Today, our ‘My Favourite Hotel’ review is from San Francisco, at the luxurious Four Seasons.
We are currently running this reader-written feature to provide some positivity and inspiration to Head for Points. We hope to run one review per day for the next few weeks. There will be a deliberate mix of European and worldwide properties, super luxury and mid market, branded and independent. You can find all of the ‘My Favourite Hotel’ reviews so far by clicking here.
Today’s hotel is the Four Seasons Hotel in San Francisco. It is reader David’s favourite hotel and here is his review:
Calling a hotel home always seemed odd to me. When I go home, I don’t present my identification and credit card in order to gain entry, nor am I assigned a different room on each visit. Calling a hotel home never made sense, until I stayed at the Four Seasons in San Francisco. Every time I return, it absolutely feels like returning home.
My wife and I have been going to the Four Seasons for several years now, visiting multiple times throughout the year, seeing the same friendly, welcoming faces and all the comfort and contentment that brings.
Situated close to both the Financial district and Union Square, the Four Seasons San Francisco on Market Street is primarily a business hotel. Like most modern hotels, it’s split between ground floor retail, the hotel itself, and private residences above.
Arriving by car, as most do, you’ll enter at the rear of the hotel on Stevenson Street, where the valets and bellman will welcome you.
A lift takes you to the lobby for check in, and across the reception is a bank of three further lifts leading to the guest rooms.
Our room at Four Seasons San Francisco
Whenever we stay here, we prefer a room overlooking Market Street. While it can sometimes be noisy especially on the lower floors, we love to look out at the bustling world below.
Rooms on the other side of the hotel overlook the courtyard and gardens and are more popular. I can’t comment on those rooms as we’ve never stayed in them.
Rooms were renovated a couple of years ago and are in great condition. I’ve always found the beds and bedding at the hotel to be excellent. So much so, we bought the particular brand of mattress for ourselves!
Breakfast in the hotel is quite the affair. Given its location, and a certain prestige, the Four Seasons is the only hotel I can recall where hotel guests must make a reservation for breakfast. It seems to be the place for breakfast meetings in the city. Smart casual for breakfast can be a little extreme, but necessary.
A game my wife and I often play is trying to guess who the techie is and who the finance people are, based on their clothing choices. Looks can be deceiving! One morning on a visit a couple of years ago to my surprise we were seated next to former MP and current rail enthusiast, Michael Portillo together with his wife. In case you’re wondering, yes, he does dress like that all the time. The following day I came prepared and brought my sunglasses!
Four Seasons San Francisco guests have the use of the Equinox gym which is located within the same building above the retail level and below the hotel.
Equinox is a chain of high-end gyms in the US, with locations in London. This gym can get very busy at certain times and is definitely not your average hotel gym. Expect clean, high-quality equipment, plentiful water and eucalyptus towels, and a great saltwater swimming pool. Access is with your room key.
Prices while you’re there are reassuringly expensive. It still makes me laugh to find a cold beer in the mini bar is almost half the price of room temperature water bottles. Head to the nearby shops and stock up, your credit card will thank you later.
This hotel holds many great memories for us. Meeting strangers that become lasting friends. Watching the men’s England football team finally succeed in a World Cup penalty shoot out one year, only for the women’s team to fail the next, all while sitting in the same seat!
At its core it’s all down to the people there, the friendly familiar faces, where you can pick up just where you left off. There’s a subtle elegance to the hotel, understated, but sophisticated. Exclusive, yet accessible. The service is polished yet seems casual. It’s hard to fault this hotel and it is a joy to return time after time.
This isn’t a resort property, or a place that specifically caters for children (although a signature Four Seasons stuffed bear will be waiting for them when they go to sleep) but there’s something for everyone here. An open fire in the bar area is perfect for sitting in a comfortable chair and tucking into a good book. There is lively and engaging conversation at the bar, with famous faces popping up now and again. The San Francisco Louis salad is a must, for lunch and at breakfast, their buttermilk pancakes go down too well, as my waistline can attest.
Writing this makes me long to return. Once this ghastly episode us over, I’m sure we’ll be heading back to the city by the bay to check in with an old friend.
The Four Seasons San Francisco website is here, if you want to find out more.
PS. If you are thinking of booking Four Seasons San Francisco, our hotel partner Bon Vivant is a Four Seasons Preferred Partner agent. They can match any deal on the Four Seasons website and you will receive valuable additional benefits on top. You can contact Bon Vivant via the form on this page of Head for Points.