If you’re going to San Francisco…The Palace Hotel Review
If you like your city stays a little bit posh, I have just the place for you on your next visit to San Francisco.
The Palace Hotel is a perfect example of an iconic property that has managed to retain its grandness without feeling dated, thanks in part to a recent refurb. Opened in 1909 and treated to a refresh in 2015, she’s like an old dame who you swear should be slowing down by now, but is still very much living her glory days.
High ceilings, Italian marble columns, classic artwork, grand chandeliers, and the type of vast space not afforded to newer hotels give the aptly named Palace its wow factor.
Arriving into SF on a late flight, we’re thrilled to arrive at our luxurious digs for the night. And just as happy to score a speedy and friendly check-in.
We do what any hungry and parched traveller would do: head to the hotel bar. Which just happens to be one of the Golden City’s most iconic drinking spots. The Pied Piper is buzzing on a Wednesday night with what appears to be a mix of locals and travellers.
Fun fact: The bar’s namesake artwork was commissioned for the hotel’s opening and has become an icon of not only the hotel, but the city too. So much so that when it was removed for much-needed restoration in 2013, the day it was returned– 22 August – was named Pied Piper Day in San Francisco by the city’s mayor.
We nab the last available table and order cocktails – a classic Old-Fashioned for him and a Market Gimlet for me (organic cucumber vodka, fresh lime juice, and tarragon-infused agave, in case you’re wondering) – and munch on a delicious edamame hummus dip.
Hungry and parched travellers have been replaced with weary travellers and the lure of our suite is too strong to resist.
Opening the door to room 538, a Palace Suite, reveals a huge space to call home. The sitting area features a gorgeous lounge, desk space, 11-foot ceilings, and a chandelier. We are staying in a Palace, after all 😉
Styling is classic, yet modern. Some heritage hotels make the mistake of not evolving, but not The Palace. The gray, plum, and white colour palette is regal, yet modern.
If that wasn’t enough, the bedroom and bathroom are probably bigger than my entire Sydney apartment (sadly that’s not the first time I’ve written that on this blog, because #sydneylife). The king-size canopy bed, deep soaking bathtub, luxury robes, custom toiletries, double basin, and oversized shower are fit for a king or queen. And brownie points for the easy-to-reach power points built into the bedside tables.
It’s the fluffy pillows that really get me, though, and pretty soon I’m out like a light.
In the clearer light of day, we once again look out the grand windows of our suite to get our bearings. A buzz of activity before 7am, the hotel is in a great location, over looking Market Street and walking distance to much of what the city is best known for: cables cars, Union Square, Chinatown, and the Ferry Building Marketplace (hot tip: Out The Door – the takeaway outpost from the people behind SF favourite The Slanted Door – is a must-do here).
Nothing shakes off a day of travelling like a little cardio, and the next morning we hit up the 24/7 fitness centre located on level four. Well-equipped and packed with fellow travellers getting their work-out on, there’s also a beautiful swimming pool, in case doing laps is more your thing.
Breakfast is the most important (hotel) meal of the day, and the historic Garden Court Restaurant is where it’s at.
At $39 USD per person before tip, it’s not a cheap and cheerful option, but the setting is pretty spectacular. It’s not every day you have brekky in a glass dome atrium with shimmering chandeliers.
Choose from an array of fruits, eggs, charcuterie, cheeses, breads, bagels, yoghurts muffins, pastries, and more.
If your stay happens to be over a weekend, be sure to partake in the Saturday Signature Tea or the Sunday City Brunch.
And no matter what day you stay, you NEED to take advantage of San Francisco success story Ghirardelli Chocolates, located right on the corner of the building (stock up on the Sea Salt Caramel if you know what’s good for you).
My stay might have been short and sweet, but I know where to get my little taste of royalty again next time I’m in San Francisco.