When Vernon Morales and Boris Portnoy’s Winterland closed down a couple of years ago, we worried that the city was no place for an experimental chef (it was one of the city’s most experimental kitchens and loved by the industry, but unfortunately not loved by a certain close-minded critic). But Boris Portnoy has successfully resurfaced at Campton Place, where he runs the pastry program with a little help from Matt Tinder, formerly of Brick. Before he left last fall, Peter Rudolph carried the experimental torch in the savory arena, with unusual and clever flavor combinations, textures, and presentations.
Gorgonzola Popovers with Pear Saffron Pearls, Toast, and Honey Sorbet
Carrot and Coconut Ravioli with Avocado Semi-Freddo and Spiced Tangerine Sorbet
The Palace Hotel has classic hotel glam and comfort, plus a beautiful pool, a great workout room, and a stately events space that’s great for a party. There are a variety of dining options, and Chef Jesse Llapitan serves fun, accessible food (sit in the atrium and have some duck confit mac n’ cheese), plus the Ferry Plaza market is just a few blocks away.
An old school glam (high ceilings, marble, wood, and gold) lobby gives way to nicely modern rooms in this hotel located smack-dab on Union Square. Rooms are plush and comfortable, decorated with dark wood furniture. Half of the two towered building has been re-done – the aforementioned modern rooms are in the newer half; the old style is evident in the private event rooms, which are ornately decorated with mirrors, patterned carpets, and gold. The hotel offers some great dining options – a full-service restaurant, plus Michael Mina conveniently located right above the lobby.
A stay at the Mandarin Oriental San Francisco offers the ultimate in luxury; the rooms are situated high above the city, in the top 11 floors of the 48-floor building, and the dramatic city views are an incredible way to take it all in. Inside you’ll find a number of distinct touches, including spacious rooms with plush goose down bedding, complimentary bottled water, and Molton Brown bath products (ahhhh...). For dining options, Chef Adam Mali makes some of our favorite brunch dishes at the hotel’s Brasserie S&P—tangy Dungeness Crab Louis or bright pickled herring with crispy rye bread—while Mixologist Priscilla Young creates the perfect in-room experience with her DIY gin & tonic set, complete with a mini bottle of local distillery St. George gin.
Kensington Park provides fantastic quality and location (Union Square) for the price. Rooms are small but the beds are great, and Mark Franz’s seafood restaurant, Farallon, is downstairs. The restaurant is known for its wild, sweeping design and expansive selection of the coast’s best fish, crustaceans and bivalves.
Hotel Rex is a small, cozy boutique hotel one block from Union Square. The 94 rooms are cozy and bright, with eclectic decorations. Prices are super reasonable for the location, and include a daily free glass of wine at Café Andree between 5-6pm.
Down the hill from Union Square and headed towards Ferry Plaza, with ample meeting space and business rooms and simple, unobtrusive room design, Hotel Nikko caters to conventions and travelers looking for a great location for a decent price.
Located right in the heart of historic, touristy Ghiradelli Square, The Fairmont Heritage Place offers one, two, and three bedroom residences with all the comforts of home. Appointed with luxury bedding and amenities, a working fire place in the living room, in-room washer and dryer, and a full kitchen it’s easy to imagine a chef spending extended stays here. The communal patio is a lovely place to sit around the fire pit with a glass of wine and observe the happenings of the square just below. And for those who just can’t tear themselves away, The Fairmont Heritage Place is also a private residence club with ownership options.
Situated in Nob Hill, just blocks away from San Francisco’s lively Chinatown is The Fairmont Luxury Hotel & Resort. Construction on the now historic hotel was completed amidst the great San Francisco earthquake and fire of 1906 and soon became home to debutant balls and was the hub of Bay Area socialite activities; more recently the property served as the set of the popular 1980s television series Hotel. Today the hotel is as sophisticated and elegant as ever with breathtaking chandeliers in the lobby and Jacuzzi tubs in the luxurious rooms. For a fun and unusual dining experience check out the scene at the Tonga Room and Hurricane Bar, where Chef Marc Passetti's Pacific Rim cuisine fits the faux thunderstorms that rain down in the middle of the tiki-themed dining room.
The Galleria Park Hotel is a fun and funky Joie de Vivre property with a hip, young vibe. Brightly colored velvet couches sit on a vibrant print rug in the lobby and the rooms have lime green walls. Located right near Union Square and just blocks away from the Metro, the location can’t be beat. Grab a cocktail in the bustling downstairs bar of Midi or head upstairs to the chic dining room for a bite. Chef Michelle Mah prepares simple, tasty food like a roasted beet salad with feta.
Located blocks away from Union Square and dead in the center of San Francisco’s downtown, Hotel Vertigo is a great budget option. The stylish lobby is decorated with orange sofas and curtains, white plaster statues of animals, and large wood coffee tables in natural forms. The rooms are decorated in a similar fashion with orange leather chairs and modern furniture. Complementary wireless Internet, access to a nearby fitness club, and iPod docks round out the experience.
