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Hilton Santa Cruz/Scotts Valley

Article by: Norm Goldman Painting by: Lily Azerad-Goldman

For more than 80 years travelers have come to recognize the Hilton name as a legacy in the hospitality industry. Not widely recognized is that not only does the Hilton chain welcome business guests but it also goes a very long way when it comes to providing the ideal romantic getaway or wedding venue.

A great example is the Hilton Santa Cruz/Scotts Valley, one of the company's outstanding properties offering the utmost in elegance and personalized service. In a nutshell, this hotel brilliantly captures the beauty and spirit of its Scotts Valley's surroundings.

Making this Hilton unique is that guests can relax at a secluded, full-service hideaway hotel in a quiet residential location of Scotts Valley with its gorgeous natural surroundings offering a more dramatic contrast to the usual pace found in Silicon Valley.

The exterior of this three storey chateau-style property is constructed of stone and timber. It is so well hidden amongst the redwoods in the area's rolling coastal foothills that even one of its employees remarked to us that before being in the employ of the hotel, he was for five years an employee at another business establishment located just down the road and he never knew the hotel existed. Now that is what I call being discreet!

Moreover, the hotel is an ideal haven for exploring the area's variety of attractions. For starters, guests can experience the ultimate beach train ride, the Roaring Camp Railroad that travels through the towering scented redwood forests of Henry Cowell State Park and down the scenic San Lorenzo River Gorge, across a 1909 steel truss bridge, and through an 1875 tunnel eventually ending at the famous Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk. Incidentally, the steam engines of the train date from 1890 and are considered to be the oldest and most authentically preserved narrow-gauge steam engines. And not to leave out a possible venture to the more than 40 wineries located in the Santa Cruz Mountains. As for golf enthusiasts, there is world-class golf at Pasatiempo Golf Club.

By the way, the quintessential town of Scotts Valley contains one of the longest records of human occupation for Western North America dating back over 12,000 years as evidenced from deposits of cultural material that have been discovered. You can view many artifacts and secure historic information at City Hall where there will find a display case.

The three storey chateau style property contains 180 beautifully appointed oversized guest rooms, of which twenty are distinctive suites.

On entering the hotel we immediately were made to feel at home with the plush sofas and club chairs that invite relaxation in a lobby that contained soft sounds of a black marble waterfall against a backdrop of a curved staircase, grand copper chandeliers perched on 50-foot high ceilings and two original wall murals depicting the area's history.

The friendly and professional staff was at our beck and call and we were immediately shown to our room where we discovered upgraded amenities including videocassette players, access to a complimentary film library (you do not have to rent or bring your own video), microwave ovens, refrigerators and coffee makers.

As for dining, we did have the opportunity to enjoy the excellent cuisine offered in the comfortable and classic Café Max that serves breakfast, lunch, dinner and Sunday Brunch. Incidentally, our evening meal was preceded with a trip to the adjacent lounge that offered a wide variety of wines-a great aperitif.

Ideal Wedding Venue

Guests who have the good fortune to experience a wedding celebration in an area of the hotel known as The Veranda are in for quite a surprise!

One of the most appealing features of this unique venue is the splendid view of wild flowers, majestic redwoods and other vegetation that overlooks a meadow that reminded us of a New England county scene. We were also impressed about how effortlessly it can seat up to two hundred and twenty-five guests and without difficulty set up a disk jockey area, dance floor, beverage station, cake table, buffet table, gift table, two pillars and a bar. If your affair is more intimate, there is the Wedding Arbor with seating for forty guests.

Another plus that the hotel can offer wedding guests is that it is only thirty minutes from the San Jose International Airport and sixty-eight miles to San Francisco.

And to keep your guests occupied, besides the many outside activities, the hotel has a fully equipped fitness center and a heated outdoor pool with whirlpool spa.

In the end it was the personal touches and devotion to detail as well as the exemplary service that put magic into our stay at this Hilton. It is little wonder that it achieved the Connie Award for one of three Hiltons in 2003 for best performance.


Hilton Santa Cruz/Scotts Valley
6001 La Madrona Drive
Santa Cruz, CA 95060
Highway 17 at Mount Hermon Road
831.440.1000 telephone 831.440.1111 facsimile

Roaring Camp Railroad
Pasatiempo Golf Club
Wineries of the Santa Cruz Mountains
Santa Cruz County Information
Scotts Valley Chamber of Commerce