As a woman business traveler and proactive fan of leisure day trips, I've learned time and again that some of the best adventures are close to home. Pleasanton, California, originating in the Gold Rush and existing comfortably today next to the Livermore Valley wine country east of San Francisco, is one of my recent "finds." History, luxury and quality wines and food within a few blocks -- my fundamentals!
Since I often stay overnight in nearby outlying communities when I have an evening event -- to avoid rush-hour traffic, windy country roads at dusk or late-night driving alone -- I calculate at the front end a pleasant evening in new surroundings to finish off my business or leisure commitment. And, Pleasanton, California, has definitely earned its name in my travel journals.
But the secret -- absolutely -- is the right hotel or inn. A male friend recommended Pleasanton's Rose Hotel, and it turned out to be the right combo of stylish but casual luxury and welcoming service. To wit -- a spacious and well-appointed room with windows that actually open to fresh air, a jacuzzi tub (superb after an afternoon on the links at a Women on Course event at Poppy Ridge Golf Course in the Livermore Valley,) and Peet's Coffee brewed in my room's own French press. That was the first part of the wake-up experience before I went down to the Victorian lobby/loungefor an ample continental breakfast (which comes with the room). Men and women business travelers, a leisure travel couple from Pennsylvania, and more personalities crossed paths in this quietly confident and charming space.
For dinner, I hiked up and down Main Street to check out the multiple options (40 nearby restaurants), from lively outdoor gardens to indoor white table cloth candlelight -- but chose the originality of The Oasis Grille across the street from the hotel and its Afghan/Middle Eastern specialties and featured wine list. Grilled shish kebab and a Riva Ridge Chardonnay from one of the California originals, Wente Vineyards in Livermore, were perfectly matched!