Every city visitor should take a peak inside the majestic Clift Hotel’s lobby. Located just above Union Square’s shopping district, and designed by Philippe Starck, the soaring lobby contains an acclaimed furniture collection complete with chairs from Ray and Charles Eames, a coffee table by Salvador Dali, a surreal stool by Renee Marguerite , and a custom-made sculpture by William Sawaya. Overnight guests won’t be disappointed, either—the artistic wonderland continues inside the hotel’s sweeping rooms. The colorful purple-accented bedrooms host their own funky Starck furniture, luxurious king size beds, and Malin + Goetz bath amenities.
The San Francisco branch of this elegant hotel group lives up to its reputation. Tucked into an alley behind Market Street, it offers proximity to Union Square, the Westfield Shopping Center, and the Embarcadero. A chandelier-clad lobby greets visitors, setting the tone for graceful rooms complete with floor-to-ceiling windows, marble baths with deep tubs, and complimentary newspapers. And the hotel’s Seasons restaurant, run by Chef Mark Richardson, provides sweeping views of the city alongside a menu packed with famers market finds.
The award-winning Hotel Monaco was recently updated and is now outfitted with modernized, Moroccan-inspired rooms: bright blues offset ethnic prints, metal accents, and woodwork furnishings, and sweeping canopy beds fill the rooms. The enormous marble bathroom offers a relaxing Jacuzzi tub, C.O. Bigelow bath products, and cozy robes. An inviting lobby encourages guests to leave these comforts for a morning coffee and tea reception (including a tempting hot chocolate spread) and the complimentary evening wine hour. For more filling options, Chef Alicia Jenish is bringing fresh perspective to the property’s historic Grand Café with a variety of whole animal preparations and updated classics, including her delicious goat mixed grill.
Experience a taste of old San Francisco in one of the city’s more refined hotels, the InterContinental Mark Hopkins. Perched atop of Nob Hill, this elegant hotel still houses the same grandeur as it did during its opening in 1926. A decadent lobby shows off gilded mirrors, chandeliers, and opulent décor. The neoclassical designed rooms feature magnificent views of the city, along with rich wooden furniture, spa tubs, and Frette bathrobes. To catch even more of the city, guests can enjoy the hotel’s sky lounge, Top of the Mark, where panoramic views are on daily display for breakfast, lunch, and cocktails.
As the first LEED-EB certified hotel in the city, The Orchard Hotel offers travelers an eco-conscious, “green” experience, along with a location central to both Union Square’s shopping district and the culinary charms of Nob Hill. The hotel’s interior features sustainably harvested wood and low-emission paint. Along with those touches, the rooms are large and organic bath products are offered with loving care. The lobby’s Daffodil Restaurant offers simple, comforting options, with Kitchen Manager Linus Lee’s take on California’s organic produce.
Like most impressive Omni properties, the San Francisco location offers luxury rooms, top-notch service, and modern amenities. A grandiose lobby welcomes guests with chandeliers and old-school charm; the stately rooms include plush bedding, roomy marble bathrooms, and Omni bath products. The ideal downtown location puts travelers a step away from a cable car ride and Union Square shopping, and the Financial District and Embarcadero are all a short walk away.
A refreshing change from the corporate lodgings of downtown San Francisco, the W Hotel San Francisco exudes cool. The loungey three-story first floor houses the popular nightlife spot Upstairs Drink Boutique and the hotel’s restaurant Trace, where Chefs Paul Piscopo and Alaun Grimaud offer a menu of seasonal, local produce. Located in the heart of the SoMa district, the hotel neighbors with the Museum of Modern Art and Yerba Buena Gardens, and is a short walk away from Union Square’s shops, the Financial District, or the Embarcadero waterfront. Inside amidst the modern, funky décor of the rooms, you’ll find Bliss bath products, a 32-inch flat screen plasma TV, an Apple iPod docking station, and fun touches like Chinese checkers. Guests can also unwind with a dip in the outdoor heated lap pool.
The chic and modern Hotel Diva is located in the hub of San Francisco’s Union Square surrounded by shopping, theaters, and blocks away from the Moscone Convention Center, Chinatown, and the Embarcadero. Upon arrival, stroll past the diva sidewalk of fame—featuring signatures of celebrity guests—and into the modern yet, sophisticated lobby. Sexy custom shades and stainless steel sculpted headboards set the stage in your room, for your own diva experience. Guests can take advantage of the artist-designed diva lounges, 24-hour fitness center, newly remodeled business center and Starbucks located just off the lobby. Before hitting the nearby theaters and nightclubs, indulge in authentic Central Mexican tapas at the Colibrí Restaurant, located in the lobby. Hotel Diva promises a stylish and diva-worthy experience during your stay in San Francisco.