Hotel Review: We've never met a luxury hotel we didn't like. In fact, it's our business to stay at luxury hotels. So it's always a pleasure to actually experience unparalleled luxury -- to find a hotel where the experience is so terrific, and so downright sybaritic that we hate to leave. We weren't surprised -- the Ritz-Carlton San Francisco is the city's only Mobil Five-Star, AAA Five-Diamond hotel, and the service, and everything else, was superb. Built in 1909, this year the building is celebrating its 100th birthday. It has aged gracefully -- and elegantly. We have always been unabashed fans of Ritz-Carlton, where "Ladies and gentlemen serve ladies and gentleman," and this trip only underscored our high esteem for the brand.
Join The Club
Superlative is the word for our recent experience at the Ritz-Carlton, San Francisco, located near the city's Financial district, Chinatown and Union Square. The nine-story hotel, set on Nob Hill's eastern slope, is one of the city's best examples of neo-classical architecture. Our visit was marked by our stay on the Club Floor, which Andrew Harper's Hideaway Report recently named "Best in America." This home-within-a-hotel cradles you in the lap of luxury, starting with daily food presentations: Breakfast, Light Snack, Hors d'oeuvres; and Evening Desserts -- not to mention French-press coffee and made-to-order espressos. We always thrill to an outstanding Club Floor, and by all means, this is one of them. Is it being able to have a simple turkey sandwich in lavish surroundings, right around the corner from your room? Is it enjoying a delicious breakfast and fresh berries while you sit in your robe? It is knowing that you can have a yummy cup of coffee anytime? It is the convenience of having free access to 24-hour wireless Internet? Well, it's all that and then some -- including a selection of gourmet fresh-baked cookies, and fresh fruit, which are always available. It's like being at home -- only much, much better. And if you simply must have, say, Reese's Pieces, or soy milk, just say the word and your preferences will be noted for this and future trips. (Travel writer Peter Greenberg, in a recent story in USA Today, also noted that of ALL the Club Floors he's traveled to in the world, this one, at the Ritz-Carlton in San Francisco, is his absolute favorite!) There's even unlimited garment pressing. In our room, we also noted that there was a bath menu featuring three types of indulgences, if you wanted to experience good, clean -- and luxurious -- fun.
Rooms At The Top
The Ritz-Carlton, San Francisco features 336 guest rooms including 60 suites and two Presidential suites. Guest rooms include a wealth of amenities including electronic in-room laptop safes, Kohler "rain" showerheads, Bulgari White Tea bath essentials, bathroom scale, feather beds with 400-thread-count Egyptian-cotton and Frette linens, deluxe in-room coffee and tea presentations in a wooden display box, fully stocked honor bar, plush bathrobes, and much more. The property even features a Technology Butler to solve any of your computer and technological problems, a successful concept that was a hit immediately after launched at the Ritz-Carlton Kuala Lumpur in 1998. Club Deluxe rooms range from $449-$759 depending on the season.
Suite 919, is the "presidential" Ritz-Carlton suite -- a 2,000 sq.-foot opulent area featuring a grand piano, parquet floors, dining room, kitchenette with personal wine cellar and espresso machine, and walk-in separate shower. Prices range from $5,000-$9,000 per night, depending on season.
Traveling with Fido? It's always a dog day afternoon at this property, which has unleashed a "pooch policy." It starts with a VIP (Very Important Pooch) greeting at the front door, in-room cozy framed dog bed, and other features including an in-room dining menu such as chopped beef tenderloin with sliced baby carrots -- all for a $125 non-refundable pet fee. Guided walks are available for an additional charge.
If you're a hotel guest who says a minimum of four nights per month, the Ritz-Carlton San Francisco also offers "luggage-less travel," which means that the hotel will check your clothing and personal items, so that you obviate the need for a suitcase. For an additional charge, your clothing will be laundered, dry-cleaned and pressed, and personal toiletries will be replenished. Then, when you return to the hotel (without your Travelpro Rollaboard bag, for example), your clothing and personal items will be delivered to you. The only fee for this service is for hotel laundry/valet charges.
Follow The Scent
Debbi did just that -- she could smell the mango/tangerine aroma of the spa, and was treated to a Signature Facial at Spa-De-Vie. In fact, this facial is the best-selling treatment at the 7,000-sq.ft spa, which includes a fitness center with cardio theater, and a huge pool. All guests are also treated to a glass of Monavie juice, which is actually used in some of the treatments, as it's such as strong antioxidant. Debbi's facial, expertly administered by facialist Masha, included masque; face, foot and leg massage; heated mitts; warm towel on the back; extraction; cleanser, all using Pevonia's Myoxy caviar products. This treatment costs $195. Other treatments in this Spa-de-Vie concession include a large selection of body treatments including one with mango and passion fruit; gentlemen's facial; numerous women's facials; and several massages include hot stone, reflexology and aromatherapy. One great advantage is that the spa is open 365 days a year, so you can pamper yourself anytime, and even schedule a massage in your guest room. Wedding parties also take advantage of the spa -- for example, brides and their bridesmaids frequently treat themselves, as a group, to manicures, massages and updos, even including a delicious lunch from the restaurant. To schedule a spa treatment, call (415) 364-3460.