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Epiphany Hotel Palo Alto, as described by Commune Hotels CEO Niki Leondakis

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Patrick May of The Merc writes:

It must have been something Niki Leondakis saw or tasted or heard as a young girl flitting about her Greek grandma's restaurant that first spawned her love for the hospitality industry. Whatever it was that struck her about Charlie's Diner, celebrated as the first stainless-steel eatery in Western Massachusetts, it stuck.

Today, as CEO of San Francisco-based Commune Hotels & Resorts, Leondakis has become one of the country's most prominent women in the leisure and travel business. And with 38 hotels in three countries already under her command, including the oh-so-hip Joie de Vivre chain of boutique inns, Leondakis is about to cut the ribbon at Palo Alto's sleek new Epiphany Hotel. She says the sexy tech-inspired luxury property practically oozes the Silicon Valley zeitgeist.

"We really tried to connect with the culture of Palo Alto,'' says Leondakis. "And I think the Epiphany captures the whole entrepreneurial startup attitude, with all the optimism, vitality and curiosity that people in Silicon Valley are known for.''

Will have to try the Epiphany sometime:

Its design is all about discovery, new ideas, everything that Palo Alto stands for. It's about opening up your mind, about new insights, and things like the light installation on the mezzanine level -- designed by the innovation and design firm IDEO -- combines the art and digital worlds.

All of the public areas of the hotel were inspired by the startup mentality of Silicon Valley, designed for collaborative thinking and featuring meeting spaces that are open and flexible. And just like at many startups, you can write on the walls and even the windows!

Opening in March:

Q&A Commune Hotels CEO Niki Leondakis on Palo Alto s sleek new Epiphany Hotel San Jose Mercury News

Five Facts About Niki Leondakis

1. Has traveled more than 2 million miles on United Airlines over the last 10 years.2. When not traveling for business, she travels for pleasure -- hiking and trekking across the globe.3. She's an avid gardener.4. Does her best thinking while long-distance running.5. Has been known to do a cartwheel at company meetings.

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