san francisco Travel Guide

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A Historic San Fran Hotel to Re-Emerge in May as The Scarlet Hotel

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  Site Where: 1075 California St [map], San Francisco, CA , United States, 94108
March 25, 2014 at 11:07 AM | by | Comment (1)

Another San Francisco hotel has gotten a major makeover and we expect more to follow.

The Huntington Hotel in Nob Hill, originally built in the early 1920s, will reopen in May after a rather sexy and racy renovation (to the tune of $15 million) that will also bring with it a name change--The Scarlet Huntington.

The hotel is now a part of Singapore-based hospitality group, Grace International, who have made the Huntington into a spin-off of their Scarlet Hotel in Singapore, a very sexy property which uses words like "uninhibited", "bold" and "naughty" to describe itself.

While the rooms of The Scarlet in San Francisco will have a similar boudoir look to the Scarlet in Singapore (think lots of red, gold, black and "daringly dim lighting") the staff of the hotel will be familiar to previous guests as many of the Huntington's former staffers, including the concierge who has been there for 30 years, are expected to return to the hotel.

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Should This Hotel Be Giving Free Drinks to Google Glass Owners?

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  Site Where: 905 California St [map], San Francisco, CA , United States, 94108
March 18, 2014 at 3:31 PM | by | Comments (0)

We thought it was cool that the ACME Hotel in Chicago was offering Google Glass as an amenity for guests to borrow during their stay but in San Francisco, the odds of guests already owning Google Glass are much higher. So the newly relaunched Stanford Court Hotel decided to offer a free drink to anyone who walks into the Aurea Lounge wearing Google Glass and subsequently uploads a photo to social media with the hashtag #stanfordcourt.

The new management at the hotel (you can read about the new hirings here) said they wanted to do this because, "of the recent string of negative press" against Google Glass. Hmm. So far this is the only tweet with the appropriate hashtag that we've seen. We can't tell if this person was wearing Google Glass or not. We think not.

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San Fran's Hotel Frank To Be Reborn as The Hotel G This Spring

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  Site Where: 386 Geary Street [map], San Francisco, CA, United States, 94102
February 27, 2014 at 6:48 PM | by | Comments (0)

We can always count on New York, Chicago and Miami for a new hotel but San Francisco? Those are few and far between. So when we got news that a new boutique hotel was opening this summer in Union Square, we immediately perked up.

The Hotel G, located on the corner of Geary and Mason Street, was formerly known as the Hotel Frank before it closed down in 2012. (We even stayed in it way back when!) So it's not exactly a new build. But after an extensive renovation of all 13 floors and 153 guest rooms, the hotel will emerge with a new design that is "simple yet functional and complements the building's unique architectural environments," said general manager, Steve Rizzo.

The hotel will also get a simple yet functional new name, The Hotel G.

Guest rooms will have "fog-colored walls, wood finishes and earthy fabrics and textiles." Expect some pops of bright color along with cool decor accents like Victorian settees (a nod to the hotel's past), vintage school house chairs, banker's lamps and mid-century writing desks. Modern amenities will include flat-screen SmartTvs, docking stations, Nespresso coffee makers and not surprisingly, complimentary WiFi.

The rooms we've peeped on the website are waaaay more subdued than the Frank's old rooms. We liked the Frank's quirky design but the G Funk Era, er, the Hotel G, is much, much, much easier on the eyes.

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Who Will Run The New Hotel Coming to San Fran's SOMA Nabe?

January 20, 2014 at 3:55 PM | by | Comments (2)

It's been a while but finally, a new hotel is coming to San Francisco's South of Market (SOMA) neighborhood on Channel Street between 3rd and 4th streets and one block away from AT&T Park where the Giants play ball. This will actually be a 15-story, four-star, full-service, "premium-branded" lifestyle hotel with 250 hotel rooms and built to LEED Gold standards.

The only question is--who's going to run it?

The property was acquired by SOMA Hotel LLC, a privately held hotel development company, which is an affiliate of the Stanford Hotels Group, a company with several big hotel brand names in their portfolio.

While we doubt the company will stray far from Hyatt Place, Marriott or Hilton, we kinda hope a cooler brand will go in here like a Virgin Hotel, or an SLS Hotel or even a Public Hotel.

With the project aiming to begin construction later this year (with an opening in 2016), hopefully we won't have to wonder much longer.

Got any insider info on which hotel brand will run this new building? Tip us off!

