Tried & Tested

Hotel check: St Regis San Francisco

28 Sep 2009 by Mark Caswell

WHAT’S IT LIKE? Open since 2005, this new-build five-star, part of the Starwood collection, incorporates the historic nine-floor Williams building (now housing the restaurant and spa) and the Museum of the African Diaspora. Bedrooms occupy levels five to 20 of the 40-floor tower. The staff are highly professional, with one doorman greeting me by name every time he saw me. The huge lobby has floor-to-ceiling windows and a bar with low sofas and glass coffee tables. Much of the artwork in the hotel is locally produced – I particularly liked the extravagant Renaissance-style mural on the ground floor, and the panels of porcelain rose petals set in plaster.

WHERE IS IT? On Third Street, a five-minute walk from Geary Street and Union Square, and a ten- to 15-minute walk to the Embarcadero on the Bay. The Moscone Centre, the largest convention venue in the city, is opposite, and the Museum of Modern Art (SOMA) is next door. San Francisco International airport is about 40 minutes’ drive.

ROOM FACILITIES The 214 rooms and 46 suites have been carefully designed to create a feeling of understated luxury and comfort. All come with at least 40 sqm of space, 32- or 42-inch LG plasma TVs (plus a 13-inch screen in the bathroom), Pratesi bed linen, robes, a separate bath and shower, a minibar, 24-hour room service, air conditioning, wired and wireless internet (US$14.95 per 24 hours), and a bedside Guest Digital Assistant, which allows you to make calls, control the lights and blinds, and find out about the local area. St Regis butlers are always on hand. My 11th floor Deluxe room had great city views and was fitted with Bella Crema marble and Mozambique wood floors. There was a large leather-topped workdesk and a recessed closet containing the minibar and a CD/DVD player. Other services included a free daily newspaper and evening turndown. The bathroom had mirrored walls, frosted glass doors and Remède toiletries.

ROOM HIGHLIGHTS The huge comfy bed, the separate bath and rainshower, and high-quality technology and furnishings.

RESTAURANTS AND BARS There are two restaurants at the St Regis, and having eaten at both, I can say the service and food is top class. The 74-seat Vitrine is on level four and offers an à la carte breakfast and lunch daily. Dinner is served at Ame, a minimalist, dimly lit establishment on the ground floor serving seasonal New American cuisine with an emphasis on seafood. A five-course tasting menu costs US$85 (with wine pairings for an additional US$65), and à la carte dishes cost from US$15. Highlights include carpaccio of lightly smoked Tasmanian ocean trout with hearts of palm and cucumber salad, trout roe and crème fraiche (US$17.50). The lobby bar is open Sun-Thurs from midday to midnight (until 1am Fri-Sat).

BUSINESS AND MEETING FACILITIES There are 16 meeting spaces (including Vitrine and the 48 sqm adjacent outdoor terrace) split across over 2,000 sqm on levels two, three, four and nine. The Gallery ballroom on the second floor has five-metre-high doors and stunning light installations that look like cherry blossom. The venue divides in two and holds up to 550 people for a reception.

LEISURE FACILITIES The 836 sqm Remède spa (open 10am-8pm Mon-Thurs, 9am-9pm Fri-Sat, 10am-7pm Sun), nine treatment rooms and 24-hour infinity pool are on the sixth floor. There is also a yoga studio and a well-equipped fitness centre.

PRICE Internet rates for a midweek stay in October started from US$531 for a Superior room.

CONTACT St Regis San Francisco, 125 Third Street; tel +1 415 284 4000;

VERDICT You get what you pay for at the St Regis – it’s an excellent all-round luxury hotel in a good location. The staff are top notch, the bedrooms are well equipped and the dining experience is of a very high standard.

Jenny Southan

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