I had the pleasure of visiting San Francisco/Oakland last week for work. Even though I had previously been there once, this time it left me with a sweet taste in my taste buds.
When I arrived I had a very and dear sweet friend pick me up at the airport. That in itself was nice, not having to deal with cabs or other impersonal transportation arrangements. The drive from SFO to the city was great. It is full of valleys and mountains. Is as if the area tantalizes you, until finally you get to see it…the beautiful city by the bay, San Francisco.
Once there, we arrived at my hotel, the Palace Hotel. Honestly, when I booked the hotel, I was mainly looking at prices. I did not take time to look through and research my options. Once I arrived, I was extremely surprised. As soon as you walk in, I saw the beautiful Garden Court. I turned to my right, and a host greeted me and directed me to the check in line. After I checked in I walked around a bit and went up to my room. As I walked through the hallways and into my room, I sensed that there was a lot of history there. So, after doing some research here is a brief synopsis. The hotel was inspired by visionary William Ralston. Ralston commissioned an architect to study some the best hotels around Europe and make them look pale in comparison. The hotel was extremely pricey for its time and made Ralston exhaust his banking empire. Yet, on October 2nd, 1875, exactly 132 years ago, the Palace Hotel opened its doors. It survived the 1906 earthquake and all events thereafter. Woodrow Wilson hosted two luncheons attempting to obtain support for the Versailles Treaty after WWI. So as you can see the hotel has a lot of history. The Garden Court feels like you are stepping into a 1800s movie set. Beautiful ceilings and the tea tables are just around the courtyard ready to be sat on. I felt like putting on an old Victorian dress with a great big hat and having tea with the ladies. It was a great hotel with a magical sense that great ones have walked through those hallways. The hotel also sends emails before your stay with information about the hotel and transportation options, and they send a very nice thank you note after your stay. A nice personal touch that makes you feel refreshed and special after staying in god knows how many hotels in the past few weeks.
I also got to explore the financial district a tad bit more. The last time I was there, I got to go to other parts of the city. This time I stayed around the financial district and walked around the streets. Great shops!!! You can find anything from H&M to Hermes (I got to see my future Kelly bag!!!). It has a great ambiance, and guess what? People are really nice. Maybe I’m still not used to the harsh New England way of being, but it was refreshing to see people that actually smiled and say hi to you.
I also went to two great restaurants. I will save those for a later time…
But for now, like Mr. Bennet sings, I left my heart in San Francisco.