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The Luxe List
Carolyne Zinko | Photo: Courtesy of Rosewood Hotel | January 18, 2019
Here are the best experts, most elegant places and truly elevated services in Silicon Valley in 2019.
STYLE & BEAUTY
There’s no shortage of clothiers, salons and doctors to keep Valley residents looking like the best of the best. The Rosewood Sand Hill spa is favored by locals for its proximity to Interstate 280.
Best Women's Couture: Lily Samii
Lily Samii is the queen of Bay Area couture. She opened shop in 1969 and serves clients who avoid the society spotlight, favoring unique pieces that run in the thousands of dollars. She says the hallmark of her work is its construction, which is as thorough on the inside as it is on the outside; although it’s easy to spot one of her gowns on gala night, with an emphasis on color and volume. 210 Post St., #804, San Francisco
Best Custom Jeweler: Stephen Silver
Since 1980, Silver’s wholesale manufacturing enterprise has done global business; in 2006 and 2012, he opened separate retail boutiques in Menlo Park with independent Swiss watch lines favored by Valley execs such as MB&F, De Bethune and Greubel Forsey ($300,000 to $1.5 million) and custom jewelry for women (including a recently created $4 million emerald bracelet). As an estate jeweler as well, Silver’s donation of the Cullinan blue diamond necklace (5.32 carats of nine blue diamonds and 243 other diamonds) to the Smithsonian in 2010 shows he’s not just focused on price points, but philanthropy too. 2825 Sand Hill Road, Menlo Park
Best Resort Spa Experience: Rosewood Sand Hill Hotel
Unless they’re traveling for pleasure, busy Silicon Valley entrepreneurs and philanthropists don’t have time to lounge at a coastside hotel with a drink and wait for a caviar facial—they’re too health-conscious to waste the calories, or their money on something that has no measurable results.That’s why the low-key Rosewood Sand Hill is the go-to for spa treatments: You bask in the quiet of the five-star hotel (no tourists or bridal parties to disturb you), get a soak and a massage, and you’re back at home within minutes, leaving the long freeway drive to Napa or Carmel to those who don’t mind battling Bay Area traffic, now rated the fifth-worst in the world. 2825 Sand Hill Road, Menlo Park
Best Cosmetic Dentist: Dr. Alan Malouf
Dr. Alan Malouf ’s client list, if he could go public, contains some of the Bay Area’s and state’s leading social, business and government figures, but discretion is as important as pearly white, straight teeth and healthy gums. The Hillsborough native, who assists patients with odd-hours dental emergencies, also comes through on the social front, giving patients tickets to 80 San Francisco Giants baseball games per year (with seats in the AAA Club level) and to his personal Box B at the San Francisco Opera too. 450 Sutter St., #320, San Francisco
Best Cosmetic Dermatologist: Dr Seth Matarasso
Allergan confirms Dr. Seth Matarasso is the top individual practitioner of cosmetic Botox in the nation by volume, and it’s easy to understand why he’s so busy. His artistry with needles and faces is unparalleled, which is why the clinical professor of dermatology lectures around the nation and why VIPS flock to his Union Square San Francisco office (through a private entrance, of course). 490 Post St., #700
Best Plastic Surgeon: Dr. Seung Kim
Palo Alto Dr. Seung Kim is a Stanford-trained surgeon who was an assistant professor of plastic surgery from 1983 to 1987 and has been on the clinical faculty ever since. He’s favored for his natural aesthetic, and, as evidenced on his website, is sought out for his deft touch with Asian eyelids, as well as for breast-and brow-lifts. 1515 El Camino Real, Ste. F, Palo Alto
Best Medical Concierge: Stanford Concierge Medicine
Ranking among the top 10 hospitals nationwide by US News & World Report, Stanford Hospital is a leader in treatment of cancer, cardiology, endocrinology, gynecology, geriatrics and more. Concierge Medicine assigns a doctor to patients for around-the-clock attention; makes house calls within a 10-mile radius; and works to coordinate the scheduling of appointments, prescriptions, and billing and insurance matters. 900 Wilbur Blake Drive, Palo Alto
Best Men's Tailoring: Ezra Cayman Bespoke Couture
This under-the-radar stylist and clothier boasts a network of accessory-makers and tailors in the United States, Italy and London’s Savile Row, and provides in-home custom wardrobe service said to be more cost-efficient than luxury stores. Looking good is important to his Hollywood, sports and Silicon Valley clients, but so is the bottom line, according to the website’s testimonials from Oracle’s Larry Ellison; eBay’s first president, Jeff Skoll; and DirecTV CEO Mike White, among others.
