Article By Andrea Minarcek
Silicon Valley gets an infusion of french culture, craftiness, and coffee from this tiny community.
Welcome to boomtown
This Bay Area suburb has been seeing quite a lot of excitement lately. Boutiques fit for San Francisco’s hip Mission District are blossoming, a brand-new hotel opened its doors in February, and the Thursday-evening farmers’ market (through Sep) is more bustling than ever. So what’s behind all this activity? An ultra-private investment company, called Passerelle, started buying up property in downtown about five years ago, not long after Google cofounder Sergey Brin and his family moved to the area. Coincidence? No one involved is talking, so you decide.
A Night in Paris
“When this town was founded, locals were promised a bank, a mercantile, and a hotel—it only took 109 years for the hotel to arrive,” quips Abby Ahrens, a 30-year resident of Los Altos and the person responsible for Enchanté Boutique Hotel—the village’s first. The inn took over an empty lot on a covetable corner of Main Street, near the six-block triangle that makes up
the heart of downtown Los Altos. “I love this town, but I’ll never forget my travels in France, and I wanted to bring a little bit of that feeling to Los Altos,” Ahrens says. Indeed, many of the French antiques decorating the 19-room, pet-friendly inn are her own, including the vintage Napoleon Bonaparte–style hats on display in the on-site bistro, where guests are treated to a complimentary breakfast and afternoon repast of wine, cheese, and charcuterie. At the front desk, Ahrens’s Yorkshire terrier, Fleur de Lis, might greet you—almost like a canine concierge.