Big San Jose hotel sets early April reopening, ends one-year shutdown

Owner of Signia by Hilton hotel in San Jose says early April date is “firm”

Big San Jose hotel sets early April reopening, ends one-year shutdown

PUBLISHED:  | UPDATED: 

SAN JOSE — A big hotel in downtown San Jose that’s been closed for about a year has set a “firm date” for early April to reopen its doors to guests and is already taking reservations, the lodging’s owner says.

Signia by Hilton, a double-tower hotel at 170 S. Market St. — formerly the location of the Fairmont San Jose — is slated to open the first week in April, said Sam Hirbod, the principal owner of the landmark lodging place.

“April 7 is the opening date. That is firm,” Hirbod said. “We are taking reservations now.”

The new hotel, located near the downtown San Jose convention center, also intends to offer unique dining and drinking experiences that the owners hope will be a magnet for both out-of-town visitors and people who live in Silicon Valley and other parts of the Bay Area.

“We have elevated the culinary experience in the lounge, the restaurants and for banquets,” Hirbod said. “We want people to have a reason to come to the hotel for the culinary experience alone.”

In March 2021, the former hotel toppled into bankruptcy and closed its doors, saying that coronavirus-linked business shutdowns and travel restrictions had squeezed its finances.

Signia by Hilton San Jose hotel at 170 S. Market St. in downtown San Jose. (Dai Sugano/Bay Area News Group)
Signia by Hilton San Jose hotel at 170 S. Market St. in downtown San Jose. (Dai Sugano/Bay Area News Group)

At the time of the bankruptcy, the hotel was operated by Accor Management. The Hirbod-led ownership group used the bankruptcy proceedings to both reorganize and revamp the hotel’s shattered finances, as well as oust Accor and bring in Hilton as operator and manager.

The hotel is now officially Signia by Hilton San Jose.

“Our doors will be open to guests and we will have all our services available,” Hirbod said. “We are incredibly excited to bring the value and the scale that San Jose deserves and needs in a hotel.”

The 805-room hotel has two towers. The first guests will stay in the southern tower while the rooms in the north tower are being fully renovated.

“We are now starting to see group and meeting business pick up throughout California, so the timing for the reopening is good,” said Alan Reay, president of Irvine-based Atlas Hospitality Group, which tracks the lodging market.

SAN JOSE, CA – February 15: An exterior view of Signia by Hilton San Jose, known for decades as the Fairmont San Jose, is photographed on Tuesday, Feb. 15, 2022, in San Jose, Calif. (Dai Sugano/Bay Area News Group) (Dai Sugano/Bay Area News Group)
SAN JOSE, CA – February 15: An exterior view of Signia by Hilton San Jose, known for decades as the Fairmont San Jose, is photographed on Tuesday, Feb. 15, 2022, in San Jose, Calif. (Dai Sugano/Bay Area News Group) (Dai Sugano/Bay Area News Group)

All the amenities that are located in the north tower will be available to guests, even while rooms are being renovated.

“The fitness center and the pool area will be open when the hotel opens,” Hirbod said. “The fitness center is three times larger than it was before.”

The hotel will undertake a floor-by-floor renovation of all of the rooms in the northern tower, which is the older of the two high-rises in the hotel.

“The north tower will start to open in stages after April 7,” Hirbod said. “It will open in stages as the renovations are completed.”

The reopening of the Signia by Hilton and how the hotel fares in downtown San Jose are likely to be closely watched by industry experts.

“We are incredibly encouraged by the interest and grateful for the bookings we are seeing,” Hirbod said. “Signia’s approach is to welcome the entire community, San Jose, the Bay Area, business as well as leisure travelers, both national and international.”

Downtown San Jose is primarily a market for business travel and conventions, two sectors that were particularly devastated by the effects of the coronavirus.

The hotel’s performance at a time when the economy is beginning to reopen — and in a period of inflation and soaring gasoline prices — could be a key barometer for how well the lodging market is recovering in Silicon Valley.

The Signia by Hilton won’t necessarily attract booming business right away or even for the rest of this year, but a significant upswing is likely in the future, Reay said.

“It will still be a little slow through 2022,” Reay said, “but the return to work and businesses getting back to meetings and conventions, combined with the Hilton affiliation, should bode very well for the new Signia.”

About the author