The Ritz-Carlton, San Francisco, A City Escape

First impressions are everything in the hotel business. And The Ritz-Carlton, San Francisco, has it down to a science.

Built in 1909 as headquarters of the Metropolitan Life Insurance Company, the hotel’s white neo-classical façade wows guests from the moment they get their first glance. A landmark in the city’s Nob Hill neighborhood, the luxury property features 17 massive columns, decorative lion’s head medallions, and an ornate porte cochere complete with bellmen adorned in top hats and white gloves.

The Ritz-Carlton, San Francisco offers 336 guest rooms (including 62 suites) spread across nine floors. I stayed in a Club Deluxe Room located on the eighth floor. Large by city standards, the room felt classical with just the right amount of sparkle and tech most modern travelers demand. Inspired by the San Francisco Bay and the fog that has a well-deserved reputation of shrouding the city, guest rooms have a blue and gray color palette. Shiny silver lamps, drawer pulls and other décor, give the room a sleek, but still inviting feel.

White, 400-thread-count, 100% combed cotton Frette linens pop against the gray velvet headboard. Electric outlets and USB ports are built into the base of lamps on each bedside table. A Bluetooth enabled Tivoli Audio alarm clock radio, Nespresso coffee machine, and High-Definition television round out the in-room tech.

Covered in Italian marble, the bathroom had double sinks with ample vanity space to spread out toiletries. The bath shower combination offered a deep tub, and the toilet was tucked behind a door, allowing two people to use the space and still have some privacy.

Two large windows took up a majority of the guest room’s exterior wall, offering a peek into the secluded hotel courtyard along with scenic city views. A pleasant surprise, the windows opened a few inches, allowing fresh air inside.

Guest rooms on the eighth floor include access to The Club Lounge. Along with a dedicated concierge, food and drink substantial enough to comprise a meal, is provided throughout the day. The nightly hors d’oeuvre menu is inspired by San Francisco neighborhoods. On the evening of my stay selections included empanadas, tacos, Mexican Street Corn, and shrimp tostadas with chipotle sauce and guacamole.

The Ritz-Carlton, San Francisco is home to a pair of onsite restaurants. Parallel 37 is open for breakfast only, serving everything from Lobster Eggs Benedict and Avocado Toast, to a buttermilk pancake offering with passion fruit puree that’s been served at the hotel for 30 years. The Lounge offers casual dining with a menu that includes a variety of options ranging from grilled cheese to filet mignon, and Truffled Lobster Mac and Cheese. Beer, wine and a selection of craft cocktails are available.

Wine lovers can get a taste of Northern California wine country in the JCB Tasting Lounge. A collaboration with flamboyant vintner Jean-Charles Boisset, the lobby location is decked out with crystal, velvet and leopard prints. The hotel is also home to one of only five Krigler perfume stores in the United States.

The Ritz-Carlton, San Francisco features a large, 24-hour fitness center, but I recommend hitting the streets of San Francisco to get your exercise. The hotel is walking distance to San Francisco’s Financial District, Chinatown, and Union Square. The California Street Cable Car line stops steps from the front door. Expect about a half-hour drive to reach San Francisco International and Oakland International airports.

Rates for a Deluxe Room start at $395. Club Deluxe Rooms from $595. Valet parking only, for an additional fee. Small dogs are welcome; an additional fee applies. Make your reservations online directly at the hotel website, or compare rates and book at an OTA such as Hotels.com or Expedia.

Review and photos by San Francisco Bay Area travel writer and television correspondent Dana Rebmann. Her stay was organized by The Ritz-Carlton, San Francisco, but as always her thoughts and opinions are her own.

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