Posts Tagged ‘san jose’

Hilton Hotel San Jose Review, Excellent Downtown Location

Friday April 19, 2013 at 5:05 AM | 1 Comment

Hilton Hotel San Jose

A review of the Hilton Hotel San Jose in California

Having lived in the San Francisco Bay Area the majority of my life, I feel that I know the area fairly well. However, I recently had the opportunity to explore San Jose, California for several days and was pleasantly impressed at what this Silicon Valley city had to offer. My home base for city exploration was the Hilton Hotel San Jose.

Hilton Hotel downtown location

Within walking distance to the Center for the Performing Arts, The Tech Center, The California Theater, restaurants and sporting venues, the Hilton Hotel offers and excellent and convenient downtown San Jose location.

Pet-friendly Hilton Hotel

For those who like to travel on vacation with their dogs, The Hilton Hotel San Jose is pet-friendly, offering a $50, one-time, non-refundable pet fee. Large dog owners rejoice; while there is a 75 weight limit on pets, the front desk staff said this is not an issue.

"Hilton Hotel Standard Double Room"

The Hilton Hotel Standard Double room in San Jose, California

Clean rooms at Hilton Hotel

What can business and leisure travelers expect in a room at the Hilton Hotel San Jose? My room, #814, was a standard double with two Hilton-branded Serenity Beds, down pillows and 250 thread-count sheets. In addition, it offered an in-room refrigerator and coffee-maker. It rented for $229, plus tax, during a week day. Check the website for further details.

My standard hotel room offered a view of the freeway, and I did hear planes fly overhead,(the San Jose International Airports is nearby) but the rooms are well insulated and the hills of San Jose, California may be seen in the distance. I liked the fact that the large window in my room could actually be opened, yet it was child-safe.

Bathroom cleansing amenities were from PeterThomasRoth clinical skin care and a hair dryer was supplied. While water is a precious resource in California, I confess that I am not a fan of the reduced water flow shower heads in some hotels. I’m pleased to report that the water pressure on the combination shower bathtub in my hotel room was excellent.

Palm trees lined the street below and there are parks nearby (one offering the largest Monopoly board in the world) but keep in mind that we are in Silicon Valley – this part of San Jose, California is not about open space.

Hilton Hotel San Jose lobby

Hilton Hotel San Jose lobby

Extras at Hilton Hotel

For those who like to stay in shape while they travel, the Hilton Hotel San Jose offers a gym, jacuzzi and small outdoor, heated swimming pool on the third floor.

There is a full restaurant and bar on the lobby level, in addition to a business center that is open 24 hours. If you don’t want to pay $9.95 each day for internet access, there is complimentary WiFi in the lobby and on the second floor.

Parking will cost you at the Hilton Hotel – $21 daily with unlimited in and out privileges.


Hilton Hotel San Jose view

View of San Jose, California from the Hilton Hotel

Hilton Honors

Hilton Honors has its privileges and is certainly worth signing up. In addition to a complimentary bottle of water upon check in, Gold and Diamond level Hilton Honors members receive complimentary hotel room upgrades when available. Members have access to the Executive Lounge on the 18th floor (with key code) for complimentary hot breakfast, honor bar and evening hors d’oeuvres and desserts.

Check in: 3:00 p.m.

Check out: 12:00 p.m.

If You Go:

Hilton Hotel San Jose (408) 287-2100

300 Almaden Blvd.

San Jose, CA 95110

Article written by and photos courtesy of  Travel Writer Nancy D. Brown of What a Trip, Travels from Northern California. I was a guest of Hilton Hotel San Jose.

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Things to See and Do in San Jose, California

Friday April 12, 2013 at 5:05 AM | 1 Comment

"Tech Innovation"

The Tech Museum of Innovation is fun for kids and adults

Are you visiting San Jose, California for the first time? Below is a list of “Insider Tips” for things to see and do in the heart of the Silicon Valley.

When I want to escape the crowds, my favorite place to visit is South First Area (SoFA) District. SoFA serves as downtown San Jose’s visual arts and entertainment district.  Cool, organic and creative, SoFA is a place where you can interact with some of the most eclectic and artistic people in the city.


Romance in San Jose
If this is a romantic trip, I recommend Alum Rock Park for kissing with a view. The narrow floor of the valley includes a visitor center, a small museum/animal rehab facility, picnic areas, playgrounds, lawns, sand volleyball pits, mineral springs, lush plant life, woodlands, places for kids to play in the creek, and occasional group camping.


If you are traveling with your pet, the best place to walk the dog is the Roy M. Butcher Dog Park with artificial grass and lots of shade. The park has both large dog and small dog sections. Small dogs, as defined by the sign at the gate, are 40lbs or under. There is also plenty of seating and toys available.


