Category Archives: San Francisco Hotels

There's More To San Francisco Than Financial Institutions & Cable Cars

The Palace Hotel San Francisco

People travel to San Francisco from all over the world for various reasons and one that most likely doesn’t make the top 10 is for its architectural beauty.

John King with the San Francisco Chronicle shares some jewels that deserve your attention.

Ferry Building, 1898 with extensive 2003 renovations, A. Page Brown. This one’s a favorite, and not just for the glorified food court on the ground floor. “Of course, the Ferry Building was very important to me as a child,” Doris Madden recalls. “We used to drive our car on the ferryboat and go to the East Bay for a picnic every year during the summer.”

Hyatt Regency Hotel, 1973, John Portman, 5 Embarcadero Center. Full disclosure: I’m not big on this atrium-centered showcase that saw its glory days a generation ago. But its admirers include Tanu Sankalia, chair of the University of San Francisco’s department of art and architecture. “The Hyatt is about spatial experience that is memorable and unique,” she writes, singling out such details as “its continuous, cascading balconies” and “the slot-like skylight that washes the pre-cast concrete surfaces.”

Palace Hotel, 1909, Trowbridge & Trowbridge, 2 Montgomery St. And now for something completely different, hotel-lobby-wise: this dowager’s Garden Court with its marble columns and stained-glass dome. Mark Katzenberger calls it “glorious but not gaudy … no place in San Francisco (better) expresses the grace of our gilded past.”

JPMorgan Chase Building, Pelli Clarke Pelli, 2002, 560 Mission St. It’s hard in words to convey the attention to details that sets apart this “retro green office tower,” in the words of Charles Belov. In person, you understand.

San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, 1994, Mario Botta, 151 Third St. Museum officials didn’t call Botta when they sought architects to design an equally large addition, but the Swiss modernist’s “little gem” has fans such as Susan Schneider: “The interior horizontal finishes convey solidity and even perhaps tradition, while the peekaboo staircase with its dark-to-light aspect leading to the cylindrical steps from the fourth to fifth floor is nothing but fun.”

Xanadu Gallery, 1949, Frank Lloyd Wright, 140 Maiden Lane. This one received as much love as the Ferry Building, especially from architecture buffs who love how its circular interior ramp was a test run for the Guggenheim Museum, which opened a decade later in New York.

Sing Chong Building, 1908, T. Patterson Ross and A.W. Burgen, 601 Grant Ave. There’s a reason for the colorful, overtly “Oriental” tone of this and other older Chinatown buildings, points out Drew Bourn: They were commissioned after the 1906 earthquake by Chinese merchants and landowners who grasped that making their neighborhood a tourist attraction would keep it from being shipped to the south edge of town – the proposal of some city leaders at the time.

Grace Cathedral, various architects, 1964, 1100 California St. “By simply going inside the cathedral, I immediately am at peace with the world,” writes Ann Dolyniuk. Afterward, “I take my friends outside and gape at the Nob Hill hotels and enjoy the passing cable cars. … What could be a better site to bring visitors to?”

City Hall, 1915, Arthur Brown, 1 Dr. Carlton B. Goodlett Place, A favorite of Michael Zonta, who notes “at one time we really thought this place was something special.” Haven’t we always? And the interior is as impressive as the 308-foot-tall dome.

The Armory, 1909, Woollett & Woollett, 1800 Mission St. The formidable clinker-brick walls – the better to keep out rioting mobs – alone are worth a visit. But consider the social angle: After this massive structure sat empty for 30 years, impervious to all development schemes, it was bought by … an Internet pornography company that set up shop in 2008. Or as Zonta puts it, “bulwark of democracy restored by Kink. com.” How Ess Eff is that?

Tom Costello is the CEO, Partner & Co-Founder of Groups International, a company that provides marketing, consultative services, and technology solutions to the group and leisure travel markets.  Connect with him on TwitterLinkedIn, and Facebook or contact him by email.

San Francisco "Direct Connect" Hotels From Hotelmine

Golden Gate Bridge

San Francisco is one of the world’s top travel destinations.

With incredible sightseeing, famous tourist attractions and eclectic neighborhoods, it’s no wonder that over 16 million tourists visit the Golden Gate City annually. Alcatraz Island offers a glimpse into a unique piece of history (and a terrific view of San Francisco Bay). Fisherman’s Wharf rings with the barking of seals and brims with the world’s finest Dungeness crab restaurants. North Beach’s Italian flavor sidles up next to Chinatown, while Union Square and Haight-Ashbury entice with diverse shopping opportunities. Just beyond San Francisco, the Napa and Sonoma wine country beckons with rolling vineyards and award-winning wineries.

Here are just a few of the many hotels in San Francisco that you will find at Hotelmine.  Don’t forget when you decided to book your guest room you will be dealing directly with the hotel and not an online travel agency.

Hotelmine…see where the world’s largest “Direct Connect” travel site can take you!

San Francisco Hotels

San Francisco Hotel Laundering Money

A San Francisco hotel is laundering money — literally.

The Westin St. Francis hotel in Union Square is continuing a 72-year-old tradition of washing all the coins it handles.

