94109 Travel Guide
Hotel Music / Hotel Lobbies / JDV Hotels / Commune Hotels / San Francisco Hotels / Hotel Snapshots / Cool Hotel Jobs / → All Tags
We were excited to step into the lobby at San Francisco's Hotel Carlton, part of the
Joie De Vivre—ahem, Commune—family, mainly because the hotel offers a free wine tasting every afternoon from 5:30pm to 6pm. Very Kimpton of them, indeed.
But we got more than we bargained for. Yes, the wine was wheeled out on the dot at 5:30, and, sure enough a crowd (comprised mainly of middle-aged Dutch and German couples) began to form there in the Middle Eastern-decorated lobby.
What we weren't anticipating: Theo, one of the hotel's Front Desk agents, setting up in the corner of the lobby with aviator sunglasses, a Yamaha keyboard, and some of the sickest synth beats we've heard since Flight of the Concords was still airing on HBO.
It would be hard to come up with a single genre to classify the strange music we were bopping our heads to, though if we had to pick a word that best sums up the whole experience, it would be this: snazz.
If there was an award for the hotel lobby that most resembles a Red Lobster, that award would go to San Francisco' Argonaut Hotel. The place is a tourist hotspot purely because of its location at Fisherman's Wharf and, as a result, the place is almost too packed to appreciate the nautical tchotchkes.
The Argonaut, despite its unique looks, is actually part of the Kimpton Hotels chain, which means that every evening brings a complimentary hosted wine reception for the guests, plus the other goodie of free WiFi in the rooms (if you sign up for the free InTouch loyalty program).
You can find great art inside hotels, but it's not everyday that you check in and find an art fair. ArtPadSF, a new hotel-based art fair showcasing emerging and contemporary galleries and artists, will premiere at the Phoenix Hotel May 19 to 22—right in time for the unveiling of the hotel's soon-to-be-finished lounge renovations.
About 30 galleries are on the lineup for the inaugural art fair; most of them are from the Bay Area, but there are a couple from New York, Miami and Paris.
Hotel Rebranding / Provenance Hotels / Personality Hotels / San Francisco Hotels / Design Hotels / → All Tags
The new-look Hotel Vertigo.
It’s been a few months since San Francisco's Personality Hotels got a brand new identity. So while we were up in the Bay Area last week, we decided to swing by Hotel Vertigo and Hotel Frank to see how they were faring under the Oregon-based Provenance Hotels boutique chain. (Which is also now managing the Hotel Metropolis.)
Our most pressing question, of course, was had the hotels retained any of their personality? Har har har.
Unique residential rooms with every amnity you can imagine
Great common areas, feels more like a vacation rental then a hotel room
Not located in Union Square
Valet service needs to be more timely
In-room food choices aren't always delivered the way you order them
Now that our hangover has finally worn off, we can tell you that we were lucky enough to stay at the Fairmont Ghirardelli Place on New Year's Eve, part of the Fairmont Heritage Collection. We still consider this very much a stealth hotel, as it was developed, billed and marketed as a "residence club" when it opened in the first quarter of 2008.
While FGP is still very much in the fractional residence game, a lot has changed since 2008, especially in the "luxury fractionals market." Hmm....Come to think of it was there ever really a luxury fractionals market or was it just a lot of marketing speak? We tried to run the numbers on fractional ownership of the unit 214, the unit we stayed it, but our numbers kept crunching in the negative.
Video / Hotel Video Tours / Kimpton Hotels / Fisherman's Wharf Hotels / San Francisco Hotels / → All Tags
Longtime readers of HotelChatter know The Argonaut Hotel is one of our go-to hotels in San Francisco. Why? Good rates, comfortable beds, kitschy nautical theme and free WiFi (for Kimpton's InTouch members.) Oh, and most importantly, we don't have to deal with the glut of Union Square that makes life with a rental car extremely difficult.
Caveat emptor; you must be able to put up with Fisherman's Wharf (we actually have grown to love the area if you take a left instead of a right out of the Argonaut front door and avoid the Powell & Hyde cable car debacle), and on this trip we figured out parking was a whopping $43.00 a night.
