Living in San Francisco is a dream. I have the vitality of my urban cartier, the charm and grace of Russian and Nob Hill, the bustle of the Financial District, the beach down the avenues, and so much more. Living and working in San Francisco may be exactly what you’d imagine: you’re always busy, there’s always an event or conference to attend, a story to hear (or tell), an idea to share, etc. Oh – not to mention, I’m a full time university student as well.

Something interesting about living in San Francisco, that I’m sure my cohabitants will agree with me on, is that by living on this ‘island’, unless travel is already integrated into our lives or part of our work, LEAVING is quite rare. Everything is already here. Sure, you’ll head to Mt. Tam for a quick morning hike, or have a few drinks in Sausalito. You’ll drive down to Redwood City for some tech conference, and if you’ve had too much to drink or feel too tired you’ll stick out in a Motel 8 on the freeway (even though you’re 20-30 min from home, TOPS).




This last weekend, I decided to treat to a mini-‘staycation’ down in San Jose, at Hotel Valencia, a luxury hotel on Santa Row (a super chic boutique promenade!). I had never been, which just goes to show how caught up in this bubble I had become! I drove down from the Tenderloin in a rented Getaround car, and arrived after 40 minutes down the most beautiful part of HWY 280.

When I arrived, I was graciously greeted by the valet driver, (who explained to me that around the corner there was free overnight parking!) and cruised up and down Santana Row to window shop. It was so nice to be out of the city, but still feel like I was somewhere civilized! The weather was so much nicer, I could go out bare legged which is quite rare in San Francisco. The leaves were changing and it felt so Fall, which is also rare for San Francisco (we kind of have a forever-the-same climate, and don’t experience the seasons so much..not to bash on San Francisco, it’s part of why I love it, but it’s really refreshing to see a change).

The hotel treated me like royalty. I enjoyed a bottle of champagne to celebrate (I promise, though there’s always a reason for a bottle of champagne!) the end of my way-too-early midterms at school. Afterwards, I went to Smitten, the coolest ice cream shop EVER where they literally make ice cream to order, using liquid nitrogen to cool and whip it. You can learn more about that here.







I spent my evening working (ugh!) but it helps when you’re in a gorgeous room and can treat yourself to a late night hot tub dip, which is absolutely what I did.

Part of my personality is that I’m super organized- I’m in love with my Fjallraven Kanken backpack because it’s perfect for mini-weekend trips like this. In it I have everything I need, which is basically:

a. My laptop. For homework, real-work, fake-work, you name it…! It’s a pretty needless to say must-have.

b. My camera. My camera holds hands with my laptop- it’s my story teller, best friend, and greatest love.  For those of you wondering, I shoot with the Canon Mark III 5D, and for those of you knowledgable and interested, yes, that does make me like everybody else. 😉

c. My makeup trousse! I have a Longchamps makeup trousse that I received as a gift for my birthday about four years ago, and I still use it. I’m super minimal with makeup, my priority is really skincare, but my must haves are: Clinique’s Moisture Surge, ANY Sephora sleeping mask, though Pearl is my favorite, and Benefit (loyal to San Francisco and the brand) Roller Lash mascara, hello! Flawless foundation, and the Pore-fessional, which I actually use as concealer!

d. OBVS, I have my toothbrush and paste, pajamas, swimsuit, and lazy undergarments.





Nothing could have been better than falling asleep following a dip in the hot tub, some great conversation with silicon valley entrepreneurs who were either in the area for a conference or project, or to do exactly what I was doing: staycationing!  It was so refreshing to get out of my work bubble and relax and explore this little piece of heaven just a kiss away from my city.

Below is the courtyard where I enjoyed a delicious complementary breakfast:

Above is he view from my room of Santana Row below the trees, the beautiful Silicon Valley mountainous region and trees changing colors! (Fall!)

I would highly recommend visiting Santana Row and Hotel Valencia. It’s the perfect distance from San Francisco and the perfect getaway, even for a short amount of time. They make everything easy, are great hosts, and have any and every amenity you can think of:  pool, jacuzzi, spa, ambiance, shopping and restaurants at a walking distance (literally just out the door), great food (I ordered room service for a great ‘Southern Mac + Cheese’ dinner). The room was comfortable with a long counter where I was able to work and relax in between shopping/exploring Santana Row.

There’s a wonderful terrace bar on the top floor, pool and jacuzzi on the middle floor, and another bar and resto on the ground floor. It’s a great in between for shopping and working in Silicon Valley or San Jose specifically, secluded on a super charming avenue, easy to access, come and go, while also being incredibly sheltered, accommodating and indulgent.

There was even a glass pumpkin patch I had all to myself early the next morning.


And I’ll leave you with the best part (and what I wish I were doing now!):



Ness xx

About our Guest Blogger:  Ness a freelance videographer and photographer as well as college student, and I live in the Tenderloin neighborhood of San Francisco.

Written by qmpkatherin