Let me start with a simple phrase: wow. This hotel is one of the best. There are few times in life when everything aligns perfectly and this was one of them.
It all started in the booking process. We were joining Laura’s family in San Francisco and hotels were really expensive. The Sheraton, Best Western and a few other hotels that lack terroir were all in the $333/night range. Through the American Express Fine Hotels & Resorts program we found the Scarlet Huntington. Before booking I was really drawn by a couple of things originating from TripAdvisor. People were regularly noting personal touches to their stay in their reviews and one better, the Manager and PR team at the hotel was responding and taking the comments to heart. In many of my best stays this has been a common thread so there’s a free tip! The hotel was going for $329/night. Guess what… through American Express Fine Hotels & Resorts the third night was free. On top of that through the program we received: a room upgrade, early check in, late check out, complimentary breakfast and a free ride from the airport. A deal that could not be refused.
Alas we arrived perched at the top of Nob Hill. Check-in was a breeze. James the doorman greeted us with a smile and arranged for our bags to be brought up to our room with no hassle. The front desk was fully aware and on top of our benefits allotted through the American Express Fine Hotels & Resorts Program. They quickly got us on our way to room 1010 on the third from top floor. Within minutes of arriving in our room the phone rang: a bellman says he would like to bring something up to our room. Minutes later the bell rings and a bottle of champagne with two glasses is presented to us as a welcome in celebration. This gesture was extremely kind and from reading through various reviews I do not find it to be atypical if you are celebrating a special occasion. What a touch.
Our room was spacious with an entire wall of natural light and curtains that could quickly make it a black out. We had a dramatic birds eye view of the city all the way to the water which was very special for sunrise. The entrance opened to a desk and sitting area complete with couch, two well appointed chairs and a night stand. At the far end of the room was a large king bed and two side tables. The furniture was of very high quality and was not the cheap imitation found in many hotels. One of my pet peeves with many hotels is not having electrical outlets next to the bed. This room did not hit any of my peeves as it had not one but two outlets on each side of the bed. There were low light lamps with easy access on either side of the bed which allowed me to grab water in the night without waking my wife. The bedside tables offered plenty of surface space for magazines as well as my iPad and iPhone.
Outlets check. Wifi…. check. This hotel had working wifi. Real working wifi. The wifi was at a cost of 13.95 per day and though I don’t like paying for wifi, I do prefer it to free wifi that has no speed and is unreliable. The connection allowed for up to four devices at a time which I found to be perfectly sufficient. The obvious dream is free lightning fast wifi that doesn’t time out but I believe one would be very hard pressed to find this almost anywhere so for now…this was a great option.
James the worlds best doorman particularly made us feel at home as we entered and ventured out. He made a wonderful suggestion on Saturday to visit the farmers market for lunch. The farmers market was a real highlight for any foodies. James and each of the other doormen seemed to always be of resource to us whether it was for an open door or a meaningful suggestion. Other than stellar rooms, a gracious staff and a fantastic location at the top of Nob Hill the hotel had two elements which really set it apart: The Spa and The Big 4 Restaurant.
The Spa is an actual Spa. It is called the Nob Hill Spa and we regularly saw local San Franciscans getting dropped off for treatments. I love a pool and the only thing I love more than a pool is a jacuzzi to go with it. Throw in a sauna and a steam room and I found it to be heaven. The pool area had complimentary tea which was very nice after a morning soak.
The Big 4 is the Restaurant connected to the hotel. It is affectionately styled with the feeling of an old private members club from the 1800’s. We received complimentary breakfast each morning through the American Express Fine Hotels & Resorts program and we found this to be a tremendous benefit. The food was no heat lamp buffet. Rich breakfast entrees with freshly cooked light eggs, farm meats and fresh fruits. We managed to stuff ourselves with the breakfast so well that we rarely felt the need to buy lunch during our stay.
At night the Big 4 really comes alive. I was informed that many of the staff have worked there for over 20 years. The bartenders are masters with an extensive knowledge of vintage cocktails. I happen to be a self proclaimed expert on mixology and vintage cocktails and found them to be on par or better than bars who consider this to be their niche. We did not ever dine in the restaurant at night other than to have a Earl Grey Creme Brulee which was indulgent and flavorful in all of the best ways. We found our two waitresses to be hilarious, kind and prompt which is all you can ask for.
If you are going….to San-Fran-Ciscooo then I highly recommend looking into staying here. If you also happen to carry the American Express Platinum it will make your stay all the more complete. 5 stars.