Hotel Packages / Fairmont Hotels / San Francisco Hotels / Sonoma Hotels / Wine-Tasting Hotels / → All Tags
Fairmont Hotels may have opened up three new hotels along the ancient silk road yesterday (Cairo, China, Abu Dhabi) but they still have a special place in their hearts for California with their new “Chocolate at Pinot” Package available at their San Francisco and Sonoma hotels.
Some people get their antioxidants from green tea, and others get them from blueberries. Us? We prefer fight free radicals with red wine and dark chocolate. Hey, it still counts, so don’t judge us. Now thanks to Fairmont, we can indulge our (healthy, we swear!) cravings with this new four-day package.
With it, you can spend the first two days, Willy Wonka-ing it up at the Fairmont Heritage Place, Ghirardelli Square, which is actually in the former world-famous Ghirardelli Chocolate factory facility in the heart of San Francisco. Then take the second two days to relax from the bustle of the big city out at the Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn and Spa, a grandiose pink resort with a nearly century-long history of gentrified rustication near many of Sonoma’s most famous wineries, and just a couple miles from the town of Sonoma itself.
A steal in San Fran. But is it worth it?
$69 a night
The deal is good any night of the week through February 28th. We put in dates for the weekend before Thanksgiving and sure enough, the $69 room rates prevailed. That was for a superior queen room, which is the smallest category at the hotel. Still, bumping up to a superior double room was only $99.
The hotel used to be part of the JDV Hospitality chain but is no longer. According to reviews on TripAdvisor, the rooms could use a refurbishment and the scene is a little sketchy which is what we would expect from a $69 room rate.
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We love us some shtick--like when that mental-hospital hotel opens, we're so there--which is why we're really excited for Hotel Vertigo (formerly Personality Hotel's York Hotel), officially opening in San Francisco in December.
For starters, the 97-room hotel has myriad references to its namesake Alfred Hitchcock movie starring James Stewart and Kim Novak: the movie will play on the white Carerra marble floors, guests will be offered "Madeline" cookies at check in (the name of Novak's character) and in 2009, Hotel Vertigo will host readings and movie showings of Hitchcock's films.
Personality Hotels / San Francisco Hotels / Hotels Under $100 / Budget Hotels / Hotel Renovations / Hotel Booking Tips / → All Tags
The other day we gave you an update on what was next for Personality Hotels including the renovations of two hotels--the York and the Maxwell.
We mentioned that rooms at the York (which will be called the Hotel Vertigo by August) were as low as $89 a night but that you could be in the middle of a construction zone. However, Hotel Maven Brandon sent us this extremely helpful hotel tip:
Saw the piece of posted yesterday about the York Hotel transformation into Hotel Vertigo, and wanted to chime in.
I'm at the York Hotel at the moment, booked a room via Expedia for $89/night, and was given the "model" room, which is a sample room of what the rooms will look like post-renovation. I have to say, it's really beautiful.
There's more from Brandon after the jump.
[Ed. Note: We thought bed bugs were sooo last month. But much to our dismay, they are still around. An intrepid Bed Bug ninja managed to capture the bugs at a San Francisco hotel but got no reaction whatsoever from the front desk.]
On April 26 and 27 of this year, I was a guest at the Heritage Marina Hotel,room 456. I was with a tour group from San Diego and this was our last stop. When we checked in on Saturday the 26th and went up to our room, the toilet had been used and still soiled and we had to call the front desk to send someone to clean it.
That first night I felt something crawling on my arm as we slept and I thought it was a mosquito. I was so tired and totally unaware of any bedbug problems that I fell asleep right away. In the morning I noticed some bites on my legs and didn't pay much attention thinking it had been a mosquito.
But by the morning of the 27th, my arms, legs and other parts of my body were full of bug bites (I took some pictures of the bites). As I was sitting on the edge of the bed putting my shoes on, I saw something crawling on the pillowcase. I carefully took a zip-lock type plastic bag and caught the little bug. I knew right away what I was dealing with.
I removed the sheets off the bed and found more bugs. I went to the front desk to report my find, and to my indignation, the person that was in charge didn't seem to care much. He absently told me he was going to report the incident to the manager. Even after I showed him the bites and the bugs in the bag I did not get a "We're terribly sorry" or "Is there something we can do for you", at the very least offer me some lotion for the itching and inconvenience.
It makes me think they are in the habit of dealing with bedbugs.