By Megan Eileen McDonough


As one of the most desired places to live, work and play, San Mateo County/Silicon Valley constantly embraces innovation while still maintaining its historic charm. A hub for fast-paced technology as much as an oasis for the adventurous traveler, San Mateo County/Silicon Valley also offers high-end luxury with upscale hotels, the finest shopping malls and boutiques, and the most decadent wellness treatments.


Hotels: From high-rise buildings to cozy, boutique properties, San Mateo County/Silicon Valley has no shortage of luxury hotels, so take your pick!


Located in downtown Palo Alto, The Epiphany Hotel appeals to business and leisure travelers alike. Within walking distance are some of San Mateo County/Silicon Valley's biggest venture capital firms along with a slew of cafes, boutiques, electronics stores and hair salons. Besides the convenient location, the amenities are even more impressive: Malin & Goetz bath products, Illy espresso machines, a tech concierge and Turkish towels, to name a few.


Palo Alto’s upscale hotels don’t stop there. The Four Seasons Silicon Valley is the pinnacle of high-end. Rooms feature sleek and contemporary furnishings that fit in nicely with the suites' natural wood and neutral palette. Floor-to-ceiling windows let in a lot of light, even for Northern California. When it's warm outside, which is often the case in San Mateo County/Silicon Valley, enjoy a dip in the rooftop pool with private cabanas. Also in Palo Alto, right across from Stanford University, is The Clement Hotel, which opens this year.


For an ocean view, head to the coast. Half Moon Bay is a popular seaside oasis, with luxury properties like The Ritz-Carlton and the Oceano Hotel and Spa. To really dig your toes into the sand, carve out a few days at the Beach House Hotel. Reminiscent of a Nantucket summer home, the property caters primarily to eco-friendly travelers and outdoor enthusiasts. The lobby almost feels like home, especially with its large fireplace and comfortable couches.


Shopping: From downtown Burlingame to tech-trendy Palo Alto, you can shop until you drop in San Mateo County/Silicon Valley’s best malls and boutiques.


When it comes to luxury shops, Stanford Shopping Center in Palo Alto has a store for every interest. As Northern California's premier open-air shopping destination, you'll see brand staples like Macy's, Nordstrom, Bloomingdale's and Neiman Marcus, among others. There are also plenty of specialty shops that specialize in luxury goods along with local wares from local designers.


Currently set for high-end renovations, Hillsdale Shopping Center is one to watch. Plans include several serious upgrades, like a movie cinema, bowling alley and fitness center, along with luxury stores and fine dining. Construction begins soon and the end result will be an additional 200,000 square feet of shopping, entertainment and dining space.


Spas: As much as San Mateo County/Silicon Valley is an outdoorsy destination, there are several top-tier spas in the area. After all, with so much exercise, you’re bound to need a little rejuvenation.


For a traditional Thai massage, there's no better place than Shama Thai Massage. Located in Burlingame and run by two sisters from Thailand, this is the closest you'll get to an authentic Thai massage without actually crossing the globe. The Wat Po-trained therapists work to channel all of the senses though various scents like lemongrass and sounds like the hammer dulcimer. While the specialty is definitely geared toward Thai massages, they accommodate all types of client requests. For something more traditional, try the Four Seasons Silicon Valley Spa in East Palo Alto.


Set against the beauty of the Northern California coast, The Ritz-Carlton Spa in Half Moon Bay is the ultimate wellness retreat. The spa menu is fairly extensive and all treatments aim to rejuvenate the mind, body and spirit. The signature treatments are pretty inventive, especially the Pumpkin Facial and the Ocean Mist Stone Ritual. Also in Half Moon Bay is the Oceano Hotel and Spa. As one of the area's leading luxury hotels, Oceano is the perfect place to kick back and relax for a few days. The property has an eco-conscious focus, so all of the spa treatments feature organic products and custom bond essential oils.


Golf: In San Mateo County/Silicon Valley, ocean views are par for the course.


Golf is a popular pastime for many Northern Californians, and for good reason. With views of the Pacific Ocean in the distance, we can't think of a more inspiring backdrop. One of San Mateo County/Silicon Valley's premier golf courses is Half Moon Bay Golf Links. The grounds are part of The Ritz-Carlton Half Moon Bay property, making it very convenient if you are a hotel guest. The Georgian revival estate has 36 holes with unrestricted views of the ocean. If you happen to be a birder, keep an eye out for a slew of rare and exotic species.


See all that San Mateo County/Silicon Valley has to offer and plan your trip now.