Hotel Review: Tetra Hotel, Sunnyvale
Doubles as Family Staycation or Romantic Parent Getaway
By Kathy Chin Leong
Swanky. Swanky. Swanky. The moody and brooding Tetra Hotel struts into Silicon Valley with muscle and bravado, given its eight-story steel and glass modern build, big scale original art, and outdoor pool suspended as a bridge between two structures. Tetra is the newest bauble on the Marriott chain of Autograph Collection boutique hotels. Fans adore the Autograph hotels that each reflect the nature of the surroundings. Adults love it, and so do the kids.
Tetra, derived from the Greek, means four, and Tetra management stresses that the hotel’s theme is anchored on four pillars: work, life, nature, and technology.Speaking of tech, the Sunnyvale hotel sits in the epi- center what we locals refer to as Google-land. And its sky-scraper architecture blends in well with its surrounding neighbors in this technology zone.
Even as I write this, two colorful Google bicycles are parked outside the hotel. Most likely Googlers have arrived for a drink after work or are meeting clients. While serving mostly as a business hotel, the leisure traveler can take advantage of the comfortable amenities, most do not have at home.
Da Pool, Da Fun
On Level 3, the pool, while small, is integral to a beautiful patio with potted olive trees and attractive outdoor seating. Its living room couch with fire pit is a perfect gathering spot at sunset. The view of Silicon Valley is stunning as you see the glow of lights of the buildings emerge come nightfall. Swimming-wise, you can do short laps in this 3.5-foot-deep pool, that bridges the Tetra and the AC Hotel Sunnyvale Moffett Park. My teenage niece and nephew enjoyed their visit to the hotel when they came to see me. They were feeling pretty honored their Auntie Kathy chose them to splash around, and they were super courteous to other pool guests, by the way. Take note: there is no hot tub. Rats!
Downstairs, the two hotels share a breezeway patio with three zones called the Nexus with tropical plants and intimate couch seating. Guests, yes, even the kiddos, can hang out in the public areas playing corn hole or wooden Connect Four and later dine at either property.
More and more hotels are adopting this twin pairing concept to share resources and even employees. Ever wanted to own a Pelaton bike? The gym, adjacent to the pool, provides several of these bikes with live trainers on the screen. The gym, as with every room, features tall and wide windows so you get plenty of Vitamin D. The Tetra vibe is a blend of Japanese simplicity intersecting with Mid-century Modern.
Tetra’s owner, says the management, loves the Japanese aesthetic and ambiance as well as Japanese food and beverage. The open concept lobby boasts sand gray tile floors throughout with see-through dividers between its Coffee Manufactory java spot, Adestria restaurant, and Nokori Japanese whiskey bar. Plenty of couch groupings (with outlets, of course) make it possible for meetings or laptop lounging.
Black wooden slats serve as the lobby ceiling, and parallel lines indoors and outdoors are a theme there. All these design elements come from the team at Gabellini Sheppard, a New York design firm.
Right after the glass doors open at the entrance, you encounter the first mobile by artist Sharon Levy featuring a canopy of what resembles pale green maple leaves that dance with the wind, and when you look up, the leaves are to evoke that childhood feeling of feeling small when looking up at a grove of trees from lying on a picnic blanket.
Another mobile art object dangles threads of gold reflective octogons by Christina Watka which represent silicon, harkening to the high tech industry. In keeping with today’s modern palette, Tetra’s shades are gray, gray, and more gray with hints of black, brass, and white.
The elevator’s interior is black, and it is lightly backlit, but way too dark with the feeling of a Disney ride elevator. In fact, during our stay, several guests commented on this. Perhaps adding a light fixture at the ceiling would remedy the concern. However, outside, the generous greenery of potted trees and lush plants against this backdrop creates a tropical environment. The natural live edge communal table, an outdoor bench hewn from a fallen tree, and wooden sculpture by David Franklin in the shared space called the Nexus are a refreshing jolt of nature against the industrial building materials.
