Final year, I wrote that the closing of the Fairmont Hotel was the conclude of an period for downtown San Jose. Properly, it is time to start off a new one particular, with the opening this week of the Signia by Hilton.

Yeah, it is heading to just take a when to get utilised to “Signia” as an alternative of “Fairmont,” but correct now we can be content to have a position to obtain throughout massive downtown gatherings like San Jose Jazz Summer season Fest, Christmas in the Park, the Veterans Working day Parade and Cinequest.

With the exception of some signal changes, the Sector Street lodge — which at first opened in 1987 — looks the exact same on the outside. But it’s a total new earth inside of with the renovated reception area and the lobby lounge, which is now identified as Aji Bar and Robata. The product columns and dance flooring of the Fairmont — a seem charitably explained as “old elegance” — has been replaced by wood-paneling, arched entry ways and a horseshoe-shaped bar in the centre complete with discreet shops to charge your phone.

SAN JOSE, CA – April 26: An inside watch of the principal entrance spot of Signia by Hilton San Jose is photographed on April 26, 2022, in San Jose, Calif. (Dai Sugano/Bay Region News Group) 

The old two-leading tables have been replaced by teams of cozy chairs and couches. There are tables exactly where the business-minded can crack out a laptop computer, a modern day “conversation pit” with a couch that could seat a party of 20, and a pair of large display screen TVs tucked absent. Taken together, it is like a relationship between late ’70s structure and 21st century performance.

The food stuff menu — devised by Executive Chef Hans Lentz, who formerly worked in Dubai and Hawaii — is infused with Latin and Asian flavors, from the hen wings cooked in a yuzu kosho honey glaze to the Wagyu beef sliders topped with fried avocado and queso fresco. The similar goes for the cocktails, like the mezcal-based mostly Negroni Rosita, the Margarita Picante (garnished with wasabi caviar on a plantain chip) and the Jap Martini, a just take on the Vesper that involves sake, citrus miso and chive oil.

You could possibly be in for post-pandemic sticker shock as all the cocktails on the menu are $17-$18 (and even a draft beer goes for $10-$11), but that looks to be becoming the new usual at better-stop joints. Also, it would be fantastic to insert a craft brew or two from 1 of the locals like Camino, Narrative Fermentations or Clandestine. Definitely, that would be far more fascinating for an out-of-city visitor than a Blue Moon or a Stella Artois.

SAN JOSE, CA – April 26: An interior view of Fountain Restaurant is photographed within Signia by Hilton San Jose on April 26, 2022, in San Jose, Calif. (Dai Sugano/Bay Location Information Group) 

The smooth renovation fits flawlessly with the vibe Hilton wants to generate with its elevated Signia manufacturer, but it in fact started out back in 2019 and was quite much complete when the pandemic shut every thing down in March 2020. The place was dim and unused for much more than two several years, as the lodge went into and out of individual bankruptcy above the earlier year.

But perhaps opening Aji now instead of then was really a blessing. We can keep independent our fond recollections of superior times at the Fairmont and get started making new ones at the Signia.

Shock COMMENDATION: The San Jose City Council introduced a commendation Tuesday to the Bay Region Household furniture Bank, a six-yr-previous nonprofit that delivers households in will need with marginally used furnishings donated by hotels, university campuses, tech organizations and other sources. The nonprofit, founded in 2016 by retired tech gross sales dude Ray Piontek, has diverted about 23,000 pieces of household furniture from heading to the landfill — around 1,400 tons that would fill up 56 rubbish vans.

Bay Space Household furniture Financial institution board member Joe Noonan was at the conference for that product, and when it concluded, San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo instructed him to stick all around. Noonan was introduced with an unexpected commendation for his do the job as an advocate and winner for San Jose. (It was unpredicted for Noonan, but I’m guessing not for the dozen followers, including his father, Joe Noonan Sr., who showed up at the council chambers.)