Peace-loving hippies, gold-rush maniacs and dot-com boomers, have all been seduced by lively, laidback San Francisco, which is dotted with iconic landmarks, compact and quirky neighbourhoods, crooked Victorian rooflines and puff-inducing hills. Now it’s your turn, just make sure you leave the Manolos at home.
Stay: Sleek and sophisticated, the rooms at St Regis Hotel have enough tech-savvy gizmos to put the Jetsons to shame. Each room is kitted out with the whiz-bang wizardry of a GDA – Guest Digital Assistant, don’t you know – and with one lazy swipe of a pinkie, blinds can be closed, lights faded, room service ordered and a personal butler summoned. Use your natty GDA to book a luxury treatment at Remède Spa. Indulge in individually customized offerings, such as body wraps, polishes and massages, prefaced by sampling some chilled champagne, artisanal cheeses and handmade truffles from the spa.
See Sitting in SoMa– local lingo for South of Market – it’s a mere-metre dash for culture-vultures from St Regis to the Jewish Contemporary Museum at 736 Mission Street. The Museum of the African Diaspora is also located inside the hotel. Save your legs by jumping aboard one of San Francisco’s legendary hill-climbing cable cars to explore; there’s a stop not far from St. Regis with the California Line running through the financial district and Chinatown, and over Nob Hill. Golden Gate Park at is the city’s answer to Central Park and tempts tourists with vivid greenery and wildlife, a Japanese tea garden, an aquarium, the De Young museum and the California Academy of Sciences.
Eat Ame, in St. Regis, dishes up New American cuisine with an emphasis on seafood. Typical fare includes skillet-roasted duck breast with caramelised root vegetables and quinoa, grilled whole main lobster with broccoli rabe and flourless chocolate cake with coconut crémeux. Ame also has an excellent sashimi bar and wow-worthy sake list. Gourmet-grazers will flock to the Ferry Building Marketplace at the Embarcadero at Market Street, which houses a gastronomic wonderland and farmers market. Expect offerings including cheeses, breads, pastries, chocolates, meats and wine, cafes and boutique eateries.
Play Vessel at 85 Campton Place in Union Square is a lush boutique lounge bar, which has quickly become one of San Francisco’s hotspots with expertly mixed cocktails, gourmet hors d’oeuvres and top DJs commanding the decks. For adult delights plucked straight from a Fitzgerald novel, Bourbon and Branch at 501 Jones Street is an old-school drinking den that keeps with Prohibition tradition by having an unmarked door and a password for entry – or a reservation. All that’s missing are the flapper girls and gaming tables.
To book any of Mr & Mrs Smith’s stylish boutique hotels visit www.mrandmrssmith.com or call the expert Travel Team on 1300 896 627. Smith guests enjoy exclusive extras at all stays.