San Francisco is one of the most distinctive cities in the world. As such, it’s a city that begs travelers to stay in hotels that drive its unique character right through the front doors and into guest spaces.
Four Seasons has long championed a sense of place at the brand’s properties around the world, blending standard comforts like the Four Seasons bed with hyperlocal touches like a mini Boeing airplane to indicate the sheets should be changed in Seattle to a ceramic cowboy boot in Houston.
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At The Four Seasons San Francisco, the local touch is undoubtedly the menu at the hotel’s MKT Restaurant. Named for the hotel’s position on the city’s bustling Market Street, the menu reads of the region’s best delights.
Names of oysters of diverse provenance are chalked up on the board daily, and on my visit I grazed on a Crudo of Hiramasa (Yellowtail Amberjack) with Meyer Lemon Gelée and ponzu before digging into a bowl of cioppino big enough to satisfy a crew of gold miners, with a generous side of rustic sourdough bread with two kinds of butter infusions.
Situated on the fifth floor of the hotel high above Market Street, it’s even a satisfying haunt for locals to slip away from the melee of the street and dine, or enjoy a cocktail at the comfortably furnished and surprisingly lively bar. During Pride Month, the rainbow flags of the city streets found their way into the hotel’s public spaces, and the hotel even offered a number of Pride-inspired cocktails with a portion of the proceeds going to a local AIDS charity.
Guest rooms having soothingly neutral colors evocative of the foggy marine environment that keeps the city so temperate. Greys, aquas and whites don’t compete for attention in higher floor guest rooms with views of the city and surrounding waters. It’s tempting to pour a cup of coffee from the Nespresso machine and take advantage of the window-front bench seating reminiscent of what one might find in a Victorian mansion to ponder the views.
The familiar Four Seasons bed and other standard amenities like shoe shine, one-hour pressing, and a wired television that will stream guests’ personal content are all there as expected, and guests can melt away their days of travel or sightseeing in the full marble baths with separate shower and soaker tubs. For guests with little ones, staff will also provide cribs, baby powder, baby shampoo and other amenities like welcome milk and cookies.
Guests also have access to the Equinox gym in the same building, and on the upper floors, the eucalyptus scent from the gym’s steam rooms manages to seep into the corridors and elevator vestibules, giving the hotel an almost spa-like feel.
It’s surprising to find this luxury tucked away into an unassuming building on one of the busiest streets in one of the largest cities on North America’s Pacific Coast. Aside from some discreet signage and a welcoming doorman, there’s not much to indicate the serene spaces that lie beyond the front door. There’s a ground floor lobby that operates virtually as a pass-through to the fifth-floor sky lobby, which manages to provide similarly quiet respite. Walking into the hotel is akin to putting on a noise-canceling headset.
The vaunted Four Seasons service doesn’t disappoint either. Quietly helpful service? It’s there. Special requests at breakfast? Confirmed via the app, double-checked the night before, and flawlessly delivered with my toast. Pants need pressing for a wedding? They’ll be back in an hour.
For intrepid explorers, the hotel is well-located for transit. It sits atop the BART line that runs beneath Market Street, and the stations are a short walk from the front doors. Nearby Powell street is also the terminus for the city’s famous cable cars, which climb over Nob Hill to Fisherman’s Wharf.
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It makes for a pleasant San Francisco visit to know that, however one chooses to spend their day, there’s a cozy hideaway with a good view of the city waiting to come home to.
Four Seasons executes guest experience with vibrant local color and virtually no flaws in most cities around the world, and San Francisco is no exception.
Rates start at $395 plus tax and vary by season and occupancy.
Guest room views are sure to catch attention.
Four Seasons does not have a loyalty program.
Good To Know
No self-parking; the hotel’s valet entrance is on Third Street.
Early-arriving and late-departing guests not wishing to book additional nights can access Equinox to freshen up before or after their rooms are ready.
Accommodations were furnished by Four Seasons San Francisco in preparation for this story.