Tapped In

Bright ideas flow easily at The Epiphany.

Palo Alto is where it’s @. Yes, Mountain View, Sunnyvale, and Santa Clara have famous campuses less than 12 miles south. But it was here that the anchor, Stanford University, was built, and here that history was made in a garage (Hewlett-Packard). Steve Jobs parked his car in the ‘burbs of Palo Alto. Mark Zuckerberg set up shop in a storefront on main University Avenue.

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The air you breathe is energized, with VCs and bright minds collaborating at Oren’s Hummus Shop or Lure + Till, with be-seen outdoor tables. Chances are good that the VC is staying here, at The Epiphany. The hopeful future dot-commer, looking for startup funding, may be sleeping here, too. They are both attracted to a giant data-driven chandelier installation, “Edison,” by famed design firm IDEO. It’s a marvel of light shows.

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The hoodie chairs in the lobby’s Tinderbox are quiet, and the tech concierge helpful. They can scribble ideas on tabletops that are dry-erase boards. A G-link docking station lets her push what’s on her smartphone to the room’s 47-inch flat-screen TV. The safes, bless them, hold laptops. The valets can be texted.

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While many may believe that the inspiration of Palo Alto is in its “hardware”—it may, indeed, come from what El Palo Alto once was: an ancient coastal redwood forest. Although half-wrapped in aluminum panels, at its core, The Epiphany nods to nature and the femininity in invention, with a six-story-high mural of the master, the redwood. In the 86 guest rooms, enter birds and branches delicately dusted on wallpaper and etched on grassy-colored flooring. Windows in several suites and meeting rooms frame Stanford, still swallowed by the oaks, palms, and Santa Cruz Mountains.

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The hotel is connecting us, but not always to the Internet.

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