There’s something about San Francisco that’s all its own – the hum of a city that’s somehow still a laid-back hippie town by the bay despite its emergence as a global “technorati” hotspot. The tension between old and new runs high in San Francisco, but it’s also what makes this hilly northern California city so charming. From faded skyscrapers hiding behind pastel-coloured houses, to local farm-to-table produce paid for with your phone, the juxtaposition of handcraft and technology is the heart and soul of San Francisco today.

A visit to this city will have you instagramming the beauty of an urban place where mountains, ocean and fog meet, and nature and civilisation are constantly coming together. You’ll also enjoy some of the freshest food in the US thanks to San Francisco’s proximity to fertile farmland and focus on local, sustainable produce. Each cup of coffee is a work of art, each glass of wine tells a story about the climate and family that produced it.

You will quickly realise that there’s something for everyone here. And with plenty of day-trip escapes in any direction (Lake Tahoe for the weekend? Napa for the afternoon?) it’s easy to see why so many people from all around the world decide to call San Francisco home – over 60 per cent of residents are California transplants and more than a third were born outside the US. You’ll meet tie-dyed hippies in the Haight, hipster foodies in the Mission, Lululemon-clad yuppies in the Marina, suited professionals downtown and seasoned surfers along Ocean Beach. So slip on your sneakers, tie on a scarf for the wind and get ready to explore like a local.


Tilden Hotel Tenderloin

The former 1928-built Mark Twain Hotel has undergone a top-to-bottom transformation to be reborn as the Tilden, now with minimalist lines, natural textures, warm wood surfaces and plenty of Californian sunlight. On site, the Douglas Room serves up concoctions like La Di Da Di (vodka, ginger beer, grapefruit cordial and black lava salt served in a metal cup) along with bar bites such as charred eggplants paired with shishito peppers, or roasted carrots and fennel topped with labneh. Fuzzy heads can be washed away the next morning at the hotel’s curb-side café, which serves strong brews by Equator Coffee.

Las Alcobas Napa Valley

San Francisco’s proximity to the endless horizon of vineyards in Napa Valley makes it a breeze to nip out of town for a quick getaway. Set over a three-acre spread in St Helena, Las Alcobas features sleek Yabu Pushelberg-designed interiors with lots of oak, marble and stone. Plump for the upper category rooms which come complete with outdoor terraces, cosy fireplaces and hot tubs with views over the vineyards – perfect for a post-spa soak. Come dinner, head to the Acacia House restaurant where modern Californian fare is paired with a smartly edited wine list.

The Ritz Carlton Nob Hill

The Ritz Carlton is proof of how a 20th-century landmark can be transformed into a modern-day hub with flawless food and amenities that include a state-of-the-art fitness centre and a wine-tasting lounge with a rare menu that has become a hit with the locals. Located in the city’s fancy Nob Hill neighbourhood, the hotel is located a one-block stroll away from the heaving delights of Chinatown and with the historic cable car stopping just outside the property, there’s no excuse not to hop on and explore the rest of the city.

  • +1 415 296 7465
  • Go to Website
  • 600 Stockton Street
    San Francisco

Hotel Zoe Fisherman’s Wharf

The former Tuscan Inn has emerged from a nip and tuck as the Hotel Zoe, with clean, modern interiors in a refreshed colour palette. The hotel might be faultlessly located in the heart of Fisherman’s Wharf, a short stroll from major sites such as Pier 39, Alcatraz or Ghiradelli Square, but make sure you come back in time for a pre-prandial “zocktail” at Bar Zoe before heading next door to Pescatore, the hotel’s Italian restaurant that serves up classics such as Tuscan meatballs with a strong dose of neighbourhood charm.

  • +1 415 561 1100
  • Go to Website
  • 425 North Point St
    San Francisco

The Alise Tenderloin

The Alise takes its cues from its eclectic neighbourhood, where the City by the Bay meets show business. An opulent black-lacquer front door with gold scrollwork reveals a resplendent lobby with a nine-screen video panel that rotates a curated selection of artistic scenes, while a shiny red baby grand piano on the mezzanine level encourages guests to perform. Explore nearby sites such as Union Square and Golden Gate Bridge on one of the hotel’s custom cruiser bikes, before heading back, where beds come complete with individually folded duvets to ensure a wrestle-free sleep.

The Ritz Carlton

Hotel Zoe

Las Alcobas

The Alise

Tilden Hotel

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