HEALTH & FITNESS
Successful entrepreneurs know that staying fit assists not only with health, but in keeping themselves at peak performance at work as well. Our mild climate is another incentive for outdoor activities year-round.
Best Trainer to the Stars: The Happy Body
Jerzy and Aniela Gregorek, two Polish weightlifting world record-holders, are Silicon Valley’s fitness gurus with their The Happy Body program, which focuses on a daily 30-minute regimen to boost strength, flexibility and health.Their mantra of “easy choices, hard life; hard choices, easy life” appeals to clients who can absorb the idea that food and drink are not to be one’s main pleasures in life—clients like angel investor Naval Ravikant, venture capitalist James Nicholas and The 4-Hour Workweek author Tim Ferriss, who have all seen measurable, long-lasting results. Introductory session $750, $275 per session thereafter
Best Private Gym: Rosewood Sand Hill Hotel
Everyone’s home gym is the best, of course, but if you have to leave the house, the Rosewood Hotel—a gathering spot for Silicon Valley’s venture capitalists—has a fitness center with top-flight personal trainers in yoga, Pilates, kickboxing and weightlifting. It’s available to hotel guests, natch, but also to a small group of local residents (capped at 85) who are willing to pay a $10,000-per-year lifestyle membership fee. Class and personal training fees are extra. 2825 Sand Hill Road, Menlo Park
Best Golf Course: Rosewood Cordevalle
Tucked into a valley with wild turkeys roaming on 1,700 acres in the hills of San Martin, just south of San Jose, CordeValle resort was recently ranked the best in Northern California in a survey of Conde Nast readers, and its award-winning Robert Trent Jones Jr. golf course is part of the allure. Its team of golf butlers will coordinate bites and sips on the green, shine shoes, return your clubs postgame or even schedule a massage at the spa to work out kinks after an 18-hole round.
Best Custom Fragrances: Yosh Han
Yosh Han has created custom scents for opera star Renee Fleming, for Boonville author Robert Mailer Anderson (a scent named Box G for his seats at the opera), and for author WilliamT.Vollmann (Carnage is a blend of rosewood, lemongrass, blue tansy, sage and cypress inspired by his seven-volume treatise on violence).The Pepperdine grad was raised by a mother who was an ikebana master and a father who was an herbalist/ acupuncturist; she does consultations at her San Francisco studio using chakras, numerology and energy vibrations. Personalized perfumes run $500 and up.
Best Pregnancy Center: Lucile Packard Children's Hospital
Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital is among the few in the country, and the only in the Bay Area, to offer obstetric, neonatal and developmental medicine services in one place, delivering 4,400 babies each year, according to its website.The hospital’s mother and baby center is undergoing transformations that include private postpartum suites, more labor experience options and a more relaxing environment with art and other amenities. 725 Welch Road, Palo Alto,
Most In Demand Hair Stylist: Alex Chases
Socialites and C-suite executive book Alex Chases a year in advance of important occasions for his meticulous work: He can look at someone’s face, skin tone and body proportions, and know what color and cut will work with their complexions and body shape. He never flakes out on an appointment, despite his workload, and is at his Rosewood Hotel salon in Menlo Park on Mondays and in San Francisco at his Union Square salon the other four days, tending to clients who tend to tap on their laptops during appointments. Multiple locations,
PETS & VETS
For fur babies that need love and attention (like the rest of us), here are two recommended spots.
High-End Dog Grooming: Barking Lot
The Barking Lot in Los Altos is a local favorite, yet draws people from across the Peninsula and San Jose for thorough grooming of dogs that includes scented shampoo, shaving, blow-drying and even dog-walking and treats. Owners say their pets not only look younger, but look happier when they emerge with their new hairdos. 385 First St., 650.949.1870
Vets Specialists: Sage Vet Center
Anesthesiology, cardiology, dermatology, neurology, oncology and 24-hour emergency services—you name it, Sage Vet Center has it covered for your fur babies. Redwood City and Campbell
WINE & FOOD
Area gourmands take precisely plated farm-to-table cuisine as seriously as oenophiles regard the collection of fine wines. There are nine restaurants with Michelin stars in Silicon Valley.
