Luxury Hotels | San Francisco

What's the best luxury hotel in San Francisco? As with most cities, there is no single definitive answer to that question. There are many wonderful hotels in San Francisco, and your choice will depend upon your budget and priorities. This article will report on recent site visits I made at the St. Regis, the Four Seasons, and the Ritz-Carlton hotels in San Francisco. A future blog will report on the Mandarin Oriental, the Campton Place, and the Huntington Hotel.

The St. Regis Hotel, located right next door to the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (pictured to the left), is an ideal property if you wish to spend a day at the gallery. It's just a block from Mosconi Center, the location of many commercial exhibitions including MacWorld which takes places every January.

Like many St. Regis properties, this hotel has been designed with a clean, ultra-contemporary look in the lobby as well as the guest rooms. Some people love it, while others, of course, prefer more traditional interior decorations. The hotel has a fabulous indoor infinity pool overlooking the city. As only hotel guests and spa guests have pool access, you will be able to enjoy the water and the view in some privacy. (There was no one in the pool at the time we visited). The hotel's restaurants feature organic ingredients, so the St. Regis would be a good choice if this is important to you. Virtuoso guests are upgraded upon arrival, subject to availability (excluding suite categories), receive a daily continental breakfast at Vitrine or in-room dining, and receive a $75 retail credit at the Remede Spa.

The Four Seasons San Francisco is located right on Market Street, adjacent to the San Francisco Center (with Bloomingdales, Nordstrom, and a great food court). This hotel, like Four Seasons properties in general, has a comfortable contemporary style in keeping with the culture of its host city. Rooms in the front of the hotel look directly down Grant Avenue toward the arches leading into Chinatown (the largest Chinatown outside of Asia) and toward the historical buildings of the Financial District. The hotel has an extensive collection of modern art, and a printed guide is available to locate and identify the various art pieces displayed throughout the property.

Virtuoso guests receive an upgrade at the time of booking at the Four Seasons. My recommendation is to ask your travel agent to book you into a Deluxe View room and have you upgraded into one of the corner Premier Rooms. Almost as spacious as a suite, these are very special rooms with fabulous views. You will also receive a complimentary Full American Breakfast for two each morning in the restaurant or via room service.

The Ritz-Carlton San Francisco is also a special property and is ideal for those who prefer a more traditional feeling as well as large rooms. Located atop Nob Hill a few blocks north of Union Square and a few blocks west of Chinatown, walking back to the Ritz-Carlton does involve an uphill trek, but it's doable if you're in good shape (and you're not in San Francisco during the rainy season). Passing through the impressive entry of this neoclassical temple, you enter a warm and spacious lobby with elaborate floral arrangements appropriate to the season. We visited during the Easter season, and the florists had created a wonderful floral Easter bunny out of differently colored flowers.

Being an older building, the rooms are of varying size, even within a single room category. Be aware that the basic Deluxe rooms vary in size from smallish to quite spacious, so have your travel agent try to block you into one of the large Deluxe rooms. However, the real place to end up at this Ritz-Carlton is the Club Floor. Because of high demand, guests cannot be upgraded from a non-Club floor to a Club floor, but this Club offers food and beverages all day. We arrived at lunchtime, and there was an enticing spread of sandwiches available for guests in the living room-like atmosphere of the Club Lounge. In addition to the upgrade on arrival and continental breakfast for two, Virtuoso guests receive a $50 gift certificate for use in The Signature Shop.

Virtuoso amenities are available when rooms at these properties are booked through a Virtuoso agent.

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