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Walnut Creek Magazine

Menlo Park’s Playful Hotel Nia Inspires

Dec 10, 2018 10:00AM ● By Fran Miller

BY FRAN ENDICOTT MILLER

Don’t let the office park location fool you. Whimsical Hotel Nia, rising alongside Highway 101 and adjacent to Facebook headquarters, belies its utilitarian backdrop. Sure, it readily and effortlessly serves the venture capitalists and entrepreneurs who trek to Silicon Valley during the week, but on the weekends, Hotel Nia flaunts its playful side. It’s the perfect spot for a night or two of rest, relaxation, and rejuvenation.

A member of Marriott’s luxurious and indie Autograph Collection, Hotel Nia opened in spring 2018 to a Silicon Valley community thirsty for additional hotel options. With 250 tech-forward rooms and suites, a destination worthy restaurant, infinity pool, and charming garden courtyard, the hotel is attractive to both busy business travelers who appreciate the thoughtful work and collaboration spaces designed to inspire, and leisure seekers who are drawn to the exuberant atmosphere filled with quirky, curated artworks. Follow the unspooled line of yarn (inset into the carpet) up the lobby steps, for instance, to find a larger than life ball of wool. A trio of old-school bathing beauties diving above a door leads the way to the pool. Rolled carpets line the restaurant ceiling, and copper tubs hang suspended over the al fresco dining patio. The state-of-the-art fitness center is wallpapered with Jack LaLanne-like figures. Outside, various garden creatures peek-out from the plants and succulents lining the weaving pathways. Whimsy resides around every corner, and in every nook.

The sleek and airy lobby in hues of blue and gold beckons visitors to sink into its sumptuous leather couches. Bar adjacent work spaces (with ample plug-in spots, natch) provide a casually luxe environment in which to fire-up the laptop. Spacious rooms with ample storage merge the best of high-tech and high-touch and feature workstations, HDTVs with media streaming, complimentary Wi-Fi, minibars, Fragonard Vrai bath products, Mascioni linens, plush beds, and custom-made furniture. Pops of color – orange and teal – are emphasized within the predominantly grey interior. Unique lighting further accentuates notable design elements such as textured headboards and tiled showers. The overall effect is warm, inviting, and chic. (And guests can feel good knowing that the hotel is a LEED Certified Silver building, committed to sustainability and green practices.)

Outside, Hotel Nia’s pool and garden have proven to be a hit. Rub elbows with Facebook’s after work crowd while playing Giant Jenga or corn hole. The large cabana-lined infinity pool and hot tub draw sun lovers. (Locals are thrilled with Hotel Nia’s Day Pass which provides pool and fitness center access as well as discounts at the restaurant.) This chic and bucolic oasis features flowing fountains, a variety of intimate seating areas, cozy hammocks, and several fire pits. 

The hotel’s lobby restaurant Porta Blu is reason enough for a Hotel Nia visit. Cal-Mediterranean dishes are served within a dining room where art and design elements surprise and delight. A wall of wine crates serves as napkin and silver storage. Blue and white floor to ceiling partitions separate spaces, and a whale bone-esque light feature hangs from the private, communal dining table. It’s an eclectic mish-mash, and it works. Don’t miss the Porta Blu Tagine – a mix of chicken, lamb, and fish served family style over a bed of lentils, with a trio of spices and yogurt sauce on the side. Begin your meal with marinated olives, a choice of three hummus flavors, and the citrus honey shrimp with cranberry mostarda. Yum. It’s all very, very good. Start or end at the sultry bar with a crafted cocktail while watching the Warriors. Though not on the menu, ask for the Kiwi Star, an award-winning vodka concoction with muddled kiwi. (Porta Blu is open breakfast, lunch, and dinner.)

Just an hour drive from the East Bay, Hotel Nia and its whimsically charming touches make it the perfect spot for a Bay Area respite. And don’t forget to bring the kids, or at the least, a childlike curiosity. Hotel Nia’s playfulness brings out the kid in everyone.

Photos: Hotel Nia and Fran Endicott Miller