Best Multicourse Tasting Menu: Manresa
David Kinch, one of the nation’s more important chefs, created a three-Michelin-starred restaurant in one of the most casual cities in the Bay Area. His new American cuisine cultivates the bounty of the region, from local milk panna cotta with abalone to roe deer slices with roasted shallots to squid with fermented plums and carrots. $275 per person, $220 per person wine pairing also available, 320 Village Lane, Los Gatos
Best Indulgent Wine Flights: Vintage Wine Merchants
Don’t let its location in an outdoor mall fool you—Vintage Wine Merchants at Santana Row is a serious place to sip serious wines. Flights start at $20, but its Coravin tasting menu with 3-ounce pours features 2013 BondVecina proprietary red wine, Napa Valley ($115), 2014 Masseto Toscana IGT ($130); and 2011 Domaine Jacques Prieur Musigny grand cru ($145), among others. 377 Santana Row, #1135, San Jose
Most Luxurious Wine List: The Village Pub
Woodside’s The Village Pub— which is not a pub, nor in a village—is the go-to for quiet ambience and elegant meals. Its 98-page wine list under Wine and Spirits Director Andrew Green earned a Wine Spectator Grand Award in 2017, with bottles of Domaine de la Romanée-Conti 2014 Romanée-Conti ($16,500), Château Mouton Rothschild 1982 Pauillac ($3,000), and California cult-favorite Screaming Eagle 2011 Oakville cabernet at a downright affordable $2,500. 2967 Woodside Road
Most Expensive Menu: Baumé
Four tables. Eight diners.That’s the privacy and attention that guests at Baumé, the two-Michelin-starred Palo Alto restaurant, are afforded by chef Bruno Chemel and his wife, Christie, Wednesday through Saturdays.Their eight- course lunches and dinners might include golden Osetra caviar on two asparagus spears overlaid with squares of yuzu and parsley paper, a 62-degree egg with serrano ham and artichoke puree, or foie gras shaped like a trompe l’oeil strawberry ($398 per person, with wine pairings for an extra $370 per person)—a sumptuous way to relax or mark a special occasion. 201 California Ave.
Best Master Sommelier: Dennis Kelly
Dennis Kelly spent 12 years as head sommelier at Thomas Keller’s The French Laundry in Yountville, tasting some of the finest wines the world has ever produced before becoming an owner-operator of Protégé in Palo Alto with The French Laundry veteran chef Anthony Secviar. Kelly’s empirical knowledge of wines and genial disposition are part of the reason Protégé is the hottest restaurant right now in Silicon Valley.250 California Ave., Palo Alto
ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT
Where fine arts, fine conversation and fine design are concerned, there's one thing that unites in Silicon Valley: the intellet. People take pleasure in a deep-seated understanding of their hobbies and causes.
Best Environmental Event: Goldman Prize
Brothers John and Doug Goldman, who live in Atherton, and their sister, Susie Gelman, on the East Coast, are the family behind the world’s biggest environmental award, the Goldman Environmental Prize, the Nobel of the green world.The prize, created by their parents, the late Richard and Rhoda Goldman, is bestowed at San Francisco’s War Memorial Opera House (followed by a visit to the White House) on six grassroots activists on six continents who stand up to pollution-spewing companies or government policies that foul the land, sea and air and cause cancer and other illnesses for humans.
Best Arts Event: Museums by Moonlight
Stanford University has blossomed as a cultural hub, with the opening of Bing Concert Hall and the Anderson Collection modern art museum near the Cantor Arts Center in recent years.The biggest fundraiser for this culture cluster is the biennial Rodin by Moonlight, renamed Museums by Moonlight for 2019, drawing the region’s deepest pockets for a dinner amid the Rodin sculpture garden under the full moon every other September. 328 Lomita Drive, Stanford
Best Private Social Club: Vanessa Hood's The Salon
Yale poli-sci majorVanessa Hood, who holds a master’s in war studies from King’s College of London, lives in Los Altos Hills and is the founder of the Salon, an event at which women gather to have conversations about art, global affairs, spirituality and fashion— anything but tech. For some, that’s relief in this monoculture, where tech talk is what residents hear on hiking trails, at the gym and see driving past billboards on the freeway.
