Admittedly, I might be a little biased when it comes to the Ritz Carlton San Francisco. After all, this is a hotel that holds some of my most precious childhood and teenage memories of family brunches and reunions. Isn’t it in this exact power that a hotel possesses to create such biases within guests that proves their very superiority though? It is not just any hotel that can lodge itself into people’s hearts, leaving indelible memories evoked by a mere whisper of that iconic name.
Housed in what was once the Metropolitan Life Insurance Company, the present day Ritz Carlton building dates back over 100 years to 1909. Like the romantic city it is a resident of, this Ritz Carlton holds a century of history, business deals, secrets, weddings, family reunions and the launching of many great culinary talents including one of my personal favorites- Chef Gary Danko. She is a grande dame of San Francisco- perched on Nob Hill, walking distance to Union Square and just a block away from the center of America’s largest and most historic Chinatown.
A shade smaller than most Ritz Carlton hotels, this one has a unique charm, welcoming guests with a glass jar of Chinese fortune cookies, marble pillars and a recently renovated lounge and California-centric restaurant. Her staff- though every bit in the manner of the infamous Gold Standard Ladies and Gentlemen, seem somehow more familiar and cozy, somehow less stuffy than other hotels of the same class.
If you’re unfamiliar with Ritz Carlton hotels, then you’ll want to know that like all others, this one also features plush beds with high thread count sheets and duvet, marble bathrooms, chic interior design and luxury amenities including thick robes, slippers and a full array of toiletries. Should you wish to stay on hotel premises, you can discover one of San Francisco’s most popular restaurants (Parallel 37) that showcases organic Californian cuisine or visit the luxurious Spa for a destressing massage. While all of this is reason enough to choose this San Francisco luxury hotel, there is much more than meets the eye.
Where does the magic lie? It’s in the gentle smiles of each housekeeping staff as you ask for an extra towel or two. It’s in the natural but perfectly coordinated side-step of the gentlemen in suits who bow their heads to you as they usher you to walk past first and wish you a good day by name. It’s in the gracious manner of the Club Lounge and Parallel 37 staff as they wait until you are finished with a sentence in your private conversation before stepping forward to ask if there’s anything they can get for you.
While the Ritz Carlton San Francisco staff is every bit the Ladies and Gentlemen that management preaches, they treat guests even more so like ladies and gentlemen of an era long gone- when speaking tones were civilized, smiles were genuine and the rush to help- a natural inclination.
This is a hotel where families are made, grown and return for generations. This is a hotel that brings about a quiet sense of joy, a serenity missing in modern life and good old fashioned class.
You can rest assured that in years to come, I’ll be returning to the Ritz Carlton San Francisco with future generations of my family to share the love and values my parents instilled in me.