Despite an unremarkable facade, the guest experience inside the Hotel Vitale is undeniably exceptional, making it one of the best places to stay in San Francisco, indicative of a true luxury hotel. From the limestone floors and oaken walls of the lobby to the outdoor deep soaking tubs and secret gardens of the penthouse spa, Vitale brings together natural textures and tones with high luxury. It’s located on the water and half of the rooms feature sweeping views of the bay and Bay Bridge (insist on one of them, the higher the better). As in the lobby, the style is Palm Springs retro meets uptown modernism. In addition to the up-to-the-minute design sensibilities, the main attractions are the location, spa, and lavish features such as flat-screen TVs, rainforest shower heads, and microfiber bathrobes. There’s a fitness center, free yoga classes on the roof deck, and free passes to the Embarcadero YMCA. Business travellers can walk a block or so to most any FiDi meeting as well as to any of a dozen excellent bars and restaurants, including Americano, the hotel’s own stylish eatery that draws a bevy of young, affluent scenesters to its Embarcadero patio on balmy weekend nights.