I'm currently spending a couple of days relaxing in the Bay Area after attending the Cloud Connect conference. Usually I'd write about places I've been and sights I've seen, but I thought for a change I'd blog about the hotel I am staying in - Hotel Avante in Mountain View. I got my stay here through the cheap hotel site hotwire, for a very reasonable $59 (39GBP) a night. One of the things about Hotwire is you get cheap prices but you don't find out the hotel until after you book (by area) - so I would never have known about this place - but boy am I glad I did. It's probably the best hotel I've ever stayed in!
There is a sort of postmodern ambience about the place - retro typewriters and old cameras nestle alongside light orbs and funky modern art. The elevator doors are even a work of art in their own right.
And then I saw the desk... It has two glass panels to see into the drawers below. One drawer contains stationery and practical items.
The other is chock full of "executive toys" - a Slinky, an Etch a Sketch, some transparent playing cards, a Rubik's cube.
The hotel notepad says "IDEAS" over the top, with a stylized human brain. As someone who likes to get creative and innovative, I love this!
The bedside table has a recessed area right by the pillow holding another ideas pad - perfect for late night inspiration or dream recording!
A hi-fi with a library of CDs you can borrow from the front desk. Toothbrush and toothpaste provided. The bedside table, as well as the requisite Holy Bible, contains a torch/flashlight and emergency flare - how random! The hotel TV is HD, and swivels around so you can watch it while working at the desk.
Speaking of which, the wi-fi is complimentary and fast. In fact there are four different wi-fi networks to choose from! This includes Google's free wide area wi-fi network serving the whole of Mountain View. We are in the home of the Googleplex here!
And a fitness room, and a relaxation lounge.
The bed is a very comfortable king-size, with more cushions and pillows than you could ever wish for. Every evening there is a complimentary happy hour bar, and the hotel lobby has a wine rack and every room has a corkscrew - no need to go out for supplies! This morning I had breakfast, which was a buffet with everything I could have wished for - eggs, sausages, bacon, pancakes, fresh fruit, bagels, toast, yogurts, cereals, pastries, juices & hot drinks. And what's more - it's free! This is almost unheard of in the US in my experience - most free breakfasts are continental and most cooked breakfasts cost extra.
And trust me, it really was! This is a great example of applying "Made to Stick" principles - making a clear, concise message for the employees to hold on to.