Da Rooms, Da Amenities
In the rooms are high end amenities to make you feel pampered.
My favorite is the Dyson hair dryer that retails at $399 and is available for purchase. It comes in a black velvet bag under the sink. In fact, there is a nice “Curated for You” card that lists the many expensive pieces in the room such as the Fellow electric kettle at $159, and also the Bellino hooded robe at $99. In other words, if you steal any of these things, the note says: “we will apply a charge on your room for any item removed during your stay.”
In other words, if you think you can hide that dryer in your suitcase, “You’re busted!” Every bed in each of the 186 rooms features Bellino linens, an alternative Italian Frette linens, as Bellino’s are considered free from harmful materials during the production process. Compared to my cheap sheets at home, the smooth touch of the Bellino brand made me wonder if that contributed to such a great night of sleep.Well, having a pillowtop mattress always helps, too.
Our corner abode, Room 604, featured a cement pillar on one wall, plank flooring, and a brass base table with glass top. Sidelights had brass arms and floating tables with brass accents. The work surface here was a long marble sheet atop the drayer regirgerator and clothing drayers and hidden drawer safe.
A classy touch on one side of the table was the beverage station of teas, locally-sourced instant coffee, and the Fellows tea kettle in black matte, plus Hawkins handblown glass pitcher ($40), and the Hawkins handmade glassware ($8). Corner rooms always seem a little bigger than most, and slightly awkward.
Here, the TV on the wall was large, but it did not face the bed squarely, and it did not squarely face the couch, so when watching TV at night, we had to watch it from the side. Of course, we could have moved the furniture around, but that would have been awkward too. What I did like about the corner room were the two walls of windows that gave us a view of the mountains in the distance.
The couch and side chairs and and the generously-sized table gave us, plus our guests plenty of opportunity to sit and eat snacks. This corner room had enough space to invite my sister to visit us in the daytime with her kids. And if you are a working couple, there is enough space for two people to spread out their things to get serious work accomplished.
Bathrooms have a space-age feel resembling frosted glass boxes that light up when you turn on the lights. Echoing that design sentiment is a tabletop light sculpture of a frosted box on the marble table.
Bathrooms utilize the MiN New York brand of hair and soap products, where each item has its own “scent story.” The handle on the glass shower door is mounted on the inside of the shower, not the outside which I found an odd choice. And the panel under vanity fell off when my knee knocked it, and so I had to readjust it which was a surprise. The white toilet made by Duravit is squareish, telling the user, “I’m a modern toilet, and yes, I am super fancy.”
On a Friday night, all the tables at Adrestia, the hotel restaurant, were filled with hungry guests, and the vibe was energetic. Service was swift and friendly. The menu is New American fare with a hint of Japanese elements. Wefought over the hamachi appetizer – fresh and thinly sliced, perfectly arrayed, and with a proper amount of jalapeno pepper heat. Along with that we ordered the Japanese lobster roll, cut in four pieces, rich and yummy. Tri-colored carrot salad and the seared mushrooms were generous in portion and, as they say, “cooked to perfection.”
I am glad we selected the branzini fish and the risotto and shared it, for by this time, we were quite full. The fish was crunchy on the outside and tender within. The farro risotto blended well with the Brussel sprouts and was so delicious I could have gone vegetarian the entire night. For dessert we enjoyed the ice cream sundae topped with caramel popcorn. I was slightly disappointed in the presentation, expecting it to arrive in a sundae glass but it was served in a bowl. Nonetheless, it was the perfect ending to a fabulous meal. And given that this is a boutique brand, there is a certain amount of independence.
Da Bottom Line
Kids will love the pool area, the Nexus breezeway with games, and the wall mounted TV where the family can binge-watch all together in the same room. I love the fact there is a refrigerator to hold snacks and leftovers!
When you want a getaway in Silicon Valley as a couple or as a family, know that you will get designer style, a good swim, and a good meal at the Tetra Hotel, the place where work, life, tech, and nature converge.
400 West Java Drive
Rates start at $169 on weekends and $299 on weekdays