By Valentina Zuric
Famous for its sweeping bay views and gingerbread Victorian houses, San Francisco is also quickly transforming into the country’s epicenter of modernist design. Haute Living invites you to sample the charms and scale the steep streets of this one-of-a-kind city.
Four Seasons San Francisco
767 Market Street
As a five-star, 42-story hotel sandwiched between multimillion-dollar condos, elite shops, and a sports-and-fitness complex, the Four Seasons Hotel in San Francisco is also perfect for surreptitious celebrity hunting, a common hobby among its guests. In addition to the hotel’s 277 elegant rooms-including 46 suites-overlooking the bay, guests are also tempted to take the elevator to the well-known Sports Club/LA, a magnificent facility with City Spa, a full-service spa. With a round-the-clock concierge, and a restaurant serving high-end cuisine, it’s difficult not to pass by for the hotel’s well-acclaimed steak and seafood plate. With a perfect combination of elegance and modern luxury, Four Seasons’ overall discreetness makes it undeniably exceptional.
420 Mason Street
Recently nominated as one of the top five nightclubs in San Francisco, Ruby Skye, behind the visionary work of owner George Karpathy, has opened as a see-and-be-seen club for those who are, in his words, “grown-up, make money, and dress nice.” This huge, bi-level, world-class facility, with state of the art lighting and world-class DJs, is an impeccably appointed space, perfect for parties. With a striking juxtaposition between original Art Nouveau architecture and modern furnishings, Ruby Skye has converted into an ultra-luxe club. The real allure for much of the clientele is the VIP room upstairs, where patrons can enjoy a private smoking lounge that houses pool tables and a cigar bar.
800 North Point Street
In a city rich with possibility, Gary Danko remains one of the city’s hottest luxury restaurants, recently receiving its sixth coveted Five Star rating from Mobil Travel Guide. Award-winning Chef Gary Danko has come to epitomize sophisticated, contemporary cuisine with the creation of his elegant, 75-seat restaurant, perfect for a contemporary French meal-complete with flambé finales. With each dish a treat for the mouth and the eyes, this chic restaurant is applauded for its infamous Maine lobster with chanterelle mushrooms, and its exotic pancetta-wrapped frog legs with potato and lentils. Along with a 1,800-bottle wine list with intriguing selections, Gary Danko has what many consider the best service in the city.
Campton Place Hotel
340 Stockton Street
Famed for its lavish breakfasts and Mediterranean-inspired dinners, Campton Place has been a sanctuary for sophisticated travelers for nearly 100 years. It’s the highly attentive service at this 110-room boutique hotel that stands as its hallmark. Campton Place combines small hotel intimacy with large hotel service, becoming a haven of serenity right on San Francisco’s Union Square. Guests feel an immediate hush when entering this sophisticated hotel. With its rooftop fitness center boasting terrific skyline vistas, and a majority of the hotel rooms equipped with window seats for a romantic view of the city, Campton Place allows for full enjoyment of San Francisco’s beautiful scenery – especially after booking reservations at the well-renowned Campton Place Restaurant.
495 Geary Street
The Clift Hotel is an inspired fusion of old-world hotel elegance with distinctly contemporary energy and glamour. Collaborating with iconic Philippe Starck-the Mad Hatter of modern design-über-trendy hotelier Ian Schrager has reopened the venerable Clift Hotel, complete with stunning renovations totaling $40 million. From 25-foot ceilings in the eye-catching lobby to guests rooms infused with lavender walls and orange furnishings, this hotel is a masterpiece creatively uncovered with minimalism. The space also features an 18-foot-tall fireplace cast in bronze by the French artist Gerard Garouste, and the infamous Redwood Room is more elegant than ever with a looming mirrored bar and five plasma screens.
3011 Fillmore Street
Forbes Traveler named Spa Radiance one of the 10 most star-studded spas in the nation. With luxurious, neutral-toned fabric draping over every surface of the room, guests can’t help but become intrigued by the intoxicating herbal aromas filling the air, and the soothing, new-age music playing in the background. Spa Radiance offers impeccable treatments performed by master aestheticians. Indulge in the Grand Luxe treatment, a $750 decadent combination of every facial available at this San Francisco beauty retreat. Or pamper yourself with the glamorous Gold Mineral Wrap, a shimmering gold serum with marine-based minerals and skin-softening macadamia nut oil to penetrate the skin.
648 Bush Street
An elegant triumph of modern simplicity and warmth, the internationally-acclaimed Masa’s Restaurant is a destination to behold. Enter into an intimate chocolate-hued dining room, where Executive Chef Gregory Short adorns your plate with exotics like the chilled Maine crab with tomato gazpacho. You can choose from three tasting menus of four, six, or nine courses, which can last up to three hours. If you’re looking for something more private, Masa’s offers a wine cellar, accommodating up to 14 people with a selection of more than 9,000 outstanding bottles of wine to choose from, making this restaurant deserving of the high marks it receives.
Fluid Ultra Lounge
662 Mission Street
With a one-of-a-kind, computer-controlled, lit walkway that creates infinite colors and patterns, which cast a multicolored glow over the hordes of status-seekers, Fluid Ultra Lounge is a celebration of elegance, beauty, and excitement. Designed by David Oldroyd of world-renowned Orlando Diaz-Azcuy Designs, Fluid infuses sophisticated chic with its décor-a stylish modern interior that combines simple, classic details with state-of-the-art technologies, as well as mirrors embedded along pristine walls. At Fluid, guests mingle among the city’s A-list crowd, listening to a list of talented DJs that includes Mark Ronson and Biz Markie. Once inside, treat yourself to a Fluid Martini-a lovely mix of Ketel Citroen vodka and layered blue Curacao.
The French Laundry
6640 Washington Street
To dine at one of the top 10 restaurants in the world, food connoisseurs flock to the tiny town of Yountville for a unique experience, with reservations often booked two months or more in advance. From impeccable service to rich-tasting dishes, French Laundry’s air of reverence draws in guests as they dine in lush garden surroundings. It’s Chef Thomas Keller’s unquestioned commitment to his craft that makes his meals a three-star affair, according to Michelin Guide. Keller’s playful dishes, such as his buttery beef cheeks and slices of veal tongue, aptly called “Tongue in Cheek,” deem his restaurant unforgettable. According to Keller, “It’s all about finesse.”
Presidio Golf Course
300 Finley Road
Swing into action at the 18-hole, par-72 course managed by Arnold. Challenged by narrow fairways, hilly terrain, and numerous greenside bunkers manicured for the elite, it has been serving as the home course for some of the nation’s top brass. Located in the heart of San Francisco, this course has played host to historical leaders such as Teddy Roosevelt and Dwight Eisenhower-making their Presidio experience nothing short of “Presidential.” An excellent example of rugged elegance at its finest, Presidio Golf Course takes up to five hours to play, offering refreshing drinks or lunch in the café, where other golf fanatics are watching televised tournaments.