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The Huntington Hotel: A quiet escape with a bit of old world charm

Posted on: July 23rd, 2012 by Amy Martin No Comments

If you are a first-time visitor to San Francisco, it can be very overwhelming finding the perfect hotel for your stay. The city houses such an incredible amount of hotels that narrowing your choices can be time-consuming, especially if you are unsure of which area you’re looking to stay in.

Some visitors choose to stay near the Wharf to be close to the water and within walking distance of many of the main tourist spots. Others choose to stay further in the city, near the Financial District or Union Square, to be near local restaurants and shopping destinations. Knowing that the city can be somewhat congested of rowdy tourists and foot traffic, others (like me) search for a quieter, more relaxing stay a bit away from the clamorous streets. I found that repose in The Huntington Hotel located on Nob Hill, one of San Francisco’s highest hills and home to the neighborhoods of many upper-class locals. The hotel overlooks the stunning Grace Cathedral and Huntington Park, a lovely area for residents and visitors to sit back with a book and enjoy the sunshine and cool weather. Its peaceful views alone immediately sold me on this hotel.

The Huntington Hotel

The Huntington Hotel

The hotel from Huntington Park

The hotel from Huntington Park

Upon arrival we were warmly welcomed by one of the staff members at the door, Jason, and our bags were swiftly taken to our room. After my first step into the front entrance of the front lobby, I immediately fell in love with the hotel. The Huntington is exquisitely elegant and offers a bit of history as the property dates back to the 20s. Check out their story here. It has been remodeled to offer many of today’s necessary luxuries, but still maintains the integrity of its design and vintage glamour. Its sophisticated atmosphere instantly made me feel as if I was a bit more “grown up” and my inner Audrey Hepburn squealed a little when I peeked into the swanky Big Four Restaurant with its dark wood accents and large piano for entertainment. I have such a fondness of vintage design and appreciated every little detail of this hotel’s old world charm. It was the perfect choice for my stay.

The Huntington’s remodeled rooms are more spacious than your average hotel and each room’s décor is uniquely its own. If you are looking for a funky, hip, modern hotel on your vacation, perhaps this hotel is not the best fit for you. However, the spaciousness of the rooms and elegant appeal of its décor make up for it tenfold. We stayed in a Luxury Room, an oversized room featuring a king-sized bed and spacious sitting area.

King-sized bed in our Luxury Room

King-sized bed in our Luxury Room

The spacious room offered a sitting area in front of the comfy bed

The spacious room offered a sitting area in front of the comfy bed

The space offered a small desk area for those on business, two oversized closets, plush bathrobes for lounging, and a walk-in bathroom with double sinks. As our luggage was delivered to our room, the staff showed us how to control the A/C and how to open and close the double windows (I love the fact that the windows open all the way – letting the breeze of the city sweep in). Coming from the heat of Phoenix, it was a nice treat to be able to have the windows open for most of our stay.

Desk area

Desk area

The carpet was gorgeous and plush – one of the things I loved most about the room. Its pale olive shade against the cool, subtle paint color and bright yellow and gold accents in the room made me wish I had this décor in my own bedroom at home. The sitting area had a comfortable couch with plenty of throw pillows, a glass coffee table and two chairs on either side of the large, flat screen TV.

Sitting area with a flat-screen TV

Sitting area with a flat-screen TV

The bed was ridiculously comfortable and I’m incredibly picky about where I sleep. Their down pillows and comforter kept me warm and comfortable all night long. In the late afternoon, the hotel offers turn-down service which was a very thoughtful touch. It was always a welcomed treat coming “home” late at night to see my bed already turned-down for me, the curtains pulled close, lighting dimmed and a new bottle of water on my nightstand. Can I have someone do this for me at home?

Stepping foot into the bathroom, I would have had no idea that this was a historic hotel. My bathroom was completely re-modeled and its countertops were beautiful. I loved the fact that the window above my shower opened up letting the moisture escape and allowing fresh air in. Complimentary L’Occitane amenities (shampoo, conditioner, shower gel, body lotion and soap bars) sat on the countertops.

Large bathroom with double sinks

Large bathroom with double sinks

The staff was only a phone call away and readily available to accommodate any need we had on our stay. Ice service is available through room service and brought up to your room quickly after giving them a call down at the front desk. Room service offered several selections for breakfast, lunch, dinner and drinks and was an easy-breezy experience when we called down for breakfast one morning. Though our plan was to spend most of our time out exploring the city, after checking in to our room we chose to spend a little more time enjoying the comfortable, relaxing space.

If you’re bringing your own car or have a rental like we did, valet is a bit pricey, though area hotels seemed to be charging the same or even a bit more; however, the daily fee includes unlimited ins and outs and the doorman, Jason, who almost always was the one to bring our car around was such a delight every time we had a chance to chat with him. Because the hotel is situated at the top of Nob Hill (a quiet and very safe area), there aren’t many shops and restaurants around the perimeter. Union Square is just a few blocks away, but quite a hike for those not used to the steep hills of SF. If you do choose to explore the area on foot, be warned – you’ll have to climb one of the steepest hills on your way back to the hotel. It is quite an incline and not for the faint of heart, but if I can do it, you can too!

Not up for the climb? Stay in for dinner and grab a table at the Big 4 Restaurant, a fine dining contemporary-American restaurant offering breakfast and dinner. Executive Chef Gloria Ciccarone-Nehls carries a “Chef of the Year” award under her belt from the National Executive Chefs Association and personally crafts the restaurant’s seasonal menus herself from starters to entrees. The restaurant’s dark wood features and dim lighting is the perfect backdrop for a romantic date with your companion. Take a seat near the fireplace and sip on a glass or wine or specialty cocktail and listen to the live piano entertainment offered nightly from 5pm-11:30pm.

If after a day of sightseeing you need a bit of pampering, head to Nob Hill Spa adjacent to the hotel’s lobby. Rated one of the best spas in the area, it features an indoor relaxation pool, an outdoor relaxation patio with a view of the city, whirlpool, fireplaces, sauna room, steam room, ten treatment rooms and a VIP spa suite. To maintain a calm relaxing atmosphere, those under 16 years of age are not allowed in the spa or relaxation pool. Guests of the hotel receive complimentary use of the spa facilities during their stay (open until 9pm every night) which is so breathtaking, you’ll be tempted to purchase a massage or body treatment.

All in all, The Huntington’s accommodations were without fault on my recent stay. The staff’s level of service was impeccable, so attentive, that I couldn’t have asked for more from the hotel or my room. The hardest part of staying at The Huntington was that I never wanted to leave The Huntington!

Would you ever want to leave?

Would you ever want to leave?

To learn more about the hotel and book your own stay, visit huntingtonhotel.com.

The Huntington Hotel | 1075 California Street | San Francisco, CA | 94108 | 415-474-5400

After choosing this hotel, PhoenixBites received a special media offer for the stay. However, this has no effect on our opinions and comments regarding our experience. View our Disclosure Policy for further explanation.

About the Author - Amy Martin

Author of Her Plate, Amy's love of food, cooking and all things culinary keeps her endlessly plotting what her next meal will be. Her pastimes include creating in (i.e. demolishing) her own kitchen and baking far more sweets than her tiny family could ever eat.

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