The Fairmont San Francisco is a landmark hotel that has seen patrons such as US presidents, world leaders and celebrities grace its hallowed halls.
Since 1907, the Fairmont San Francisco has defined excellence, often raising the bar for guest satisfaction in the hospitality industry. As a matter of fact, in the 1970s, the Fairmont San Francisco was the first ever hotel in the US to introduce concierge service. It’s no surprise that the Fairmont SF’s commitment to top-notch service is stronger than ever in its second century of operation, as noted by its extensive collection of past and present accolades.
It’s hard to not be in awe when walking into the Fairmont SF. The stately exterior of the building is absolutely gorgeous. Once inside, the lobby is also a stunner, with marble floors, towering columns, and baroque ceilings. It’s without a doubt a San Francisco institution.
The hotel was designed by Julia Morgan, the innovative architect behind Hearst Castle, and the Fairmont’s exterior resembles a magnificent Beaux-Arts palace. You’ll instantly be transported to the elegance of yesteryear, but have all the modern comforts and luxuries of the 21st century.
On top of that, the Fairmont San Francisco has the best panoramic views of the city, with sweeping vistas of the Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz, and the greater downtown San Francisco Bay Area. You’ll be hard pressed to find a nicer hotel in the city, and the Fairmont will from now on be my go-to choice when visiting SF!
The Fairmont San Francisco offers 606 guest rooms and suites situated in the hotel’s historic Main Building and in its Tower Building.
These two distinct structures inspire a sophisticated, tailored look that pays homage to the hotel’s storied history and famed architecture. During my stay, I stayed in a Signature King room located on the 21st floor of the Tower Building. Tower Building guest rooms offer a “jewel box” inspired look, with sapphire stunning views of San Francisco Bay combined with crisp accents highlighting a contemporary, neutral color palette of warm taupe, platinum, and pewter, along with cream lacquer accents and hints of sparkling silver.
The hotel also features several large accommodation options with roomy pullout couches and enhanced seating areas that are ideal for multi-generational or group travelers. In addition, there are 62 suites, which offer epic views of the City and Bay, and feature artwork inspired by the many musical performers who have graced the hotel’s ballrooms, and who have sung about their love of San Francisco.
All guest rooms are equipped with features and amenities essential to the modern traveler, such as Nespresso machines, robes, slippers, and luxurious bath products. One of my favorite things about staying at a Fairmont is that they have a partnership with New York-based perfume house Le Labo, and the Fairmont offers an exclusive line of toiletries with Le Labo’s famous Rose 31 fragrance.
The incredible view from my Signature King room and the bathroom were my favorite parts of my stay. The marble bathroom was exquisite, and enormous for a city hotel, with a separate shower and a bathtub. It was like having a my own personal spa in my hotel room!
In addition, I also melted into the plush king mattress and Frette linens — it was like sleeping on a cloud! I also loved the ease and convenience of being able to order in-room dining from the bedside tablet. It was so magical to sit at the huge picture window, sip on my morning coffee, indulge in a tasty omelette, and watch San Francisco come to life in the early hours of the morning.
The Location and Guest Experience
Fairmont San Francisco is located on top of Nob Hill at the corner of California and Mason streets. Centrally located, the hotel is a short cable car trip from the bustling Downtown, Financial District, Union Square and Fisherman’s Wharf. In fact, the Fairmont San Francisco is the only spot in SF where each of the city’s cable car lines meet, which makes it super convienent and easy to get around.
The hotel has a fitness center and spa, has its own beehives, allows pets, and it has an enchanting rooftop garden with a fountain and views of the city. The rooftop garden was my favorite, as it is a magnificent oasis in the heart of the city. Its impeccable landscaping, towering palm trees, sparkling fountain and lounge seating make this the ideal spot for relaxing and taking in the beautiful views.
Fairmont San Francisco offers three fabulous dining options for guests and visitors. We weren’t able to dine at the newly opened Cirque Bar, but we absolutely loved breakfast at Laurel Court and we had the most delicious and fun dinner at the Tonga Room!
The Tonga Room & Hurricane Bar
The Tonga Room & Hurricane Bar at the Fairmont San Francisco is like being transported to a tropical island in the South Pacific! This famous restaurant and bar is an iconic SF landmark, featuring live entertainment and dancing. This world-renowned tiki venue serves divinely delicious Polynesian-fusion, family-style cuisine in a truly, one-of-a-kind setting.
The Fairmont’s old indoor pool, called The Plunge, was renovated to become the Tonga Room. At the time when Tonga was opened, it was one of the nation’s first Polynesian-themed restaurants. Delightfully nostalgic, the iconic Tonga Room exudes atmosphere in spades! And it’s no wonder, since it was a Hollywood set designer who created the themed look and feel.
We had the Tonga Pupu Platter (fried vegetable spring rolls, ahi tuna poke tostadas, chili pepper chicken wings, house made Spam and edamame), the Coconut Curry Seafood, and the Grilled Miso Salmon. All of the food was stupendously delicious, and I think the Tonga Room is a MUST visit on any trip to SF!
Oh, and be sure to try the Mai Tai, regularly recognized as one of SF’s best! As you revel in the band playing on the floating boat and marvel at the kitsch decor, be sure to hold on to your libation during the periodic “surprise” rain, thunder and lightning storms!
The Tonga Room is open Wednesday through Sunday, and is so awesome that even Anthony Bourdain highlighted it on his show The Layover in 2014!
Crowned by three ornate domes, Laurel Court serves award-winning regional cuisine for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Laurel Court also hosts one of the city’s most elegant afternoon tea services, which is available on Saturdays and Sundays.
We only dined at Laurel Court once for breakfast, but wow was it a wonderful meal! I was blown away at how delectable the Huevos Rancheros was! It was SO good in fact, that we ordered a second portion!
Whether staying at the Fairmont or not, I’d highly recommend dropping in to Laurel Court for a delicious breakfast or to sit back and indulge in a relaxing Afternoon Tea service.
Accor’s ALL Loyalty Program
ALL points are very simple to redeem: every 1,000 points is worth €20 toward any stay. 5,000 points are therefore worth €100 towards any stay with one of the chain’s many brands. If your stay takes place in a different currency, you get that value converted into local currency.
There’s no arbitrage, like with some other points programs, but with frequent bonuses on earning, and dependably easy ways to redeem, GSTP is a fan of the program.
With the current exchange rate, €100 is worth $110 or £85, so 5,000 points would get you $110 or £85 off a bill at any global Accor property, which includes all Fairmont’s, Sofitel’s, Raffles’, Banyan Tree’s and many more.
Unlike many hotel loyalty programs, the nice thing is that ALL points can go toward the cost of a room, cover a room entirely, or just go toward the folio when checking out, in case you run up a tab!
The Fairmont is one of the most luxurious and best-reviewed hotels in San Francisco, and it’s easy to see why! The Fairmont San Francisco will be my go-to choice whenever I am in the Bay Area. It’s perfect for couples, families and business travelers alike, and the decor, dining options, staff and the outstanding service make this a truly fabulous hotel for anyone looking to have a one-of-a-kind, luxury experience while visiting SF!