Luxury can mean a lot of different things. At the Clement Hotel in Palo Alto it means never having to sign for a charge, pull out a credit card, or leave a tip. The Clement is all-inclusive, and they do mean “all.” Meals and drinks are included, whether you order room service, head down to the open kitchen and order off the menu, or ask the chef to make you something special; for a quick bite, you can help yourself to the 24-hour guest pantry, or nosh on the nightly hors d'oeuvre selection.
Aside from the food, the boutique hotel provides all the amenities of a larger resort, except for a spa. There’s an onsite fitness center, rooftop deck with cabanas, pool and Jacuzzi, a business center and board room, and a first-floor library with ample seating and a stone fireplace. The adjacent outdoor terrace provides more seating for a meal or relaxation, as well as a firepit for chillier nights.
Also included in the price: gratuities, valet parking, twice-daily housekeeping services, overnight shoe shine services, and high-speed Internet. We checked in and here's what we loved most:
Best Feature: The Clement is all about the all-inclusive, personalized service, and it starts before guests even arrive, with a pre-arrival questionnaire that helps staff customize everything from the in-room snack and minibar selection to recommendations for things to see and do around the hotel.
And it seems nothing is too outlandish. Want caviar and blini for your in-room snack? Ask ahead of time and it will be waiting in your room. Prefer local craft beers? You’ll find them stocked in the minibar. Feel like mimosas with your breakfast in bed? Room service will send up champagne and OJ. The chef will even custom-make a meal for you if nothing on the menu appeals.
The service goes beyond the food and drink, too. Head up to the rooftop pool and you’ll find they’ve thought of everything; in addition to bottled water and towels, there’s a stash of sunscreen and even complimentary sunglasses.
The Rooms: The hotel has 23 residential-style suites, each with a living room with ample storage space, a customized minibar with Nespresso machine and mini-fridge, 65” Samsung IPTV, desk space, and sofa. The large bedrooms have king beds with fine Matouk Turkish linens, another 65” Samsung IPTV, more storage, and electronic shades. The spacious stone-tiled bathrooms have Frette towels, a deep soaking tub and a separate glass-enclosed shower, dual sinks, vanity, in-mirror TV, and heated floors.
The Food: Two chefs man the main main floor’s open kitchen restaurant, which serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner (room service is also available). The menu is small but diverse ranging from burgers, salads, and sandwiches to pasta, Arctic Char, and grilled New York strip steak. Breakfast entrees include eggs Benedict, omelettes, and waffles. All meals -- and drinks -- are included.
They also prepare a custom in-room welcome snack for each guest and offer hors d'oeuvres every evening. Guests can order from the menu, request a custom meal, or raid the 24-hour guest pantry, stocked with fruit and other snacks, pre-made salad or ready-to-heat pasta, single-serving ice cream from local Tin Pot creamery, and mini cupcakes from Kara’s.
Who Will Love It: Business travelers with an expense account, parents visiting their kids at Stanford, or anyone who’s just sold their tech startup -- or wants to pretend they did -- and get the all-inclusive treatment in Silicon Valley.
Who Might Not: Travelers on the go will get less value from the Clement. If you’re not planning to spend much time at the hotel, and therefore won’t be able to fully take advantage of the hotel’s all-inclusive nature, the price may not be worth it.
Nearby: The hotel is located just across the street from Stanford University’s sprawling campus, and it’s less than a 10-minute walk to the shops and restaurants of downtown Palo Alto. Farther afield: more Silicon Valley cities such as San Jose and Mountain View (home to Google and Facebook) can be reached in 30 minutes and in less than an hour you can head to the sea at Half Moon Bay or go for a hike among the ancient trees in Portola Redwoods State Park.
Deals and Special Offers: Rooms start at $499-$699 per night; the hotel offers exclusive packages with Thomas Fogarty winery that include guided private tours and tastings.
Getting There: The Clement Hotel is 37 miles from San Francisco (about one-hour’s drive) via car. It’s also accessible via Caltrain; the hotel is an 8-minute (0.4 mile) walk from the Palo Alto station. From the San Jose airport, it’s about 30 minutes’ drive.