"San Pedro Square Market"

San Pedro Square Market for food, wine and friends

Gourmet to budget food in San Jose:

If you are looking for typical San Jose cuisine, I recommend the San Pedro Square Market with something for every taste bud & budget. From burgers to Bolognese and Sake to Sauvignon Blanc, Santana Row has great al fresco eateries.


The best place to go for coffee & a breakfast treat is Bijan Bakery & Café or Peggie Sue’s for breakfast and Philz Coffee.

For an expensive, yet quality meal, go to Arcadia.  Arcadia is an American steakhouse and Michael Mina restaurant. While the fish is fresh, this place is known for their steaks and awesome side dishes like the truffle mac and cheese.


Institute of Contemporary Art is free to the public

Photos and exercise places in San Jose

The best vantage points are taken by walking to the top of Mount Hamilton, in California’s Diablo Range. Mount Hamilton, at 4,196 feet (1,279 m) is the tallest mountain overlooking Silicon Valley, and is the site of Lick Observatory, the first permanently occupied mountain-top observatory.


In San Jose outdoor enthusiasts will want to go to Lake Cunningham.  The Skate Park was the answer to skaters wanting a world class park with big bowls, making it the largest skate park in California.


Looking for a little exercise? Walk along San Jose’s Guadalupe River Trail.  The Guadalupe River Trail is an 11-mile pedestrian and bicycle path that runs along the banks of the Guadalupe River. The trail is currently composed of two discontinuous segments. This trail is heavily used for both recreation and commuting, as it provides direct access to downtown San Jose from many of the outlying neighborhoods. The trail is paved.


"Joseph Loughborough"

Artist Joseph Loughborough’s works were featured at Anno Domini.

If you are a museum lover, there is plenty to keep you busy in San Jose.

  • Winchester Mystery House – The Winchester Mystery House is a California State Historical Landmark and was designed and built by Winchester rifle heiress, Sarah Winchester. No one has been able to explain the mysteries that exist within the Winchester Mansion from a window built into the floor, staircases leading to nowhere, a chimney that rises four floors, doors that open onto blank walls, and upside down posts!
  • Tech Museum – Ensconced in the heart of Silicon Valley, the museum captures the spirit of the region through innovative hands-on science and technology exhibits designed to engage people of all ages and backgrounds in experiences that educate, inform, provoke thought, and inspire action. Here guests can attend Lecture Series on topics including politics, science, technology; sleep next to their favorite exhibit during Museum Sleepovers or by tinkering with technology at a Hands-On Science Workshop. Since San Jose was recently voted one of the best cities to meet a mate, the Tech’s After Hours program for adults is a great place for singles to mingle and friends to enjoy cocktails as they explore the entire museum under moody lighting and music.
  • Rosicrucian Egyptian Museum – Architecturally inspired by the Temple of Amon at Karnak, the Rosicrucian Egyptian Museum, houses the largest collection of Egyptian artifacts on exhibit in western North America.
  • Children’s Discovery Museum – A forward-thinking experi­ence for kids, and among the top 10 kids museums in the country, the Children’s Discovery Museum brings connec­tions, community and creativity to little explorers through exhibits that encourage touching and conducting experiments. Kids (10 and under) love the educational Imagination Playground and the over­sized blue foam building blocks
  • The San Jose Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA) – ICA is an energetic art space located in downtown San Jose dedicated to making contemporary art accessible and exciting to audiences of all ages and backgrounds.
  • San Jose Museum of Art (SJMA) – SJMA is a distinguished museum of modern and contemporary art and a lively center of arts activity in Silicon Valley. The leading institution in the area dedicated to the art of our time, SJMA is committed to providing access for its extraordinarily diverse populations and to pioneering new approaches to interpretation.


"California Theater"

Catch Cinequest Film Festival at California Theater

San Jose night life

Looking for exciting night life? Go to one of Santana Row’s trendy night clubs. Singlebarrel is a popular speakeasy locals hit up, while Koji Sak Lounge has great Sake. Original Gravity Public House has phenomenal craft brews, while popular clubs include Agenda Lounge, Fahrenheit and Temple.

San Jose Special Events


In the spring you should attend the Cinequest Film Festival. You’ll be the first to know about innovative new films and be ahead of the curve on indy films. During my visit to the festival, Salman Rushdie was on hand to talk about the film adaptation of his novel “Midnight’s Children.” The festival showcases premier films, renowned and emerging artists, and breakthrough technology—empowering global connectivity between creators, innovators and audiences.


