Each year instead of a tangible gift wrapped up in decorative paper and tied with a festive bow, I ask my husband for my favorite present, travel! For the last 12 years we have made it a point to not be home on either of our birthdays. We love traveling and can’t think of a better gift to give each other and ourselves.
Last year we went to Kauai for my birthday. We had 12 wonderful days in a tropical paradise (you can read more about it here). This year, I didn’t want to be gone as long, didn’t want to fly, and I wanted to bring our two small dogs along. A trip to San Francisco, just an hour from our home in the Sonoma Valley, sounded like the ideal place for a short birthday getaway.
We decided to stay at iconic Fairmont Hotel on Nob Hill. You may already be familiar with this grand property which opened in 1907, a year to the day after the 1906 earthquake that devastated San Francisco. If you were watching TV in the 1980’s you may remember The Fairmont from the series Hotel. Or perhaps you watched Sean Connery’s character in The Rockget a shave and a much needed haircut at The Fairmont after his escape from the prison on Alcatraz Island. Whatever the case, once you’ve seen The Fairmont San Francisco, you won’t soon forget about it.
We entered the majestic lobby. I was immediately struck the very high ceilings, elegant furnishings and Greek marble columns.
Pets are welcome to stay with you at the hotel for a fee. I kept my dogs company on a comfortable couch in the lobby area while my husband checked us in with the friendly and helpful staff.
Once we were checked in, we headed to our suite which was at the end of the 8th floor in the Tower building. When we opened the door I just about fell over seeing the view, the spaciousness and the elegant decor.
From the window to the right we could see the Bay Bridge and the Financial District. From the middle window, we looked out at Coit Tower, Chinatown, and Alcatraz Island.
Looking to the left, we could plainly see the Golden Gate Bridge and Russian Hill.
It was a view I have only dreamed of waking up to. And in a room as luxurious and spectacular as this one, it really was a dream come true! But before I could even think about settling in for the night, I had some things to do.
I had a tour planned with the Public Relations Manager and her intern to see the hotel. We were lucky enough to arrive on a day that the Penthouse Suite was not being used.
We met in the spacious lobby and made our way to the top floor of the main building. When the doors opened, we entered the large foyer. The suite is 6000 square feet and is available for events and overnight stays at $15,000 per night. Years ago, the proprietors of the hotel lived in the Penthouse suite and raised their family.
The billiards room – one of my favorites – was done in an Arabic motif with hand-painted wood made to look like mosaic tiles and stained glass inlays on the ceiling. I’m not a pool player, but I could spend hours in this room!
The master bedroom is bright, spacious and modern. It has been recently redecorated but still maintains its old San Francisco charm.
The newly redecorated dining room is stately and impressive and can seat lots of your friends.
Just off the dining room is the patio overlooking the bay and the Financial District. Wedding ceremonies and receptions, large and small parties, corporate events and other celebrations take place in the Penthouse. I am sure the views from the patio make a lasting impression on its guests.
There are two additional bedrooms. This one is very large and would make a great room for a bride and her bridal party to get ready for a wedding ceremony.
The third room is smaller than the other two and so very charming! The wall is a hand-painted map of the world. Although the other bedrooms are much bigger and luxuriously appointed, I would choose this room should I ever have the pleasure of spending the night in the Penthouse Suite.
The library is an incredible room at the Penthouse Suite. While the patio is magnificent for its views, the library is remarkable for its beauty and its history. Many Presidents and other dignitaries have graced this captivating room. It’s mysterious, too, with hidden staircases, a false wall, and a whispering wall that we tested out. It really works!
Once our tour of the Penthouse concluded, we returned to the main level of the hotel where the hotel’s Epicurean garden and bee hives are kept. 100,000 bees live amongst rosemary, lavender, basil and sage. The kitchen uses the herbs and honey in many dishes served throughout the hotel.
After our wonderfully interesting tour ended, we returned to our breathtaking room to enjoy the pink sunset over the City by the Bay.
Later that evening, after dinner at a nearby Italian restaurant, we hurried back to our suite to see the city lights glowing brightly through our windows. It was an incredible sight and the perfect way to end my birthday.
Our visit to The Fairmont San Francisco was a birthday gift like no other. The views, the accommodations, the service, the decor and the history…it was a gift that kept on giving throughout our stay!
For more information about The Fairmont San Francisco Hotel visit their website or call 1-866-540-4491.
Disclosure: I paid for all of my own lodging, food and other services and goods except the tour which was complimentary. All opinions expressed here are my own.
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