Diary / Justbobbi / Sep 26, 2022
Heading to Palo Alto? Book A Room at Nobu
Written by: Christina Valhouli
Most people search for a hotel based on price and location, but you can also hunt for the perfect place based on your favorite brands. Love to work out? Consider the new Equinox hotel in New York’s Hudson Yards. If you’re a fan of Shinola’s watches and leather accessories, book a stay at the company’s new Detroit hotel. But if you daydream about Nobu’s iconic miso marinated black cod, you can have it delivered to your room with a stay at the Nobu Hotel in Palo Alto.
The Silicon Valley outpost is one of several Nobu hotels all over the world; there are also locations in London, Malibu, Cabo, Ibiza and Tokyo, among others. The Nobu in Palo Alto is an artful blend of California cool, Japanese hospitality and minimalist architecture. The hotel has a distinct silhouette, with a cantilevered roof line and an exterior clad in wood and stone. Travelers should keep in mind that the hotel is currently under renovation until about June 2020 although disruptions to guests are minimal.
As you pull up to the hotel, the first thing you’ll notice is the street level Nobu restaurant. If you haven’t already made a reservation, plan to enjoy a room service feast if you just want privacy. On warm days, the accordion glass doors open up to enjoy the fresh air. On cooler nights, diners can sit outside under heat lamps.
Dining at Nobu is always a treat, so kick off your meal with a celebratory cocktail. The drinks menu offers sake and fruit-infused drinks, such as a lychee and elderflower martini. The menu includes Nobu’s signature Japanese-Peruvian fusion cuisine, such as miso marinated black cod and yellowtail sashimi with jalapeno. Be sure to order a plate of tuna sashimi tacos and leave room for dessert. Families (and there are plenty dining at Nobu) will appreciate the dessert bento boxes, which come with Valrhona dark chocolate souffle cake, imperial matcha gelato and fresh berries.
The public spaces of the hotel are all about understated simplicity and restraint. The second floor lobby is sheathed in wood and glass but has warmth, thanks to floor to ceiling windows and a fireplace. Design aficionados will spot the iconic silhouette of the George Nakashima lounge chairs.
Just down the hall from the check-in desk is the fitness center, which is open 24 hours a day. Everything about a stay at the Nobu is about elevating a guest’s experience and the fitness center is no exception, as it has Peloton bikes. Guests are also given complimentary access to nearby Yoga Source which offers classes in Vinyasa and hot yoga, as well as Pilates.
The 73 guest rooms have the same serene color palette as the public spaces, along with balconies that take in views of downtown Palo Alto as well as the Santa Cruz mountains. The Nobu hotel has gone all out on luxurious amenities, including T3 hair dryers and hair straighteners, Nespresso coffee makers, Sub-Zero mini fridges and an Alexa. Feeling peckish? The mini bar is stocked with a few Japanese treats including Pocky sticks and dried edamame. Hotel rooms have a separate WC (with a Toto toilet) and bathing area, and amenities are from Natura Bissé. If you’re looking for an even more unique stay, the eighth floor will be home to the Ryokan level, where the bathrooms will have rain shower fixtures and freestanding wood soaking tubs.
The hotel’s prime location along Hamilton Avenue can’t be beat, as Palo Alto’s shops and restaurants are all within walking or biking distance. Pop into Essentique for small batch beauty products, or Leaf & Petal for a curated selection of women’s clothing (AG jeans, Ulla Johnson dresses). A Sweetgreen is one block away if you’re craving a grain bowl, and just across the street from the hotel is the Palo Alto Creamery, a retro looking diner that’s popular with the VC crowd. New England lobster rolls are served every Friday but if you just want to satisfy a sweet tooth, the homemade ice cream flavors include lemon custard and mango.
Palo Alto takes it caffeine seriously and customers need to be patient as lines can be long. Philz is a California institution – there’s a location inside Facebook’s headquarters. Palo Alto is home to two Philz’s that are popular with the laptop crowd and it famously brews one cup of coffee at a time, so there could be a line out the door. To enjoy your caffeine in the sunshine, head to Blue Bottle Coffee, housed in a former Spanish style movie theater. Sip your coffee in the courtyard or bring your laptop to the adjacent Hana House workspace if you need to log on.
Palo Alto is supremely bike friendly, and visitors can rent some wheels from multiple bike shops in town. Bike Connection offers electric, hybrid and aluminum road bikes. Hop on and head out to Stanford University for a culture and wellness fix. The Cantor Arts Center is home to one of the largest collections of Auguste Rodin sculptures outside of Paris. The university is well-known for its beautiful gardens like the Arizona Garden, which is stocked with succulents, or the Papua New Guinea sculpture garden. Both are peaceful spots for quiet contemplation or recharging in nature. The campus also offers easy access to more challenging hiking routes in the nearby Pearson-Arastradero Preserve and Foothills Park.