Atop Nob Hill, San Francisco, with its picturesque sights and a rich history dating back to the mid-1800s, you will find the flagship of the luxury, world-renowned Fairmont hotels, and resorts. The Fairmont San Francisco Hotel, where elegance meets excellence, proudly boasts panoramic views of the Bay. The hotel’s location is also the only place in the city where two of the iconic cable car lines intersect.
Boasting 600 rooms, the property is vast yet tastefully designed. The building decor, reminiscent of opulent days gone by, was impressive outside and inside. The hotel lobby featured grandiose hand carved ceilings, floor to ceiling marble pillars with scattered Asian inspired artifacts. Golden gilded velvet furniture, marble floors, and grand staircases continued the Asian theme, along with live orchids and potted bamboo trees.
The week we stayed, our fellow travelers were businessmen, solo travelers, and families wishing to experience luxury in the city by the Bay.
After driving six hours from LA, we finally arrived at the hotel in the late afternoon. The bellman greeted us warmly and helped us with our luggage through the check in process. Check in was a breeze since we had contacted the front desk personnel earlier that day to ensure that they had reserved a feather free and quiet room for us.
Much to our surprise, we were upgraded to the Nepal Suite.
I have to say that we were completely wowed! The Nepal was a corner suite with strategically placed windows showcasing the beautiful views of San Francisco. The large suite was divided into a living room, bedroom, and connecting mini hallway. The entrance hallway had a table with a mirror, stylish ceiling lights, and provided a functional welcome to guests entering the suite.
The Living Room
The designated living room was divided into two different areas. One was an elegant dining area, complete with a table that could accommodate half a dozen guests as well as a sitting area that had an opening sofa and two armchairs comfortable for reading the complimentary newspapers provided. The opening sofa turned out to be perfect for our son with autism, as it was spacious and facing the TV set that he enjoyed watching.
The room also had a rather large, elegant dresser/display case that stocked a surcharge minibar along with a coffee/tea station. The plush paisley designed carpet complimented the look of black, white, and brown furniture pieces in the room. We especially liked the San Francisco art photography displayed on the walls.
Our separate master bedroom was bright and airy, with plenty of natural light as well as bedside and standing lamps conveniently placed. Just like the living room area, the bedroom had its own TV set, which came in handy when we, the adults, wanted to watch a different program than our son. Needless to say, this suite had ample storage with a plethora of shelves, hanging space, and drawers. The walk in closet was so spacious that one could take a nap inside. The closet was probably the largest of its kind we had seen during our travels. In addition to the bed, there was a desk with an accompanying padded leather chair, which was useful for me as a writer.
We all appreciated that there were plenty of outlets to plug in devices in both rooms.
In sharp contrast to the generous size of the rest of the suite, the bathroom was relatively modest but beautifully designed. The floor was a golden-brown marble, and the sink was black granite. The bathroom had a combination bathtub/shower with a curtain and no handheld shower attachment, which would have been helpful for parents of younger kids. The amenity kit’s gently-fragranced Rose 31 cosmetics was an added welcome, as were the bathrobes and slippers supplied.
The attention to detail was impressive; even the toilet paper had a custom made fabric cover with the Fairmont logo stitched on it.
This hotel offered a choice of various dining venues. The first night we arrived, we enjoyed a scrumptious dinner at the Laurel Court restaurant along with a pianist for entertainment. The dining hall had a ceiling rotunda with gorgeous glass chandeliers and Italian frescos depicting countryside landscapes as decor.
The following morning, we enjoyed their breakfast buffet in the same hall with its lofty vaulted ceilings and grand marble pillars. The food was high quality and plentiful. The buffet featured different choices of juices as well as coffees and teas for refreshments.
The baked goods section had danishes, muffins, french toast, sticky buns, and bagels along with other pastries. The cut up fruit section looked especially inviting with its colorful fresh berries displayed. In addition, guests could feast on freshly made yogurts, a selection of cold cuts, cheeses, cereals, sausages, potatoes, and eggs benedict.
Our favorite was the chef’s station where you could customize your own omelet.
For those who need their java fix, the hotel had a coffee shop where they sell baked goods and hot beverages. The hotel’s stores also sold honey related products like beer and stuffed dolls.
Not to be missed was the hotel’s Tonga room, a fun place to go dancing and listen to music. The room served killer cocktails and scrumptious appetizers in a pirate ship environment.
The hotel rooftop is a popular venue for weddings and other special occasions, boasting manicured gardens overlooking the city. A less known area, albeit still interesting to explore with kids, is the hotel’s herb garden that supplies the venue’s kitchens with fresh ingredients. Complete with bee hives, raspberry vines, fragrant lavender and other herbs, visiting this little ecosystem below the clouds was one of the highlights of our stay.
We were very fortunate to get a private tour of the herb gardens and outside spaces with the hotel chef. During our chat, he elaborated on the hotel’s food menu for dogs. Apparently, the Fairmont in San Francisco is one of the few in the world that not only welcomes four-legged friends but provides freshly prepared food items that owners can order through room service or in the restaurant.
Room at this venue starts at $242 a night. The Fairmont has a parking garage, and the cost is $67 for valet parking and unlimited access per night.
Overall, the Fairmont San Francisco well exceeded our expectations, and we had an incredible stay in their hotel. The staff went out of their way to make us feel welcome as a family and to cater and accommodate our son with autism throughout our trip.
We look forward to staying at the beautiful property again sometime in the future.
Autism Travel Tips:
- Bring your own anti-slip mat for the bathroom if this is a concern.
- The hotel is very safety conscious, so the windows open partially just for air.
- The Tonga Room is a fun place. However, it can get crowded and noisy, and therefore might not be suitable for noise sensitive kids.
- For this size room, make sure you bring at least two night-lights. There’s quite a bit of walking in the dark, especially from the living room into the bathroom.
- If you do decide to go and visit the bees or get a tour, talk to your kid about not touching anything.
- There’s a lot of breakables in this suite. Ask staff to remove the breakables ahead of time if this would be a concern.