I don’t think there can possibly be any argument with the Fairmont hotel’s position as the grande dame of San Francisco’s many extraordinary hotels. Constructed from what was left after the twin ravages of fire and earthquake in 1906 by Heasrt’s pet architect, the prolific and game-changing Julia Morgan, it stands at the very top of Nob Hill dominating the skyline of central San Francisco. (Rumour has it that the hotel’s first owners presciently bought the air rights around the hotel in the days when such a concept barely existed.)
The best word to describe the public spaces would be ‘splendid’. There is much velvet and marble and rich use of colour.
Staying at the Fairmont feels like an event, from the moment the uniformed doormen leap to attention as your car swings into the drive. As you climb the steps under the Palladian portico, you feel as if you too could be one of the many presidents of the United States who have stayed here or indeed Michelle Obama who was here recently.
My room was up in the tower, whose dedicated elevator bank is a full five minute walk through the hotel. But, unlike many hotels, where tower additions are to be avoided, this one is to be positively embraced, as it has views over the city that would make the most hardened hotel dweller’s jaw drop.
Sleeping here feels as though you are floating above the city, as there are no other tall buildings on any side of the tower, and the sightline reaches as far as Oakland and Marin County on the other side of the bay.
And here’s the short film I took of my room up on the 23rd floor, overlooking the city:
LLG was a guest of the Fairmont San Francisco