Avatar Hotel guestrooms are modern and colorful. // © Mark Adams for Joie de Vivre Hospitality 2010
For most travelers — myself included — an ideal hotel stay has to deliver the following: comfort, convenience, accessibility and relaxation. Last November, during a stay at the newly renovated Avatar Hotel at Great America in Northern California’s Silicon Valley, I experienced just that and much more.
The 168-room Joie de Vivre (JDV) property had just reopened in September following an extensive transformation from a tired Holiday Inn into a modern and moderately priced Best Western Avatar Hotel. (In December, the hotel left the Best Western International hotel chain and is now solely part of JDV.)
Prices for the Avatar are indeed a steal. Rates are $139 per night on weekdays and $79 per night on weekends, making it accessible and affordable for both business and leisure travelers. With such reasonable rack rates, however, the skeptic in me couldn’t help but kick into overdrive. Guiltily, I’ll admit I wondered just how my accommodations would stack up compared to some of the other properties I’ve stayed in.
Happily, my expectations proved to be completely off the mark. The Avatar was modern, convenient, comfortable and easy to find. Within just 10 minutes of leaving the San Jose airport, I had already arrived at the Avatar. The hotel is located in Santa Clara, Calif., directly across the street from the Yahoo! campus and within close proximity to such well-known tech firms as Cisco Systems, Intel, Sun Microsystems and McAfee, to name a few. That explained why the hotel appealed to busy and increasingly budget-conscious business travelers. Down the street, clients will also encounter California’s Great America, a favorite theme park for Bay Area residents, especially families.
The hotel’s lobby is filled with quirky touches that pay homage to its location, Silicon Valley. // © Deanna Ting 2010
Perhaps one of the most surprising things about the Avatar is its strong emphasis on design. As with other JDV properties, this hotel draws inspiration from its name and its surroundings to evoke a mod, whimsical decor that’s colorful and quirky. In the lobby, for example, robots and all manner of tech-inspired toys line the shelves surrounding a cozy, glowing fireplace.
That same ambiance can be found in the guestrooms. While the guestroom layout is fairly standard, the Avatar’s design aesthetic and complimentary amenities are completely refreshing. Clients can choose between a deluxe king or deluxe double room, both of which offer complimentary Internet access — both wired and wireless — a refrigerator, an iPod docking station and a 37-inch flat-screen television. A coffeemaker and iron/ironing board are also provided. Workaholics will appreciate the room’s extra-long work desk and portable laptop table for use on the bed. From personal experience, I can tell you that the Wi-Fi connection is excellent, and the laptop table is perfect for typing up an article on deadline.
The Avatar Hotel’s commons lounge // © Mark Adams for Joie de Vivre Hospitality 2010
For clients who don’t want to stay holed up in their guestrooms, there’s also an expansive commons room in the lobby building that is designed solely for relaxation. It’s outfitted with massage chairs, board games, a microwave, multiple flat-screen televisions and video game systems. From April to October, guests may also take a dip in the outdoor pool and Jacuzzi. And health-conscious guests will love to frequent the fitness center; it has the newest sports equipment, including a treadmill, elliptical machine and bicycle, as well as weight machines and free weights. Another added bonus of staying at the Avatar is interacting with its friendly and obliging hotel staff.
The Avatar does not have its own signature restaurant on property, but it is sandwiched between two restaurants — a 24-hour International House of Pancakes and a Bennigan’s Grill & Tavern. While they’re not exactly considered fine dining by any means, they’re convenient and filling. Besides, who doesn’t love all-you-can eat pancakes? I certainly had my fill during the course of my stay. There are plenty more restaurant choices nearby, too.
All in all, my stay at the Avatar Hotel encompassed all the things I was looking for, and I’m betting that — should your clients find themselves in the area for business or leisure — they’ll want to check it out as well.
Avatar Hotel at Great America
4200 Great America Parkway
Santa Clara, Calif. 95054
Commission: 10 percent