[Photo: Google]

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It's Now Snowing at The Hyatt Regency San Francisco

December 10, 2013 at 4:48 PM | by | Comments (0)

The world is officially in "Countdown to Christmas" mode and now, so are we. Every day until Christmas we'll be featuring a hotel that's in a holiday mood--whether it be with gigantic gingerbread houses, over-the-top Christmas decorations, thrilling lighting displays and best of all, Santa appearances. But of course, any hotel can assemble a fake tree, put on some lights and declare themselves "festive." Which is why we're looking at hotels that are really going ALL OUT. Know of a hotel that's super excited for Christmas? Let us know!

We knew it was snowing on the East Coast but in San Francisco? What's that about?

Well, once again, The Hyatt Regency San Francisco has transformed its lobby, one of the largest in the world, into a virtual, over-sized “snow globe” with 30,000 lights that cascade down the hotel's 17-story atrium, a 30-foot Christmas tree and best of all, daily snowfall.

The snow falls daily at different times throughout the day (see below) which is sure to delight the children (and adults) of the world who don't usually see snow. For the snow-weary folks, don't worry, the snow will only "fall" until December 30th.

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Sean Penn Has a Temper Tantrum in The Lobby at St. Regis San Fran

November 21, 2013 at 8:49 AM | by | Comments (0)

Sean Penn, the original bad boy of Hollywood turned grumpy old man, threw a scary tantrum at The St. Regis San Francisco when he was in town for a conference.

Apparently, a fan tried to snap a pic of the actor while he was hanging out in the hotel's swank Lobby Bar. Penn noticed the flash and went ballistic, lunging at the man fan and screaming "Do we look like f**king zoo animals?" (Umm....) Penn also threatened to make the fan "eat the phone" before telling him to "get the F out of here." You can watch the video of the temper tantrum here on TMZ. Incidentally, his outburst was caught on video...by another person in the bar. LOL.

Penn even went up to the hotel manager and told him that he "should do something about that." But hotel management actually asked the fan, who was attending the same conference as Penn, if he wanted to call police. Fortunately for Penn, he said no. After the whole kerfuffle ended, Penn went back to drinking at the bar.

Yeesh. Granted the fan should have asked Penn's permission, or at least not used flash, but we're kinda thinking Sean Penn should be grateful someone still wants to take his picture. No need to make someone "eat the phone." Which is going to be our new saying BTW.

[Photo: Flickr]

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You May Want to Avoid This 'Hotel' in San Francisco

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  Site Where: 310 Columbus Ave [map], San Francisco, CA, United States
October 25, 2013 at 3:32 PM | by | Comments (0)

When folks ask us to recommend a hotel in San Francisco, there are so many options to give them as San Fran has a crazy diverse hotel scene--from fancy luxury (St. Regis, Mandarin Oriental) to cool boutique (Vitale), or just plain friendly and happy (any Kimpton or Joie de Vivre Hotel) but here's one hotel you should seriously avoid--The Europa Hotel.

SFist has combed through some of the online reviews from TripAdvisor and Yelp for the hotel where rooms are incredibly cheap (about $36 a night) but often come with baggies of drugs, bed bugs, cigarette butts, sheet stains and the smell of urine and feces. (That's the official picture above from the hotel. You should see the ones posted by travelers on TripAdvisor.)

We didn't have the stomach to read through all the reviews as the first two literally turned our stomach but we did enjoy this line from SFist:

Curiously, on Google Plus, we'd like to point out that the hotel has 3.5 stars, because why? No one uses Google Plus.

And other hotels to avoid in San Francisco? Let us know in comments below.

[Photo: Europa Hotel]

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6 Things to Know About the Life and Maintainence of a Hotel Mattress

September 20, 2013 at 10:55 AM | by | Comments (2)

All this week, we'll be talking about Hotel Beds--where to buy 'em, how to make 'em, how to trust 'em (see story below!) and what to do when the bed isn't enough to send you to Sleepyland. Got a hotel bed question or comment? Send it to us! We're not sure about you, but we like to know a little bit about the different beds in which we sleep. At the end of the day, hotels are simply community beds, a concept that brings up a few questions: How often is the mattress replaced? Or worse... what about those spills and stains? We caught up with Philip Ridgway, Director of Housekeeping at the Four Seasons San Francisco, to get some answers. Here are 6 things to know about the life of a hotel mattress:

1. All the mattresses in the Four Seasons San Fran are the same, and they are made specifically for the brand. They are usually ordered on a large-scale by the corporate office and delivered directly to the individual hotel. They typically try to replace the whole hotel at once about every ten years, unless there’s an incident where one has to be switched out.

2. Speaking of incidents, don’t worry about spilling that glass of wine. Just don’t set the room on fire. Four Seasons will only charge in the case of gross negligence, like if you had a huge party and literally (not figuratively) set the sheets on fire. They won’t charge you for a small spill or if your kid wets the bed. Those things happen. The best thing to do is just be honest and let housekeeping know.

