Putting on The Ritz in San Francisco

Even in a hospitality industry in which “Ritz-Carlton” signifies the highest levels of personalized service, comfort and luxury, The Ritz Carlton, San Francisco has attained distinction and pride of place.

The city’s only Forbes Five Star, AAA Five Diamond hotel sits comfortably on Nob Hill, adjacent to the world’s largest China Town outside of Asia and is just 25 minutes from the airport and a few minutes from world-famous Union Square.

The 336-room Neoclassic-style hotel, built solid for an insurance company in 1909, three years after the Great Earthquake, offers a variety of room configurations, including Club Level accommodations and the 3,160-square-foot Presidential Suite, with its 1,200-square-foot terrace.

Room standards include 400 thread-count, 100-percent cotton linens, wireless Internet access, 32-inch LCD flat-panel cable HDTV and electronic in-room laptop safes.  

Guests also enjoy a state-of-the-art fitness center with spa services, complimentary computer stations, concierge, car rental service, same-day valet service, complimentary overnight shoeshine and 24-hour wake-up service and in-room dining.

And, just debuting, is Chef Ron Siegel’s signature restaurant, adding additional space to the former Dining Room, which served hotel guests for two decades. Chef Siegel, San Francisco’s first “Iron Chef” winner, has created a new menu with simple dishes incorporating hand-picked ingredients. “Our new menu is not overcomplicated, to allow the flavors to speak for themselves,” he says.

“We recognized years ago that The Dining Room had become a special occasion restaurant,” adds Steven Holt, regional director of public relations for The Ritz-Carlton Hotels of Northern California. “Our local clientele, as well as hotel guests, have told us they are looking for a less formal, more approachable dining experience. We listened and are excited to create something completely new.”

In addition, for cocktails and a light menu, guests enjoy The Lobby Lounge featuring views of the San Francisco skyline.

Seeking the highest level of service and amenities, even for the Ritz? Book one of the rooms on the seventh, eighth or ninth floors of the Club Level — the top-ranked Club Level in America for Ritz-Carlton hotels.

“Guests on the Club Level receive exclusive, private access to our eight-floor Club Lounge, featuring complimentary continuous food and beverage (club breakfast, light snack, hors d’oeuvres, evening desserts, wine) throughout the day,” explains Shelly Auyeung, public relations coordinator for The Ritz Carlton, San Francisco.

“We also feature whole fruit, fresh-baked cookies and candies, wine, French-pressed coffee and made-to-order cocktails and espressos,” she says, noting that the hotel sources from local farms and uses organic products as much as possible and that the Club Lounge accommodates dietary restrictions.

The multilingual Club concierge helps with activity agendas, dining and spa reservations, theater tickets, boarding pass printing and activity agendas. In addition, the amenities include access to the Club Business Lounge with two computer workstations, printing access and complimentary garment pressing. “It’s an ideal setting for conducting business or simply unwinding,” Shelly says.

Nearby Union Square, named for meetings here prior to the Civil War, has Bloomingdale’s, Saks Fifth Avenue, Neiman Marcus, Macy’s, Cartier, Bulgari and many other stores and restaurants. Here, too, is one of the city’s many fine museums, The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art at Union Square, founded in 1935 and devoted to modern and contemporary art.

On the bay are the Ferry Building Marketplace, with more than 40 merchants presenting a selection of fine foods and specialty products in the restored 1898 Ferry Building, and Fisherman’s Wharf at Pier 39, accessible via cable car, with shopping and dining at Ghirardelli Square and other family-friendly places such as the Aquarium by the Bay.

And, Shelly notes, don’t forget the Fortune Cookie Factory in China Town, which has been supplying tasty fortune cookies, and auspicious prognostications and advice, since 1962.

“For business, pleasure, for families, for special occasions,” she says, “The Ritz-Carlton, San Francisco is the destination of choice for travelers who want not just the best product but the finest Bay-area experience as well.”

Note: Each month, Highline Autos visits a business that exemplifies the quality its readers expect in hospitality, dining, clothing, travel, jewelry and other services and merchandise. For more information on The Ritz-Carlton, San Francisco, see www.ritzcarlton.com/sanfrancisco or call 415.296.7465.