Fodor's Expert Review Palace Hotel, San Francisco
2 New Montgomery St., San Francisco, California 94105, USA See on Map
This landmark hotel—the world's largest and most luxurious when it opened in 1875—was completely rebuilt after the 1906 earthquake and fire, inspiring the carriage entrance to reemerge as the grand Garden Court restaurant, a favorite for lunching ladies and celebratory brunches. The refined environment suits the afternoon tea served on weekends and daily during holiday periods.
Light and airy, 300-square foot rooms feature navy and charcoal highlights. The wooden work desk (with plenty of outlets to recharge) and flat screen TV caters to business travelers. Tufted headboards and pillowtop mattresses accentuate the luxury.
Marble baths showcase rain showers and LED lighting.
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.
An indoor lap pool and hot tub sits beneath a sunny glass-domed ceiling.
The state-of-the-art fitness center is open 24-hours a day.
Quite possibly the grandest dining establishment in San Francisco, with its glass dome atrium and crystal chandeliers, the Garden Court Restaurant provides lunching ladies and holiday travelers with a perfect photo opp. The afternoon tea experience is not to be missed. Nor is the weekend brunch, with offerings like Kobe meat balls or chilled seafood for two. Dinner is just as extravagant. More casual is the handsome Pied Piper restaurant, named after the famed Maxfield Parrish painting behind the bar. Dinner favorites like truffle fries and a NY strip cater to business travelers.
Make a reservation well in advance to dine on Pied Piper Day (August 22)—San Francisco's official day to celebrate the famed painting commissioned for the hotel in 1909.
Swig whiskey cocktails on the leather swivel chairs at Pied Piper. Under the glass dome in the lobby, sip wine from GC Lounge.
YOU SHOULD KNOW The hotel's Afternoon Tea is offered Monday-Saturday from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m.
Smack in the heart of downtown's shopping district, between the traffic and the ample public transport, travelers won't miss having a car. The hotel provides valet parking (for a fee). Walkers can access heaps of restaurants, bars, museums and shops within ten minutes. Hop on a Muni or BART train at Powell Street Station (4-minute walk), or the cable car (5-minute walk) to access the Mission, Golden Gate Park, or local airports.
The popular Mourad (3-minute walk) feature Moroccan-spiced octopus or branzino. Over at Anchor & Hope (4-minute walk) foodies gorge on oysters or pork belly in a converted garage.
The landmark House of Shields (1-minute walk) is the spot for a pint of ale, salty barkeeps and plenty of character. Sip punch in Novela (4-minute walk), a book-lined cocktail bar.
WHY WE LIKE IT
Feel like royalty when you enter the lobby, or enjoy afternoon tea at San Francisco's grande dame. This classic hotel just got spruced up a bit to showcase her refined taste.
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