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So this is what one sees when they pull up to the Ritz in San Fran.  It’s actually kind of hard to get this view, I’m pretty sure they had to get a crane for this shot, because the hotel is set on the very top crest of a hill (as it seems almost everything in San Fran is).  The-Ritz-Carlton-San-Francisco.jpg

The first impression you get is that you’ve pulled into a D.C. monument, or you’re about to enter a really well built bank vault.  The lobby is small, and the hotel itself lends itself to an older feel.  It is certainly a building that’s been around for a while but with significant renovation.  One of the most impressive things about the lobby is the champagne room which is adjacent to the check-in desk.  It’s also known as the Jean-Charles Boisset tasting room.  For a mere $50-$100 a head you can taste some really complex fermented grapes.  I chose to keep my Benjamin (and half a benjamin), but did peek in just to admire the gravitas of the environment in the JCB Room.

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This Ritz reminds me a lot of the Montreal Ritz in many ways, because of it’s old bones and renovated skin.  The ideal location at Nob Hill makes it central to pretty much everywhere in San Fran and the service was impeccable.  Nothing out of the ordinary at this Ritz.

PROS:

  • It’s got tons of character, and a very centralized location
  • For the price it’s not too bad.  San Fran is known for incredibly expensive real estate (at the time of this writing the highest in the country), and the rack rates for the Ritz here are actually – dare I say – affordable for what you get
  • It’s a smaller Ritz so the service is very intimate and personalized

CONS:

  • The rooms are a bit small, but I guess you can’t complain because space is always at a premium in SF.
  • Remember to ask for a room that is further away from the elevator, it’s old and quite squeaky
  • Plan on paying an arm and a leg to park your car there

SECRETS:

  • Get to the lounge early enough and you’ll score some happy hour drinks.  The bartender’s tip is that they pour them extra stiff at the beginning of the hour to get the crowd going.  Now THAT’S what a happy hour is all about!

OTHER STUFF IN SAN FRANCISCO:

  • Lets get this straight.  It’s called “Frisco”.  I’ve had this argument numerous times, but have since conceded to the naysayers, even though the graphic evidence below supports my personal conviction. IMG_1146
  • You HAVE to have yourself one of the original Irish Coffees at the Buena Vista located in the Marina District.  It even so happens that if you get one WITHOUT the “Irish” portion it still tastes quite damn deliciousmaxresdefault
  • Do yourself a favor and get some exercise.  Rent a bike in the Marina, go across to Sausalito via the bridge, have some damn good seafood, and Uber or ferry back.  Check out this link for more detailed info.  Gratuitous shot I took on my way over the bridge below: IMG_5333
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