Suite Wars: San Francisco

In honor of the impending launch of Haute Living San Francisco, we scoured the City by the Bay for accommodations fit for our discerning readers, who demand-and deserve-nothing but the best.

By Virginia Gil


 Guests can feel free to pack light, as the suite is stocked full of bath and hair products, robes, and slippers.

Of the 32,866 hotel rooms in the greater San Francisco area, some stand out. As the city positions itself as an urban capital of the West Coast, the area’s top resorts and hotels respond accordingly, with the best suites being outfitted with amenities and innovations fit for the top CEOs who frequent the area. And, of course, those who simply head to the city to play are also greeted by the best the hotel industry has to offer.

Our journey into the sweet indulgence of the top suites starts at the Mandarin Oriental, where every room is the product of a deep understanding of the finer things in hospitality. While the suite offerings begin at 800 feet, to indulge in the best of the best, there is no better choice than the Oriental Suite. While the Taipan Suite boasts a comparable 2,000 square feet, the Oriental boasts unsurpassed views of the Bay that span from the Golden Gate Bridge to the Oakland Bay Bridge, providing amazing vistas of every landmark in between. As the Mandarin overlooks no detail, the suite comes equipped with binoculars to aid the guests in taking in the sites of San Francisco from the enormous balcony, which runs the length of the suite. With two bedrooms, two bathrooms, and a separate guest washroom, the suite offers ample space for a plethora of guests. As expected from the Mandarin Oriental, the décor is infused with oriental accents and sumptuous fabrics, making for a delightfully indulgent stay.

From the Oriental, we bring you to a hotel whose reputation precedes it. The Four Seasons Hotel is internationally renowned for sophistication and refinement, and the one-bedroom suites are sure to provide world-class travelers the ultimate accommodations. Business travelers will enjoy the versatility and convenience of separate rooms, ideal for entertaining or working. Separated by double doors, the large bedroom features a roomy dressing area complete with walk-in closet. The suite’s spacious bathroom includes a glass shower along with a deep soaking tub. Guests may also indulge their inner-techie with state-of-the-art flat-screen televisions, high-speed wireless connections, CD/DVD player, and an iHome alarm clock. No room would be complete without floor-to-ceiling windows affording breathtaking views of the city.

Offering comparable amenities, but with slightly more room than the Four Seasons, is the Luxury Suite at Campton Place. The entire top floor of this hotel has been transformed into a spacious suite, but should that not provide enough space, guests may even opt to add an adjoining room. Elegant artwork adorns the walls while oversized leather couches provide the quarters with just the right touch of home. The formal dining provides seating for eight.

Travelers can rest like royalty in the master bedroom, which contains a four-poster bed, made up with luxuriously soft Egyptian cotton sheets. Guests can feel free to pack light, as the suite is stocked full of bath and hair products, robes, and slippers. Topping off the exquisite stay is the hotel’s commitment to excellence, with 24-hour room service and concierge and twice-daily room service. With a full staff ready at a moment’s notice, Campton Place redefines luxury.

The Clift is another city favorite, and with its recent renovation, the Morgans Hotel Group locale is a strong contender for top honors in the race for most enticing suite. Jet setters and heiresses alike feel right at home in the fabulous, funky, and totally original hotel. While the most exclusive private soirees are known to take place in the Spanish Suite, which does not offer overnight accommodations, the sumptuously appointed Private Apartment is where the elite can lay their weary heads. This hip 1,500-square-foot dwelling comes with a master bedroom, living room/dining room, two bathrooms, and a kitchen. It boasts wood-paneled walls and fireplace, as well as beautiful Philippe Starck-designed furnishings. Chic and elegant, while at the same time warm and comfy, it has the look and feel of a classic turn of the century home, with a distinctly post-modern twist.

Decadence and hospitality would not be complete without the oft-coveted presidential suite. If it is fit for the POTUS, then it certainly won’t disappoint the rest of us. And where else would one expect to find a top suite than at San Francisco’s ritziest hotel, the Ritz-Carlton San Francisco. Known for its glitz and glamour, The Ritz lives up to its name once more with this impressive space. Replete with some of the most extraordinary views of the city from its 1,200-square-foot outdoor terrace, the room also boasts two bedrooms, two and a half bathrooms, a living room, and a private dining area that can seat up to 10. The musically inclined can tickle the ivories on the Steinway grand piano in the living room, which directly connects to the master bedroom via French doors. A whirlpool bath and separate shower, complete with an LCD flat-screen inside the bathroom, make this suite a haven of relaxation.

The St. Regis San Francisco’s presidential powerhouse follows the glitzy Ritz. Carefully designed by Yabu Pushelberg, this one-bedroom suite resembles a private residence more than a hotel room. Floor-to-ceiling windows and curved walls lend themselves to the suite’s residential feel and provide wrap-around views of the Bay area. For those who prefer to stay in, the St. Regis has them covered. Entertainment options abound, as the accommodations come complete with a media room with plasmas and a home theater system, as well as a library for some added intellectual stimuli. Guests can kick back on custom-designed furniture, or simply peruse the suite’s art collection of more than 20 pieces. If all that has made you work up an appetite, the full-service kitchen is ideal for whipping up a quick bite. Yet if cooking on vacation doesn’t appeal to you, then the hotel staff will be happy to serve up something savory. Those staying in the presidential suite will also have access to the St. Regis’ legendary Butler Service-no political affiliation required.

Closing out our list is what may be considered the city’s tour de force and possibly one of their oldest haunts. The Fairmont San Francisco’s rich history of political pasts and notable guests provides the perfect backdrop for an unforgettable stay. Following a grand refurbishment, their famed penthouse suite is back to its original splendor. Much of its previous décor, like the Persian influences and French furnishings, can still be enjoyed in the expansive suite. Constructed in 1926 as a private residence, this grand dame of hotel suites spans the entire eighth floor and boasts an impressive 6,000 square feet. Stylishly decorated to reflect its old-world glamour, the penthouse suite has all the comforts of home and then some. It features three bedrooms, a living room with grand piano, formal dining room, eat-in kitchen, two-story circular library, and terraces, not to mention round-the-clock maid service. No detail is overlooked, either, as every inch of the penthouse has been meticulously designed. Its four fireplaces are all inlaid with lapis lazuli, bathrooms have 24-karat gold-plated fixtures, and the famed library even contains a secret passageway. With its world-class accommodations, the penthouse is perfect for the sophisticated history buff.

Making a name for itself on the hospitality map is San Francisco’s impressive list of luxury resorts. These experts in opulence and sophistication know that traveling in style also includes chic accommodations. Armed with an array of possibilities, choosing the ideal suite shouldn’t wear you out. Nevertheless, one night in any of these is sure to revitalize even the most fatigued.