"Majestic" is the word that best sums up this landmark hotel, which was the world's largest and most luxurious when it opened in 1875. The Palace Hotel was completely rebuilt after the 1906 earthquake and fire, and the carriage entrance reemerged as the grand Garden Court restaurant. The architectural details that recall a bygone era remain, among them the Austrian crystal chandeliers; the tall, mirrored glass doors; and eight pairs of bronze-filigreed marble columns supporting
a magnificent dome ceiling filtering natural light; it's a refined environment ideally suited for the afternoon tea served on weekends and daily during holiday periods. At this writing, rooms were slated to be renovated in late 2013. But the 14-foot ceilings, flat-screen TVs, and marble bathrooms will remain. An indoor lap pool and hot tub, adjacent to the state-of-the-art fitness center, sits beneath a sunny glass-domed ceiling.