Best Art Adviser: Tatiana Maratchi-Legrain
Young techies will spend $100,000 on a Tesla, but six figures for a piece of art throws them for a loop. With the expansion of San Francisco’s Museum of Modern Art and top tech execs joining area fine-arts boards, new collectors are being curated with the help of people like Tatiana Maratchi-Legrain, who holds degrees in law and arts administration; worked at Sotheby’s and the Swiss Antonio Saura Foundation; teaches art investment at Stanford; and consults with corporate and private collectors including doctors, lawyers, asset managers, venture capitalists and others.
Tech execs' interest in design goes beyond circuit boards to amazing vehicles, which is why so many of them collect antique and supercharged race cars and rely on extra garage space when it gets too crowded at home.
Vintage Car Dealer: Bruce Canepa
Former race car driver Bruce Canepa opened his Scotts Valley headquarters in 2006 and is known for his wide range of collector vehicles, as well as service, restoration and vintage motor sports preparation. For those who want an 800-horsepower 1987 Porsche 959SC, an all-original 1965 Chevrolet Corvette Split Window or even a 1958 Scarab MkII Sports Racer, Canepa is the one to beat. 4900 Scotts Valley Drive, Scotts Valley
Vintage Restoration: Virage Racing and The Pit Stop Automotive
Raffi Najjarian founded The Pit Stop in Brisbane (near SFO) in 1990; it’s a home for restoration and sales of European classic cars. He has completed restorations for award-winning national and international car shows, including the Pebble Beach Concours, Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este, Hillsborough Concours d’Elegance and the Cavallino Classic. 340 Industrial Way
Luxury Car Storage: Autovino
Wine and wheels go hand in hand at AutoVino, a state-of-the-art facility for securing prized possessions. Its 20,000 square feet of space offers temperature-controlled storage for wine (with a winery and meeting rooms) and for cars, important for preventing molding or drying out of leather interiors, insect infestations and rusting of metals in those Ferraris, McLarens, Lamborghinis, Rolls-Royces and other collector favorites. 205 Constitution Drive, Menlo Park
The drive to excel is strong among Valley adults, who also expect their kids to achieve too. Concierge services help with lifestyle management, while a few other activities help them recharge, if not play.
Best Lifestyle Concierge: Gwen Books
There are national concierge services with local chapters, but Gwen Books, an executive assistant for 18 years, is head of her own Lifestyle Management in Menlo Park, which works with tech CEOs, venture capitalists and others to streamline and organize their lives and off-duty pursuits.Thanks to a global roster of experts, she helps with everything from the hiring of personal chefs, contractors and estate planners to finding local or international venues for dinner parties or vacation villas where her high net worth clients are guaranteed to be safe—and can arrange an African safari for a VIP and his/her entourage (complete with air-conditioned RV in the bush), get tickets to a sold-out concert in London and, naturally, procure you an Elvis impersonator for a birthday bash.
Best Yacht Charter: Northrop-Johnson Yacht Charters
This is the firm discerning Silicon Valley concierges choose for clients, because owner Missy Johnston has traveled on every yacht she charters, is well-acquainted with all her captains and crew and is knowledgeable about seasonal weather and wave conditions in different parts of the world, ensuring ships have stabilizers to prevent motion sickness in rough waters (in the Galapagos Islands in winter, for instance). Moreover, she knows which ships can travel in which waters (yachts are not allowed to land just anywhere), has liability insurance and relationships with officials in many world ports—which helps her assist clients who might inadvertently run into trouble on their journeys.