Every nickel, penny, dime and quarter is cleaned with soap and water at the hotel before being dried and rolled.

The San Francisco Chronicle reports that money was first washed at the St. Francis in 1938 after coins dirtied a woman’s white gloves.

While other San Francisco hotels abandoned the practice, it continued at the St. Francis.

Rob Holsen, the hotel’s current change washer, says the practice dates back to a time when coins were used more than bills. He estimates he has cleaned $1.5 million in change in the past 20 years.

2010 Travelers Choice Awards

The 2010 Travelers’ Choice Destinations Awards are in and the winners are:

Best Destination in the U.S. – San Francisco, California
Best Destination in the World – Monte-Carlo, Monaco

In this overall category (Top 25), California ran away with the most marbles, taking the three top spots with Lake Tahoe and San Diego coming in second and third respectively. Washington, DC managed to claim fourth place.

In specialty classes, the following US destinations all won their categories:

Best for Beach & Sun – Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
Best for Culture & Sightseeing – Washington, D.C.
Best for Families – Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin
Best for Food & Wine – Napa, California
Best for Nightlife – New Orleans, Louisiana
Best for Outdoor & Adventure – Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado
Best for Relaxation & Spa – Sedona, Arizona
Best for Romance – Napa, California

Hotelmine Travel Planner – Best Places to visit in San Francisco

As you know, San Francisco is the known as the fourth most popular city in California. It is the only consolidated city-county in California and is the second most densely populated large city in the United States. It encompasses a land area of 46.7 square miles and has a population of 744,230 residents with immigrants coming over from all over the world.

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The Golden Gate Bridge which is the landmark of this city is visited by tourists from everywhere. It is one of the most majestic and biggest bridge constructions in the world. The city of San Francisco is the largest center for financial, cultural and transportation of the Bay Area. The climate of this city is beautiful and the mornings in winter are definitely a sight to catch at the bridge. It’s a pleasant place to be in even during spring and summer so this is one place you can have a city vacation in anytime of the year. For more places to visit in San Francisco, take a look at the brief descriptions of most of these places mentioned for you in the following paragraphs. More on San Francisco tourism.

Best Places to Visit in San Francisco

There are many places to visit in San Francisco as it is a beautiful county and with the places there are a number of things you have to try out while you’re there. Read on to know more about these places to visit in San Francisco in the coming paragraphs for you! More on things to do in San Francisco.

Golden Gate Bridge and Park
One of the tallest bridges in the world, the Golden Gate bridge is the most beautiful and fascinating piece of architecture you can find in this city. It is situated on the Highway 101 North which links San Francisco with the Marin county and gives the best view of the city. The famous Alcatraz and the Marin headlands are also visible from the bridge and are a steal to watch the sunrise and the sunset over them. Like the bridge, the Golden Gate park is also one of the largest with an area of 1,000 acres which includes the Stybing Arboretum and many botanical gardens. It has Japanese tea gardens, Asian Art Museum, Morrison Planetarium, field sports and playgrounds for children. I am sure it will take you the whole day to see these and more when you’re in the park, so don’t miss it.

Pier 39
This is the second most important and popular attraction in California with it’s stunning sea lions and more than 100 kinds of stores which are one of their kinds. The Pier 39 has everything from restaurants to fun filled attractions along with the newest Underwater World Aquarium which you have to visit if you’re there for the day. The fun gets doubled with the shows put up by the two-tiered carousels and street entertainers when they make you do tricks like theirs. This is one of the coolest places to visit in San Francisco. More on California vacations.

While entering the Dragon’s Gate which is the entrance of Chinatown, San Francisco, all you see is the hustle and bustle for the next 24 blocks. The oldest street in San Francisco which is situated there is known as the Great Avenue and has a long chain of exotic shops, food markets, temples, tiny museums and restaurants with the tastiest Chinese food. The Chinese New Year which is celebrated every February is a week full of festivals and parades with dancing dragons and people all over the place. It is indeed the best place to visit during this time of the year with a display of multiple colors and decorations. Chinatown can be one of those places to visit in San Francisco for kids along with the museums and the zoo of course.

San Francisco is also very famous for the beaches that it has, the best one being the Ocean Beach on the west edge of the city! This beach lies on the Pacific Ocean and is always an exhilarating experience to have, with the clear waters and the clear skies above. If you want a sea side hotel, the Cliff house placed on this beach is definitely a place to stay at. The Farallon Islands, 30 miles away are also visible from this beach. The other beaches are situated at the Northern edge are the China Beach and the Baker Beach. There are water sports and swimming and many other beach activities on these beaches. If not anything else all you can do is simply get sun tanned on the beach! The beaches are surely the greatest places to visit in San Francisco bay area. More on San Francisco attractions.

Apart from these few main attractions for places to visit in San Francisco, you can visit the Union Square, the Alcatraz prison, the San Francisco Zoo, the Bay Bridge, the Presido and the Fisherman’s Wharf. These can be some great experiences you can take with your family and friends. You can go shopping, take cable rides all over the city, watch musicals and have the best vacation in San Francisco. Every place you visit there is definitely something new to see and feel, and that is the best part about this beautiful and fun city of California.

While in San Francisco…