a luxury hotel or travel like a backpacker.” Peter shares his experiences on his Blog www.gatetoadventures.com
Some of Peter’s photos are published on corporate websites, in-flight magazines, travel guides, and much more.