World traveller she may be, but the gal had never been to Menlo Park. Now Rosewood, Stanford and a luxury hotelier who spends every non-working waking minute thinking cycling, Philip Meyer, called. And Rosewood Sand Hill is, indeed, a luxury working resort that is more than well worth visiting (‘working resort’ describes this gorgeous place only too well as Silicon Valley techies and others clamber to get weekday reservations for executive retreats and creative thinking, and then at weekends San Francisco residents, often with families in tow, head here for fresh air, exercise and, well, today’s luxury). There are also others who love this place, say the 85 locals who are members of the hotel’s lifestyle club, and DuVine cyclists, taking super-superior guided tours led by Andy Levine.
The 21-acre property is owned by Stanford University, and Rosewood has been involved since the 2009 opening of the 120-room hotel. Rooms are set in two-floor blocks and 1307, my upper-floor temporary home, faced west over the pool. I loved the space – see the video below – and it was great to be introduced to a ‘new’ range of toiletries, Sarah Horowitz, from Westlake Village. I went down 26 steps to walk around the pool, to the 24/7 Technogym, and then met up with Philip Meyer – who had, I suspect, come back specially from a cycling day, at Madera. We could have had the $130 tasting menu, paying another $100 for wine pairings, but we went à la carte, I started with grilled Spanish octopus with hearts of palm and leeks, and chili emulsion, went on to an oak-grilled Schmitt Farms New York strip. We could have ordered a magnum of the impressive wine list’s Haut Brion 2010, offered at $5,300.
More sensibly, we drank glasses of Madera’s own Pinot Noir 2016, blended by Rosewood’s Paul Menkis at Ernest Vineyards in Sonoma County (only 85 cases were produced). Food and beverage, eating and drinking, are the heart of a hotel, says Philip Meyer. They draw people from the locale, and they encourage guests to feel even better about a place. I certainly felt invigorated by being here – oh this fresh air, and the space. In the morning I could have taken part in some of the classes that are a stimulus for all those lifestyle members. From 6.30 a.m. on there are classes, mostly 45 minutes. Today, fitness specialist Sandy leads a 45-minute circuit training: at 7.15 she switches to BLT (butt, legs and thighs) and at 8 o’clock it is fitness fusion, followed by 8.45 gym circuit. She then fortunately has a break before 10.15 a.m. aqua float, which is, admittedly, only half an hour.
But I could not fit in any of those. I was too busy breakfasting and just enjoying the place. Madera’s breakfast is really healthy, with a Project Juice selection that includes a chocolate protein juice, with almonds, banana, cacao, dates, sea salt and vanilla. I could have had a California omelette, with avocado, ham, onions, peppers, potatoes and Swiss cheese ($23, the price of an entire continental set meal). Instead, however, I luxuriated with Straus Dairy’s full-fat yoghurt, fried eggs with delicate yellow yolks from Petaluma Farm, sourdough, and preserves from Just Jan’s, made by Jan Hogrewe, whose previous movie career included producing the 2006 video The Writers Flipped, They Have No Script. And, as post-meal exercise, I needed to get in my car, leave this luxury Rosewood resort, and head for wine country. NOW SEE SUITE 1307