The San Francisco Palace is just that – a palace. It’s a hotel fit for The Queen, queens and kweens. If you’re looking to splash out in the City by the Bay, then there’s no finer place to lay down after a day taking in the city’s plentiful attractions.
The rooms are a perfect mix of old-school and contemporary. Luxurious yet cosy; modern, without being cold. The beds are gloriously comfortable.
An unexpected, surprise is in the rooms’ toilets – all of which have heated seats and the facility to wash and dry your ‘regions’. If you’re anything like us, the by the end of your stay, you’ll be sitting down on it regularly – regardless of whether you need to go or not.
The food’s magnificent. The breakfast buffet’s like nothing we’ve ever seen. From the full American, fruit and yoghurts, pancakes to die for (this writer’s cholesterol has probably rocketed – but it was worth it) and a selection of quite simply gorgeous pastries that would give Patisserie Valerie a run for its money.
There is also no more beautiful a place to eat breakfast indoors. The Garden Court is like something from a dream. Inspired by the meeting places of European high society in the early 1900s, the room (if you can call it that – it’s vast) is a vision in marble and crystal chandeliers. Look up, and you could be in Vienna or Paris.
Insofar as city hotels are concerned, the Palace is a rarity, boasting a full-sized swimming pool, whirlpool bath and a gym. There’s none of this ‘two dumbbells and a single running machine’ business, but a full gym – weights, TRX suspension, the lot. And the pool is absolutely splendid, both for swimming in and lying by.
There’s a food and drink service by the pool so, should you not wish to venture out in to the city, you can fool yourself in to thinking you’re at a resort.
San Francisco’s eminently walkable, and the Palace is well-placed for a wander. It’s 15 min to the Embarcadero, and a few more to Pier 39 for boat tours and trips to Alcatraz. It’s a hop to the stores of Westfield and Union Square. It’s right by the subway too, so you can be in the Castro in less than 15 min.
Stop at the hotel’s cocktail bar, the Pied Piper – it’s the perfect place for a late-night cocktail. The Piper’s crowing glory is a huge painting of the Pied Piper of Hamelin by acclaimed artist Maxfield Parrish. It sits perfectly with the dark wood and leather of the rest of the bar. The spiced bourbon lemonade was this writer’s favourite tipple, but we honestly don’t think there’s an unappealing cocktail on the menu.
Day or night, there’s a great vibe to the hotel. There’s none of the fustiness that can be a characteristic of luxury hotels. It’s as chilled and friendly as the city in which it sits. Indeed, it’s becoming a bit of a destination for people to pitch up, order a coffee and open their MacBook.
There’s one more reason to stay at the Palace. Chocolatier Ghirardelli has a parlour within the hotel complex. Indeed, there’s a ready supply of it at the Palace’s reception desk. We’d recommend the sundaes (if you can call them that – they’re the size of a full dinner). They’re mind-bogglingly delicious.
You can plan your trip to San Francisco at www.sftravel.com. The San Francisco CityPASS includes discounted admission to four top attractions in the city and unlimited rides on the famous streetcars. Citypass.com/san-francisco.