The Grand Hotel in Santa Clara is my benchmark when staying in the San Jose area. When I couldn't get in there this time I had to really scavenge to find something under $200 which was not musty, old or inconveniently located. I decided to try the Maple Tree Inn, and had a pretty nice stay. Here's what I found...
It's in a convenient location, on El Camino like the Grand. There is a dedicated left turn lane if you are coming from Mt. View. The parking is a bit tight, with small spaces and narrow lanes. If you arrive late, you may end up way in the back, and there is no public entrance back there so you will have to schlep your bag all the way to the lobby. Outside, the Grand looks like one of Sadaam's palaces. The Maple Tree looks like, well, a motel. Clean and neat, but brown. One of the side entrances seemed to double as a staging area for discarded office equipment.
The lobby is not grand either, but inviting and tidy. They have a mascot, a bird that lives in the lobby but he's quiet and unobtrusive. I was greeted promptly and cheerfully and the check-in was quick. Enter one of the two elevators, and you get that first hint of musty smell that is present in older properties. Still, the doors open and close quickly, and the trip is quick. Step into the hallway, and you see it is dated, with older carpet and decor. Still, it was clean and pleasant.
The room I chose was one of the remodeled executive style rooms. This is where I realized the Maple Tree was trying to be like the Grand. It did smell clean and fresh, but the room itself is smallish, with the bathroom taking a lot of the space. Like many rooms, the desk chair introduces a pinch point between the desk and bed. The interior of these rooms have been refurbished with masculine black and dark cherry accents. A very large padded wall sconce sits behind the bed providing a unique accent. A work desk, large armoire, chest of drawers and two end tables provide plenty of temporary storage. A tiny microwave sits atop a cabinet housing a large refrigerator and a single-serve coffee maker. The bathroom has been retrofitted with a sliding door. Inside are more attractive dark accents and surfaces with granite-look counters and tile floors and surrounds. The shower stall (no tub) is modern and elegant, but requires leaning in to turn on the water and your arm will get wet before you can get it out to wait for the hot water - an odd design. I did like the toilet with two water flush selections; #1 and #2 indicated by full and half-full circles. No robes are provided, but the amenities and towels were quality. The king bed was a pillow-top, a little firm but comfortable. The four pillows were foam, not my favorite. The AC unit was obviously newer, powerful and faily quiet, but mine was missing segments in the LED display and had to be set to 60 degrees before it started to cool. I couldn't figure it out at first and called the front desk. One of the clerks from the front desk came right up and helped me make it work.
The TV was a 32" flat screen but was connected to that annoying lodge net interface that required several button pushes just to get past the pay offers to the free TV. Once you exit to free TV, there was a nice assortment of channels, including HBO. The wireless internet worked OK, but my tests showed it was limited to .5MB in both download and upload speeds. Your access code is on the little card they slip your key into, so don't throw that away.
My room (and I suspect most of the remodeled rooms) was in a preferred location away from traffic and parking lot on the third (top) floor. I looked out at the pool / courtyard area where free beer and wine was served from 5-6:30pm. Like the Grand, a cheerful bartender will serve you a drink or three for free. The courtyard was also clean and pleasant with a resort feel and there is also a good size pool I didn't use. I didn't try evening hors d'oeuvres, but the breakfast buffet was in a nice large room and provided plenty of choices, from meat and eggs to cereal, fruit and waffles. Real china and silverware were provided, but I didn't see them until I had used the paper and plastic for two days. The hot food was the same both days I was there; sausage of unknown origin and an egg patty that resembled a McMuffin egg but likely poured from a milk carton. USA Today was available in the lobby.
Would I stay again? They do have rooms that are not upscale for significantly less. If I was on personal travel, I might opt for one of those as the location, cleanliness, food and beverage would probably bring me back. But even given the updated rooms, it's still just not quite Grand.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Enjoy the balance of affordable luxury at Maple Tree Inn in Silicon Valley. Maple Tree Inn offers elegant accommodations, value-added services and amenities, and a prime location in Sunnyvale, California. Maple Tree Inn offers two indoor meeting spaces as well as a new outdoor venue that can accommodate up to 125 guests in formal dining as well as 150 people for a beautiful outdoor ceremony. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Maple Tree Hotel Sunnyvale
- Maple Tree Sunnyvale