Best Jet Charter: CTP Aviation
For domestic flights, CTP Aviation is an insider’s pick. Located at Hayward Executive Airport in the East Bay, it can, depending on time of day and traffic, be more easily accessed than San Francisco International or San Jose International. Hard to ignore are its fleet of Bombardier Challenger 300/350s, Falcon 2000EX and Citation XLS+ jets boasts a flawless record (no accidents or FAA violations); the lack of landing or ramp fees (SFO $625, SJC $290) and a policy that allows well-behaved dogs and cats in carriers. 19995 Skywest Drive, #C, Hayward
Best Custom Surfboard: Ventana Surfboards & Supplies, Santa Cruz
South Africa-native Martijn Stiphout, the co-founder, master craftsman and board-design visionary of Ventana Surfboards & Supplies, earned a degree in marine biology in Monterey and tracked debris in the ocean on a research vessel. He turned to building surfboards with sustainable and reclaimed materials to help the Earth—and, in doing so, makes pieces of gorgeous usable art, with his custom hollow wooden surfboards. $6,000-$15,000
Best Custom Bicycle: Cognition Cyclery
Tech executives are hardworking on the job—and after work too—as Iron Man competitors and triathletes, and Cognition is their choice as the premiere bicycle shop with a large Specialized concept store (a partnership with Specialized Bikes of Morgan Hill).This collaborative effort allows Cognition to host invitation- only events at its flagship San Mateo store, where top-end limited-edition models such as the the just-released S-Works Shiv Disc 2019 ($14,000) sell out quickly. 66 E. Fourth Ave., San Mateo
Best VIP Staffing: Nancy McIlvaine Placements
Having an assistant in your home involves serious trust and more than recommendations from a friend’s personal assistant—imagine finding your assistant on Instagram and your art collection exposed because it was used in his/her background shot? Nancy McIlvaine takes on only three to four clients at a time to find them the best: a chief of staff who leads employees at multiple properties around the globe, a property manager who can manage a vineyard, an imperturbable personal assistant with a law degree and a traveling private chef with a nutrition degree.
Private Education Consultant and Admissions Counselor: AJ Tutors and College Counseling Associates
In Silicon Valley, it’s not just techies who are pressured to perform; teens feel the squeeze to get into elite universities, and parents often keep their child’s tutor a secret to maintain a competitive advantage over other pupils. AJ Tutor helps students with class work and test-taking, while College Counseling helps with college applications, and both are located in downtown Menlo Park; fans say these consultants help students feel less intimidated by SATs and ACTs, and more comfortable with the college application process. Either hourly fees or a set fee for multiple years of service, multiple locations, ajtutoring.com; 724 Oak Grove, #100
Best Travel Tour: Stanford Travel Study
The intelligentsia turn to Stanford Travel Study for enlightenment and journeys to more than 80 countries per year, with Stanford faculty-led lectures and on-site learning with regional experts and local guides, and access to places travelers can’t go without being on tour. The program marks its 50th anniversary this year with upcoming jaunts to Antarctica, Peru and Kenya, where an anthropologist guides guests to the Maasai Mara National Reserve in Kenya to view mountain gorillas and golden monkeys in Rwanda. Tours open to the public, not just Stanford alumni
The California landscape inspires residents to an indoor-outdoor lifestyle, while technology and innovation drive modern design and eco-friendly practices. And for indulgent lairs, the sky’s the limit—if the budget is too.
Best Starchitect: Stan Field
South Africa’s Stan Field has worked in three countries and was the chief architect for the city of Jerusalem before becoming a visiting lecturer at UC Berkeley and moving to Palo Alto. As noted on the firm’s website, Field and his son, Jess, believe that site, landscape and wildlife form the basis for each project and build on that context for their client’s aspirations, taking sustainability, materials and place- making into consideration— resulting in award-winning and stunning designs for residential homes, wineries, institutional buildings and urban planning projects. 974 Commercial St., #104
Best Special Room Designer: Ken Fulk Inc.
What interior designer and branding consultant Ken Fulk lacks in formal training, he makes up in imagination and execution for clients who enjoy the theatrical and immersive home environments he creates, whether an English pub as a man cave or a summer compound with an old- time fishing camp theme. “He imagines design like an Old World theater director,” Alexis Traina told the San Francisco Chronicle in 2014,“where every single detail is a rich, sensory experience that tells a piece of a great story hatched by Ken and his clients.” 310 Seventh St., San Francisco
Originally published in the January/February issue of Silicon Valley