Shakespeare, Joyce, Cervantes—it's always easy to turn to the classics when you want a taste of Europe without straying far from home.
For something more tangible, write your own European masterpiece with this week's Escape to Palo Alto, California. You and a fellow protagonist will spend one night in a Deluxe Room, Thursdays through Sundays, at the AAA Four Diamond Stanford Park Hotel ($139)
You'll be immersed in Old World luxury from the first chapter, opening with the hotel's inviting red brick fireplace and comfortable lobby. Words can hardly describe your spacious guest room, featuring one king or two queen beds, a large sitting area, vaulted ceilings, and a courtyard view. The plot thickens with complimentary parking, Wi-Fi, and access to the state-of-the-art health club.
Setting is important, so you'll want to check out the hotel's garden swimming pool and whirlpool, as well as the landscaped courtyards, stately libraries, and parlors appointed with museum-quality artifacts. Later, ask about area activities and attractions.
If you need inspiration, look no further than the nearby Stanford University campus and vibrant Palo Alto. "If it doesn't feel like your average college town, that'd be because this is also the northern extent of Silicon Valley," says Lonely Planet. "In fact, it can be said that Silicon Valley started here, just before WWII, when Stanford recruited several esteemed professors from MIT."
When the dinner hour arrives, be sure to bookmark the hotel's award-winning Menlo Grill Bistro & Bar, specializing in Californian cuisine made from local, seasonal ingredients. With your $25 dining credit, treat yourself to the center-cut Berkshire pork chop with cornbread dressing, fried sage, and house-made applesauce. Wash it all down with a drink from the extensive glossary of wine and craft brews.
Cover-to-cover, this stylish yet convenient Escape will be an instant classic.
PAID VALUE DOES NOT EXPIRE
PROMOTIONAL VALUE EXPIRES ON July 31, 2012
Stanford Park Hotel
A One-Night Stay for Two, $25 Dining Credit, Bottle of Wine, and More