The Ritz-Carlton, San Francisco

By Laura van Hoff


The Ritz-Carlton, San Francisco has so much going for it. The location is stellar, tucked into the quintessentially traditional neighborhood of Nob Hill. Walk out the door to explore the hilly neighborhood rich in history, architecture, cable cars, churches and swanky residences. In five minutes you can be downtown, China Town or Union Square yet it feels like being part of the cozy neighborhood.

Service is both polished and personal from the moment you pull into the entrance. A perfectly  orchestrated team handles your check-in with swift precision to set you off on the right foot. Rooms are large and sunny with views of the surrounding famous hotels, private clubs and upscale residences. With plenty of room to spread out and settle in, it's an absolutely fantastic base to explore the city or tuck in and relax. If you let them know about a special occasion like an anniversary, you will come back in the evening to find your bed covered in rose petals. The big marble bathrooms afford plenty of space.

Classic Club Level rooms on two key card floors afford access to the better than average concierge lounge. Plenty of comfy seating areas are perfect for working or leisurely reading the morning paper. Service is attentive and friendly, with continuous food and beverage service offered. Every day brings a different country's cuisine highlighted making it fresh and interesting every day. You could easily be there for weeks and never get bored of the food. Everything I tried was delicious, with plenty of fresh, healthy options. Colorful fruit platters with every imaginable choice are offered as well as lots of veggies alongside more substantial fare are available in the afternoon for lunch and dinner making it easy to eat right. Excellent wines are available with a "help yourself or ask for service" full bar if you'd prefer a mixed drink. Ritz-Carlton properties consistently impress me with the personalized service offered by the concierge lounge food and beverage staff.

The on site restaurant Parallel 37 was a totally delightful discovery and one I plan on making good use of being based in San Francisco. The stylish entrance feels like walking through the entrance to a National Park, with lots of pretty wood in abundance.  The vibe is modern and hip but not obnoxiously so. It's roomy and quiet making settling in for the evening where you can actually hear each other a true treat. Service is terrific and friendly, attentive without being annoying. I think I must have said three times "oooh, I love that wine!" when perusing the wines by the glass, and their specialty cocktails are divine.

The food is gorgeous and delicious from start to finish. The presentation is beautiful on hand crafted dinnerware which echoes the natural theme of the wood interior and rich wood tables. Every dish we tried was well balanced, flavorful and fresh. I especially loved that there were plenty of fresh vegetables from local farms incorporated into nearly everything, with a stand out winner being the locally sourced carrot tortellini dish with greek yogurt and madeira jus. Yum. The rib eye was melt in your mouth goodness and an interesting choice of seafood dishes makes the menu work for everyone. We thought everything about the meal was spot on and were already thinking about who to bring back by the time we were licking our dessert plates.

This is a great property to snuggle into whether you're on business or just to play in San Francisco or both. It feels like stepping into the polished shoes of San Francisco history with a chance to experience this storied neighborhood in style. Excellent service tips this property over the Juicy top as a San Francisco property to call home when you visit.