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March 18, 2009

Grand Opening: Rosewood Sand Hill

Rosewoodsandhill
The Rosewood Sand Hill is still weeks from opening, but the trees are in and the pool is full.

by Brook Wilkinson

Sand Hill Road, one of the San Francisco Bay Area's most illustrious addresses, is about to have a brand-new luxury hotel. The Rosewood Sand Hill (built by the same group that manages Las Ventanas and Little Dix Bay) is set to open on April 2, just down the street from the world's highest concentration of venture capitalists.

To celebrate the hotel's opening, Rosewood is offering special rates, and donating 5 percent of the package price to Canopy and Trees for Menlo--two organizations dedicated to planting trees nearby. The "Help Us Celebrate" package is available through April 30, and costs $295 on weekdays and $225 on weekends (regular weekday rates will start around $355). Naturally, with a location in the heart of Silicon Valley, Rosewood Sand Hill is expecting to attract a business crowd. But there are plenty of hiking trails nearby (I explored the Monte Bello Open Space Preserve just this past weekend), as well as a full-service spa, to keep weekenders occupied.

Madera
Madera chef Peter Rudolph.

I've been by the property twice already, for a tour and for a tasting at the Madera restaurant. The rooms are well-appointed if a bit generic, but it's by far the best option for high-end travelers who want to stay between San Francisco and San Jose--the Four Seasons Silicon Valley hangs right over noisy Highway 101 and looks like an office park, and the Ritz-Carlton Half Moon Bay has a lovely coastal setting but doesn't make it easy to get to either urban end of the peninsula.

For my money, the biggest attraction at the hotel will be the restaurant, which has one of the most unabashedly open kitchens I've ever seen, and a wood-fired grill that flavors many of the dishes. Chef Peter Rudolph prepared a number of morsels while I was there, including the vegetable and farro stew with grilled royal trumpet mushrooms and leeks that you see at left. But it's the rotisserie chicken, he claims, that will be his signature dish. Personally, I'd name my first-born child after the man if he'd just give me the secret recipe for his pillow-soft potato gnocchi. But that will have to wait for another visit.

Further reading:
* Read Brook's itinerary for five perfect days in California wine country
* Green goes country: the Hutton Hotel opens in Nashville
* Responsible Traveler: Making a difference

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