In the summer, go to:

  • San Jose Jazz Festival – With over 80 artists coming together to exhilarate audiences, drawing over 100,000 people and helping this jazz festival to remain one of the finest in the country. The live music festival offers more than just performances, though; activities such as a jazz brunch, master classes, mural painting, a club crawl, after-hours entertainment and even a jazz mass give fans a chance to indulge in a deeper musical experience.
  • San Jose’s Obon Festival – Obon is an annual festival/bazaar in San Jose’s Japantown – a huge festival with two days of game booths, food booths, cultural exhibits and demonstrations, the Chidori Band, San Jose Taiko and, in past years, over 1,000 dancers in full costume each evening.
  • San Jose Mexican Heritage & Mariachi Festival – San Jose’s annual fiesta celebrating “la vida Latino” – the heritage, music, cuisine, arts and beauty of Mexico. For ten days experience the best in Mexico’s heritage arts – from mariachi to rock and roll, salsa to sones, and spanning pre-Columbian to modern times there’s something for everyone to discover.
  • The San Jose Pride Festival celebrates Gay Pride and features food, volleyball, bingo, arts and crafts and entertainment courtesy of local DJ’s.
  • Dine Downtown – San Jose’s best restaurants roll out the red carpet for new and regular customers during “restaurant week.” For 12 days in June, patrons try out multiple three-course prix-fixe specialty meals at great savings.
"Chocoatoo Cupcakes"

Chocoatoo Cupcakes in San Pedro Square Market

Come to San Jose for Christmas in the Park in the winter. Christmas in the Park is an annual holiday tradition that takes place in the heart of Downtown San José at the Plaza de Cesar Chavez. For over 30 years, this whimsical event has brought people from all over the Bay Area together during the holidays.


Insider Tip: Check out the often over-looked Cathedral Basilica of Saint Joseph in San Jose.

I’ll bet you didn’t know a small adobe church was established in the village and dedicated to Saint Joseph in 1803, making it the first parish in the state of California. Also, check out San Jose four historic theaters: the San Jose Civic (home to a variety of shows, concerts, corporate rentals, family shows, special events), the Center for the Performing Arts (home to Broadway and ballet), California Theatre (home to the opera and symphony), and Montgomery Theater (home to Children’s Musical Theater).


Just outside of San Jose you can visit Santa Cruz, have lunch in the Capitola Village, an intimate beach village tucked in a river valley in Santa Cruz County on the Monterey Bay.  Located an hour from San Jose, Capitola enjoys a lively population full of tradition and interesting history.

What are your favorite things to do in San Jose, California?

I was a guest of Team San Jose.

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ANA Dreamliner Comes to San Jose, California

Monday December 10, 2012 at 5:05 AM | 1 Comment

"787 Dreamliner"

All Nippon Airways (ANA) 787 Dreamliner launches flight service from San Jose, California to Tokyo Narita in 2013.

Imagine taking a long-haul flight from California to Tokyo and not suffering from dry eyes and perhaps experiencing less jet lag.  While I can’t guarantee that you won’t experience jet lag or dry skin during your travels, or that your flight from San Jose, California to Tokyo’s Narita Airport will be on time, I can say that All Nippon Airways (ANA) new 787 Dreamliner flight is a game changer in the competitive aviation industry.

I recently attended the Northern California launch party announcing direct flight service from San Jose’s Norman Mineta International Airport to Narita International Airport, Tokyo beginning January 11, 2013. While I haven’t set foot on the Boeing 787 Dreamliner airplane, according to reports from fellow travel bloggers, ANA delivers a first-class flying experience.


Dreamliner cabin details

Several cabin details captured my attention from the inside of the Boeing 787 Dreamliner. The vaulted ceilings immediately gave a roomy appearance to the plane’s interior. The large windows, 65% bigger than standard airplane windows, also added to the Dreamliner’s open feeling.  Passengers will also like the larger overhead bins to accommodate more luggage.

"787 Dreamliner interior"

With its vaulted ceilings & large windows, ANA’s 787 Dreamliner launches airline service from San Jose, CA to Tokyo, Japan.

Working to reduce jet lag

In addition to the self-darkening windows, designed to adapt to your unique time clock, the higher humidity in the cabin helps to create a more comfortable cabin experience on long-haul flights.

Dreamliner nuts and bolts

I spoke with Northwestern Region, U.S.A. General Manager Masaki Yokai regarding the nuts and bolts of the Dreamliner 787. Yokai noted that while the 787 is a middle sized aircraft, the construction of the plane, composed of carbon fiber, makes for a lighter plane, yet it is stronger than steel. This composition helps the Dreamliner aircraft to be a more fuel efficient plane.

More legroom for passengers

With 112 economy seats and 46 business class seats, neighbors will no longer be bumping into one another or feeling packed in like sardines. The seats are thinner in design, resulting in more leg room for all passengers.

"ANA Business staggered seat"

ANA’s Business class staggered seating on 787 Dreamliner.

ANA Business class

In business class, all seats on the 787 Dreamliner are aisle seats. With a staggered seating layout, passengers feel like they have their own personal suite. There are individual charging stations for your electronics, as well as personal air vents and LED lightening systems.

Insider Tip

All Nippon Airways (ANA) is a Star Alliance member for those of you who are frequent flyers on other airlines.

Have you flown on Boeing’s 787 Dreamliner? How was your flying experience?

If You Go:

All Nippon Airways (ANA)


Photos courtesy of ANA