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Pacific Meeting Guide: San Mateo County

Courtesy Silicon Valley CVB

San Mateo County, Calif., can’t be typecast.

Among its citizens are golfers and Google executives, surfer dudes and sustainable-farming experts.
A collection of small towns and villages, the county stretches down a 60-mile-long peninsula that sits between the San Francisco Bay and the Pacific Ocean.

San Mateo County is an important player in the San Francisco metro area, home to the San Francisco International Airport and Stanford University. Silicon Valley and its technology leaders — Google, Facebook and Oracle, for starters — also make their homes there.

This past June, the U.S. Open was held at the San Mateo’s Olympic Club, the fifth time the major golf tournament had been played on that course.

It’s no wonder then that San Mateo County is also a major meeting place. There are more than 16,000 guest rooms in 170 properties, including 30 convention hotels.

Having the San Francisco airport in the county has always been a boon to meeting business, but as hotel rates have risen in major cities, including San Francisco, outlying destinations like San Mateo County have benefited, according to Ann LeClair, president and CEO of the San Mateo County/Silicon Valley Convention and Visitors Bureau.

“For some planners whose groups want San Francisco, the rates downtown are now out of their attendees’ reach,” she said. “With our area’s lower rates, traditionally an average of $60 less than San Francisco per night, and the proximity to San Francisco, we are the perfect answer.”

The area’s hotels are constantly being upgraded. Among those recently improved is the DoubleTree San Francisco Burlingame, where a project completed in August renovated guest rooms and public areas, added a new bar and restaurant and expanded a ballroom.

Planners and attendees see further cost savings because most convention hotels in San Mateo County offer free airport shuttle service. Those who want to venture into San Francisco can hop aboard BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit) for a short ride across the bay.

Many visitors find there’s enough to do in San Mateo County though. On the Pacific side, they can watch surfers and take whale watch tours. On the bay side, there are boat tours as well as abundant views of San Francisco.