Tag Archives: huntington hotel

travel in style: huntington hotel

So, I promised yesterday that I’d fill you in on all of the details about one of my Top Ten San Francisco items: the Huntington Hotel & Nob Hill Spa (part of the Small Luxury Hotels of the World group, so you know it’s going to be amazing). Friends…oh, I almost hate to tell you how wonderful this experience was, because you’ll be so tempted to get up from your desk, ditch work and hop the next plane to San Francisco. Truly, it’s that good.

I’d always wanted to stay at the Huntington when I lived in the Bay Area, but – well, it’s hard to justify a serious hotel splurge when you live in the same city. But now, we’re tourists! So splurge away, right?

The Huntington is located on the very tip top of all those hills for which San Francisco is so famous, with a picture-perfect view of the city below. But don’t worry about the hills – they’ve thought of that. The hotel has a courtesy sedan with the kindest driver, ready to whisk you nearly anywhere nearby without breaking a sweat (or a stiletto). It’s all very Pretty Woman.

Walking into their bright, beautiful lobby, I knew I had something special on my hands. The feel of the entire property is so warm and cozy, but ultra-luxe…like you’re staying at an incredibly rich relative’s mansion. And it makes sense – the property is one of the few family-owned luxury hotels left in San Francisco, so that intimate/decadent feel is entirely intentional. When I walked in, my first sight was a guest chatting with the concierge, and the guest was wearing sky-high Prada heels and carrying a Birkin. I’m home!

Once I stopped drooling and made it to the front desk, the hubs and I were greeted with hot towels to wipe away our travel grime – such a nice touch after our long day of travel.

Then, it was off to our room:

In case you missed that, here’s another look:

How much do you love that artwork? I couldn’t stop staring at it for our entire trip. That is, when I wasn’t looking out the window. With a view like this, can you blame me?

{Just to clarify – that really is a photo of our view. I just got a little carried away with some of the filters in Camera+.}

Yep, our actual view. It was just as fabulous as it looks. I’m now utterly ruined for other accommodations. Beyond the hotel itself being absolutely beautiful, every single member of the staff made our stay amazing, and I am one picky customer when it comes to these matters. Plus, they have turn-down service, and I’m always a sucker for that.

Also, did I mention the spa?

As wonderful as the Huntington was, I have to admit, it’s the spa that blew me away. I’m a spa girl at heart, and the Nob Hill Spa has become such a favorite of mine, it really belongs on my Top Ten of All Time list, not just for San Francisco. To wit:

Yeah, that’s just the waiting area. And this photo leaves out the cozy fireplace off to the left, the hot tub, and the 270-degree view of the city from the balcony on the right. Are you getting the picture? The spa even has a nap room (okay, it’s called a Zen Room), in case your massage was just so relaxing that you can’t muster the strength to leave the premises. And it would be understandable. My therapist was a genius, and my massage was definitely one of the best I’ve had. I was more blissed out after that fifty minutes than I’ve been in a long, long time, and that nagging ache in my shoulder has entirely vanished.

Post-massage, the hubs and I spent some time lounging poolside. (Those chairs you see right up front, with the wine glasses? Yeah, that was us.) We dawdled for two hours in our picture-perfect, climate-controlled paradise. We took a dip in the hot tub, read books, and indulged in a delectable lunch that the staff delivered to our lounge chairs. No clock, no crazy dogs, no deadlines…it was a dream, friends. And I’m not the only one who thought so: just before we headed to the sauna, my darling hubs looked over at me and said, with the happiest look I’ve seen on his face in ages, “This is the best spa in the world.” Endorsements don’t get much better than that.

A huge thanks to the Huntington Hotel for making my stay so utterly unbelievable…though I get the feeling that’s all in a day’s work for their incredible staff. Tearing ourselves away from that beautiful room when it was time to come home was more of a challenge than I care to admit. Fortunately, there are a bevy of other SLH properties still to check off my list in the meantime. But something tells me we’ll be back!

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travel in style: san francisco

As you might have noticed from all of my nostalgic exclamations on Twitter and Facebook recently, I packed up my most stylish duds, a slew of accessories, and spent last week in the city where I really did leave my heart: San Francisco! Five glorious days eating absolutely everything I wanted to eat, seeing (nearly) everyone I wanted to see, and buying (not even close to) everything I wanted to buy. I am full, I am happy, and I am exhausted!

{The view from my room at the Huntington Hotel. I couldn’t stop staring!}

While I was thinking about what to share with you about the trip, it occurred to me I’ve never even given you a list of my must-see destinations in San Francisco. Shame on me! And so, forthwith, a completely incomplete Top Ten list of some of my favorite things in what is quite possibly my favorite city in the States (there’s no competing with Paris).

{Clockwise, from top: Old Fashioned cupcakes at Miette, a much-enjoyed cappucino
at Emporio Rulli, and a peek at Dish, my new favorite SF boutique.}

1. Shop in Union Square. I know, there’s nothing exactly novel about Neiman Marcus, Saks, Barneys(!), Zara or Madewell, but when you live in a city without access to any of them, I can assure you that the site of that particular square block of real estate is intensely satisfying. While you’re there…

2. Treat yourself to a crab louie salad at the Rotunda restaurant in Neiman Marcus (really just an excuse to have them serve you piping hot popovers with strawberry butter). And, though it’s tempting to splurge on an order of their famous chocolate-chip cookies, skip it and instead…

3. Have a cappuccino and a sfogliatella at Emporio Rulli, right in the heart of Union Square, for the best people-watching ever.

4. Gorge at the Ferry Building. Or, more specifically, have an Old Fashioned cupcake and a pistachio macaron at Miette, brave the line (or try the secret window around the corner) for a(nother) cappuccino at Blue Bottle, then grab a pack of S’mores Bites from Recchiuti, and a pot of olive oil lip balm from McEvoy Ranch to take home. Sit on a bench outside, watch the ferries go by, and take in a postcard-perfect view of the oft-overlooked Bay Bridge. Speaking of gorging…

5. Gary Danko. Lobster risotto and a cheese cart…what else do you need to hear?

6. Fillmore Street. Any time you see Marc by Marc Jacobs, Jonathan Adler and a Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf on the same block, go there. Follow up with some great window-shopping (or thrifting, if that’s your thing), a stop at Heidi Says Shoes, and a leisurely browse at Browser Books.

7. Hayes Valley. This ‘hood has grown by leaps and bounds since I last visited, and it might just be my new favorite shopping spot. Besides Miette’s Confiserie (best candy shop ever!), there’s serious fashion to be had. The vintage selection at Ver Unica and Reliquary is unprecedented – even I couldn’t resist (as evidenced by that fly leopard coat that followed me home). Then there’s Dish, which is so much my perfect boutique that I could have closed my eyes, pointed to literally anything, and bought it without looking, knowing I’d love it forever. Nida (why don’t these stores have e-commerce?!) is pretty wonderful too, if only for their selection of Isabel Marant and Athe by Vanessa Bruno.

8. Eat in North Beach (aka “Little Italy”). Preferably at Sodini’s, my personal favorite for old-school Italian charm. But wherever you dine, finish at Mara’s for a cannoli.

9. Palace of the Legion of Honor. Nothing whatsoever to do with food or shopping (are you shocked?), but still one of my favorite places ever. It’s all peace, calm and beauty, as far as the eye can see…with a stunning clifftop view of the bay and that big red bridge.

10. Stay at the Huntington Hotel, and spend a day at the Nob Hill Spa. But more on that awesomeness tomorrow…

I’d love to know what you’d add to the list!

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