Maybe it's the lobby sculptures that double as QR codes. Or the lounge stocked with a library of board games. Perhaps it's the meme artwork that lines the hallways, or the hotel staffers checking their smartphone apps for work orders.
This hotel is certainly not your grandmother's idea of a luxury retreat. There are no bellhops or high tea, and the atmosphere is deliberately low-key and casual.
The new Hyatt Centric Hotel at the San Antonio shopping center held a soft opening last week, staking its business on catering to a younger, tech-minded customer base. At this boutique hotel, pretty much every room pays tribute to Silicon Valley lore, and no amenity is more sacred than the fast WiFi, which most assuredly is available everywhere -- except maybe the bottom of the swimming pool.
"Some services will never go out of style, but you still have to know how to adapt to the changing needs," said Keith Battaglia, Hyatt's director of sales. "Our goal is to make Mountain View a destination, not just for the business travelers."
Battaglia is hardly alone in sensing opportunity in Mountain View. The new Hyatt Centric is the first in a string of several new high-end hotels that will be opening their doors in the city in the coming months. For years, the city has been regarded as woefully short in hotel space, especially to meet the demand brought by its large tech employers.
It's a business opportunity that is clear to anyone comparing hotel rates. City business development specialist Tiffany Chew quickly browsed the day-to-day cost of the mid-market Hampton Inn, showing that Fridays or Saturdays were about $130 a night, but that price nearly tripled for any mid-week booking. It is routine for local hotel occupancy to be topped off at 100 percent during the weekdays, according to local business officials.
"There is clearly a demand for more hotel rooms in the area, not just in Mountain View, but the whole region," Chew said. "Historically, Mountain View has been looking to attract more hotels to the area to accommodate the demand."
It is hard to pinpoint exactly how many hotel rooms are currently in Mountain View, said Dawn Maher, chief operating officer for the city's Chamber of Commerce. Her group reports there are about 1,000 rooms in the city, but Maher noted that this number does not include hotels with no Chamber of Commerce affiliation.
It now appears that the pendulum could be swinging back, as several large hotels are preparing to open. Along with the new Hyatt Centric, seven other luxury hotels are currently moving through the city's planning process, and more are expected. These new lodgings include a downtown Joie de Vivre hotel with 179 rooms and an Ameswell Hotel on Moffett Boulevard with 255 rooms. Other plans call for new hotels on Miramonte Avenue, Leong Drive, and two on El Camino Real.
Many of these hotels are cropping up next to the tech corporations. A 200-room Shashi hotel is being built right in the heart of Google's global headquarters while the San Antonio center's Hyatt Centric hotel is positioned right across from WeWork offices.
In total, nearly 1,200 additional hotel rooms are slated for construction in the coming years, potentially doubling the number of rooms in the city. And city officials are expecting at least one more hotel to be developed along Shoreline Boulevard near Google's campus.
All told, these new hotels are a good thing, Maher said. They bring amenities that the city's current hotels lack, such as meeting spaces and dining areas, she said. Plus, it seems like the local demand can clearly support them.
Even with so many hotels opening in Mountain View and nearby cities, the industry is expected to continue to grow, according to a 2017 report by the hospitality research firm HVS. Even though about 13,000 new hotel rooms are expected to come online in the coming years, the Silicon Valley market is expected to remain among the strongest in the entire nation, the report concluded.
At the new Hyatt Centric at the San Antonio Shopping Center, hotel managers said that they weren't worried about their future prospects. Hotel general manager Rich Higdon could look right across the street to a new Facebook office building to see where much of the business would likely come from. But he emphasized that the fundamentals of the hospitality business weren't changing.
"This hotel speaks for itself -- it's beautiful in every aspect," he said. "But we still have to set ourselves apart through our customer service."