A stained-glass dome dominates the lobby of this stately but comfortable hotel where once stood the mansion of Big Four railroad baron Leland Stanford. The rooms, decorated in warm tones and furnished with handsome leather chairs and tasteful modern accessories, offer additional elegant touches like 300-thread-count Frette sheets, plush robes, heated towel racks, bathrooms with granite vanities, and nightly turndown service. Interior rooms are smaller than exterior ones
but have less noise; the exterior rooms provide splendid views and the constant ding of the passing cable cars. A recent $35 million renovation has made Stanford Court sparkle. Aurea Restaurant offers a seasonal menu of California cuisine; it's a fine place to grab a cocktail after trekking through Nob Hill.