The Palace Hotel
Old World elegance at its finest, the Palace was built in 1875, burned in the great fire of 1906, and was resurrected soon after as one of the top luxury hotels in San Francisco aiming for stratospheric opulence. The hotel joined the Starwood Hotel group and the rooms were remodelled in 2002, adding luxuries and modern essentials while preserving the mood of 19th-century grandeur (think marble vanities and mahogany poster beds). Aside from its convenient location between the Financial District and Union Square, the Palace’s many virtues include its fourth-floor skylit pool and spa; rooms with windows that open and 14-foot ceilings; a Maxfield Parrish original in the Pied Piper, the woodsy bar downstairs; and, best of all, the Garden Court, a magnificent construction complete with chandeliers, marble columns, palms, and a 55-foot ceiling comprised of 80,000 panes of glass, giving the room an ethereal, uplifting glow. It is beautiful, and the perfect setting for the Saturday afternoon ritual of high tea (served 2-4pm) and Sunday jazz brunch. Ask for a corner room for more light and space, and if you score the fourth floor you can stroll to the pool without touching the elevator.