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Did Post-Asiana Airlines Accident Price Gouging Happen at SFO Hotels?

July 8, 2013 at 12:01 PM | by | Comments (3)

We hoped it wasn't true when we saw the tweet below stating hotels were price gouging after the Asiana Airlines tragedy. We could say we were surprised, but as we've found out just last year during the middle of tropical storm Sandy and Hurricane Irene, these things do happen.

But we wanted to find out who would take advantage of such a horrible situation, with so many passengers delayed (many for multiple days) and needing hotels. Surely hoteliers have learned this type of behavior wouldn't go unnoticed?

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Inside the Mouth-Watering Haagen Dazs Suite at the Hotel Triton

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  Site Where: 342 Grant Avenue [map], San Francisco, CA, United States, 94108
June 19, 2013 at 4:04 PM | by | Comments (0)

Who knew the Hotel Triton in San Francisco had such a sweet suite? (Literally!)

The Haagen Dazs "Sweet Suite" has been open at the Union Square hotel since at least 2007 (we told you to book the suite to get over a bad break-up)-- but it recently underwent a refresh. It still has the "Sweet Spot", which is an ice cream cabinet full of cartons of Haagen Dazs ice creams along with bowls, scoops and spoons. But now there's new furniture and new giant photographs of ice cream and ice cream ingredients (LOL.) Despite the ice cream obsession, the suite is quite stylish with a residential feel. Don't worry, you can still bring the ice cream in bed with you.

In honor of National Ice Cream Month, which is next month, the Kimpton hotel is offering a Haagen Dazs Sweet Dreams package which includes deluxe accommodations in a recently redesigned room, Haagen Dazs ice cream delivered nightly to the room, a groovy ice cream scoop to take home and a signature Triton rubber ducky. Rates start at just $175 a night with a portion going to the Haagen Dazs's charity of choice, The Delancey Street Foundation. The Sweet Suite is a bit more at $350 a night.

[Photos: Hotel Triton]

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Charlie Palmer's Mystic Hotel Has a (Slightly) New Look

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  Site Where: 417 Stockton Street [map], San Francisco, CA, United States, 94108
June 6, 2013 at 12:05 PM | by | Comments (0)

Did you know that famed chef Charlier Palmer is also a hotelier?

The man best known for his award-winnng Charlie Palmer steakhouses opened the boutique-style Mystic Hotel in San Francisco's Union Square 'hood last year with his Burritt Tavern, installed on the second floor of the hotel. (He's already opened the Hotel Healdsburg in Sonoma too.)

Now, the property has just completed a renovation of all 82 guest rooms (this place used to be the old Crescent Hotel) and it looks like an ideal place to rest your weary head...and your full stomach. The rooms are small but big on comfort and personal touches like fluffy white beds, exposed brick walls and carefully chosen honor bar selections from local companies such as PopChips, Oaktown Jerky from Oakland and 479 popcorn (note: the fuller-sized bottles of alcohol too.)

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Copy Ritz-Carlton San Francisco's Parallel 37's Exotic Produce Dishes

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  Site Where: 600 Stockton Street at California Street [map], San Francisco, CA, United States, 94108
April 9, 2013 at 7:42 PM | by | Comments (0)

Here's the latest happening in the luxury hotel world as told by JustLuxe's own Lena Katz. Got a question about luxury hotels, the travel biz, and where to stay? Send it in and we'll have Lena answer it.

A recent dinner at the Ritz-Carlton San Francisco’s swank Parallel 37 food-geeked us out, thanks to new chef Michael Rotondo’s tendency to incorporate the most exotic produce items in California into his tasting menu. Torpedo radish? Smoked sunchokes? Arugula blossoms? It’s all coming at ya…and it’s good.

Chef Rotondo, who recently arrived from Chicago where he cooked under Charlie Trotter for eight years, admitted when he wanders through the San Francisco area farmers markets, he often doesn't recognize some of the stranger fruits – and when that happens, he usually buys the questionable item, takes it back to the kitchen, and figures out a tasty use for it.

We asked him to identify seven awesome produce items he’s cooking with right now, and tell us what the heck to do with them

Fermented Black Garlic: Ferment whole bulbs of garlic at high temperature, and they’ll turn black and taste sweet and syrupy, with hints of licorice and balsamic. Black garlic isn’t the prettiest veggie in the drawer, but it adds a complexity to a dish that raw garlic can't match. Most Asian markets carry black garlic. We have it on the lunch menu currently - blended into a light aioli and used on our albacore tuna sandwich.

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