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Silicon Valley’s Largest Hotel Reopens as Signia by Hilton

San Jose’s venerable Fairmont has been reinvented as a signage, a new luxury modern concept hotel

The slow-moving decline and subsequent bankruptcy of the Fairmont Hotel made a particularly sharp turn for the 80s San Jose aspirations for urban greatness.

The central part of an ambitious renovation era, for a third of a century it was a place where Sydney Poitier could be spotted in a restaurant, Pele or the President of Mexico in the lobby, members of the Chicago band or Jose Feliciano at the bar, Paul McCartney at the servant station, President Clinton going for a run with his Secret Service entourage or Poet Alan Ginsberg goes on to say that he used the same presidential suite as George Hugh Bush.

The ill-fated neoclassical landmark at 170 South Market, dark for more than a year, recovered this week, refuting with a high hand its exaggerated death reports. The crews replaced fixtures, laid out rugs and replaced the royal shades of gold with cool, contemporary shades of charcoal.

The new tower is open for orders. A new restaurant has opened. The huge lobby lounge columns, once painted with artificial marble and recently brushed black in a failed mother’s redesign, are now tightly wrapped in contemporary veneer, as are repetitive minimalist arches added in a wink to California mission history.

The hotel is now known as Signia, “Hilton’s bold new hotel brand for today’s sophisticated traveler”, launched in Orlando, Florida and Atlanta last year and premiered on the West Coast here. The new nickname will take a while for the Fairmont nostalgia to get used to, but let’s really admit, it’s been a dead brand going on for a while.

Signia CEO Jimmy Surfers in the hotel lobby.
Picture of Dan Polcarno

The new CEO, Jimmy Surfers, who moved here to manage the Hilton properties in the Valley three years ago after honing his hotel management skills in London and Malta, calls the style “modern luxury” that incorporates elements from the hotel’s heritage. 25 feet or coffee tables held by dwarfs from brightly painted lawns. “We wanted a timeless design,” he says.

DJ’s cool electronic music and delicate scents are part of the lobby experience at the 805-room hotel, the largest in Silicon Valley. A single panel of LED-lit white marble envelops the bar moved into the sunken lounge, a central part of the design created by the Manhattan-based Rockwell Group. Management does not disclose the overall tab of the renovation, but Surfers abandoned a mention of the half-million-dollar lobby chandelier, a three-dimensional mesh structure dotted with rectangular lights. At least it’s not taxpayer money this time!

The health club has doubled in size to 4,000 square feet, with mirrored walls, high-tech treadmills and colorful weights, along with a steam room with stone walls and a sauna. A California-style restaurant will be added to the pool deck when the main tower reopens next year.

Surfers is particularly enthusiastic about the sealed restaurant, Aji, nestled between the abundantly filled lobby sofas. The idea, a Peruvian-Japanese fusion named after the famous nation of South America Amarillo Pepper, is a remix that fits well with the demographics of the area.

“We’ve been experimenting for a few weeks now, and everyone was amazed at the food,” Surfers says. “And this is just our first stab at it. Will be back in a few months.”

As in any millennium-friendly institution, the lobby bar has a “cocktail program”. Surfers describes it as a “pisco meets sake” with a deep bench of Japanese whiskey.

Plans for a new Signia Hotel in the Southern Market.
Picture of Dan Polcarno

The ambitious menu is overseen by executive chef Hans Lenz, whose culinary path included visits to Hawaii, Chicago, Miami, Istanbul, Egypt and Dubai. If this resume did not prepare him to challenge the palate of business travelers and downtown residents in post-epidemic San Jose, then nothing will.

Silicon Valley’s Largest Hotel Reopens as Signia by Hilton Source link Silicon Valley’s Largest Hotel Reopens as Signia by Hilton

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