The View From Your Window Contest: Winner #183


A reader writes:

First thought of Beijing, but then saw the palm trees. Mexico City and Santiago are both in the top 10 worst cities for smog and probably have palm trees, so I flipped a coin and Santiago it is.


I see cedars, what seems to be an Ottoman-era-inspired clock tower, and what appears to be Hebrew script (I’ve asked a Semitoliterate friend to check on that) on the blue building to the left. Maybe Haifa.


I initially wrote this week’s contest off as impossible, and maybe I should have stopped there. What convinced me to look was the Hebrew writing on the sign in the lower left, which narrows it down to … anywhere in the world with a significant Jewish population. But, the the mix of palm and pine trees is consistent with Jerusalem’s forested western edge, and the architecture isn’t too far off from some of the more modern neighborhoods. Plus, for some reason, this picture reminded me of the view overlooking the city from Yad Vashem.


This looks like Salalah, Dhofar Province, Oman during the Khareef (Indian Ocean Monsoon) season. Since many VFYW contest entries seem to be from hotel windows, I’m guessing from the Hamdan Plaza Hotel.

Another sounds the alarm:

Immaterial to my guess (Northern Coastal Spain?), someone needs to warn these people about what is clearly Godzilla emerging from the fog on the far right. Look out, folks!

Another gets the right city:

The Fairmont Hotel in San Jose, California? Sigh. I’m not even sure why I bother – I know someone is going to post the exact window and floor. But my husband said, “You might get on the list – send it in!” So here I go. Hats off to the person who wins by sending in the JFK-style diagrams of camera angles and such.

One such diagram:


Another reader:

This photo was taken from the Fairmont Hotel in San Jose, California. As for the room, that’s gonna be a bit of a guess. I’m thinking it’s somewehre on floors 10-15 and that it’s room position 23 or 28. I’ll guess it’s room 1428 (a suite, so maybe our submitter is living it up!).

Thanks for an easier one this week. I will admit I was slightly thrown off by what looked like Hebrew lettering on the blue building. Even when I figured out it was the San Jose Rep building, I was still adamant that it was Hebrew. Only when I looked on streetview did I see that it was the donors’ names in very tight lettering. Whoops!

The San Jose Rep sign really did this one in. I couldn’t read the word “rep” clearly, but knowing it said “San Jose”, my brain instantly recognized the fog and evergreens common in the valley. It just took a little searching to find that unique blue building and voila!


Thank you for throwing amateurs like me a bone here, with the words “San Jose Rep” appearing in the bottom left. It’s a repertory theater in San Jose, and the clock tower in the foreground is on the Paseo de San Antonio pedestrian walkway. The picture is taken from the Fairmont hotel facing South 1st street, I’ll say on the 14th floor.


As for the exact room number, I’ll never know how people come up with that, unless they stayed there themselves. I’ll guess it was taken somewhere around the ninth or tenth floor. Let’s say Room 924. The winner will no doubt have the exact room number and be able to tell you who stayed there on October 12, 2011, because it was them. Or somehow they have access to the floor plans and window views of each and every room in the place and have matched it with this picture. Kudos to them.

Thanks for this little contest, which takes me far afield most Saturdays.


You’re looking toward my house! The shot is taken from the downtown Fairmont Hotel, from an easterly window (I don’t know what floor – maybe 15 – leave that to the winner) above South 1st Street, looking SE over Paseo San Antonio. Below the fog and on the left some of San Jose State University campus is visible. And further beyond and center, me at South 16th – since 2000 when my partner convinced me to escape the fog of San Francisco and settle in the sunnier suburbs.


The Fairmont has 20 floors, so I’m guessing the 18th because the wall to the right keeps going up, so it’s not the top floor. Now it’s random guess time, so I say room 1824.

So very close. The winner this week:

After some tough contests lately, including my Stockholm window pic last week (which I didn’t expect to be so difficult), this was an easy one. San Jose is recognizable, if nondescript, even without seeing the San Jose Rep sign in the window pic. For a high floor shot with the clocktower and the San Jose Rep in the picture, it must be the Fairmont San Jose, 170 S. Market Street, San Jose, CA USA. This is confirmed by window shots on TripAdvisor and Yelp:

san jose fairmont view

But what exact room? Last week, your reigning champ came so close, guessing room 507 rather than 509, though from the exterior shots one wouldn’t guess there are five floors. The only way I imagine his making that guess is that someone on TripAdvisor said there was a good view from room 507.

I will guess room 1827, because someone reviewing the hotel on TripAdvisor stayed in that room.

From the submitter:

Well, I’m terrible at the competition, so I thought I’d try the other side. This picture is taken just now from room 1827 of the Fairmont Hotel in San Jose,CA. I tried to angle it to miss anything obvious, and the fog helps a lot.

One other reader guessed room 1827, but he is a first-time contestant, while the winner has participated in seven contests.