by Michael C. Lowe | April 01, 2014
Why Here?

Regional convention facilities are stepping up their game with two major projects. The San Jose Convention Center (above) recently completed a $130 million renovation and expansion, while Moscone Center in San Francisco will begin construction on new facilities in December.

Landmark Retreat
The 214-room, Victorian-style Dolce Hayes Mansion dates from 1905 and offers a buyout option for groups seeking a private campus near downtown San Jose. The hotel offers more than 33,000 square feet of meeting space and easy access to Silicon Valley's tech companies.

Crunch and Munch
At Mezcal (, an Oaxacan eatery in downtown San Jose, groups can dine on chapulines, better known as fried grasshoppers. Watch how they're made online at

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Local Update

• The San Jose McEnery Convention Center completed a $130 million makeover and expansion last year. The project included a complete renovation and the addition of 169,957 square feet of flexible ballroom and meeting space. The center now offers a grand total of 550,000 square feet for groups.

• The 212-room Hotel Valencia recently finished a renovation of its guest rooms, meeting rooms and public spaces. The property's rooftop venue, which overlooks the Santa Cruz mountains, serves as an al fresco bar area during the spring and summer but also can be rented out for private events accommodating up to 100 guests. The 212-room property has nearly 4,000 square feet of meeting space and sits on Santana Row, an upscale dining and retail destination 10 minutes from downtown San Jose.

• The 808-room Fairmont San Jose recently wrapped up a final phase of renovations to its guest rooms, which now sport new beds, décor and upgraded soft goods. The hotel has 65,000 square feet of meeting space and is just blocks from the convention center.

• Travelers departing from Mineta San Jose International Airport can purchase a day pass for $35 to access a new VIP lounge. The Club at SJC is equipped with Internet access, a conference room, free snacks and drinks (both alcoholic and non), and shower facilities.

Meeting Hotels:
Major properties in the city include the 808-room Fair­mont San Jose, 512-room San Jose Airport Garden Hotel, 506-room San Jose Marriott, 505-room DoubleTree by Hilton San Jose, 355-room Wyndham San Jose, 353-room Hilton San Jose, 239-room Hyatt Place San Jose Downtown and 145-room La Quinta Inn & Suites San Jose Airport.

To find and compare hotels, and send RFPs, go to

Convention Center: San Jose Convention Center; exhibit space, approximately 165,000 square feet; number of meeting rooms, 43; (408) 792-4194;

Airport Transit: Norman Y. Mineta San Jose International Airport, about three miles from the center of the city. Transfer cost by taxi, $15-$20

Taxes: Room tax, 10%; sales tax, 8.75%; Convention Center Funding District Tax, 4%; and a $0.75 to $2 per-night hotel business/improvement fee

Group Venue: The San Jose Tech Museum of Innovation features dozens of interactive tech-themed exhibits, including a jet-pack simulator and an array of cutting-edge 3-D printers. Groups can buy out the entire 132,000-square-foot venue or one of the museum's three floors. Smaller areas, like the Tech Studio, provide collaborative spaces set among robots and high-tech gadgets to inspire innovation and creativity. (408) 294-8324;

The Blackbird Tavern, an American bistro and bar with a creative urban vibe, recently inaugurated a 2,400-square-foot event space for groups of up to 200. The restaurant can supply food and drink, including a selection of fair-trade coffee or some 30 curated craft beers. (408) 278-1050;

Contact: Team San Jose, (800) 726-5673;