“Welcome to the Four Seasons, Mrs Scott,” the young woman at the front desk greeted us as we walked into the iconic San Francisco hotel.
I know the luxury hotel group pride themselves on greeting guests by name (I’ve learned all about it at Four Seasons Uni). Still, I’m surprised each time they get it right. How do they know I’m not Mrs. Moriani? Or Ms Black? I secretly wonder if they ever get it wrong.
My girls don’t even ask how this woman knows my name. They are *beyond excited*. We are spending a night at the Four Seasons.
I’ve completely forgotten that I am wearing the same jeans I’ve worn most of the week. I meant to change into something nicer, but the morning flew by and, well, here I am in jeans. The front desk doesn’t seem to notice. Holiday mode kicks in as I admire the art display in the lobby.
Another front desk staff (staff seem to be everywhere) asks the girls if they would like their own passport. If they answer all the questions - they get to pick a treat from their “special stash” in the back. The staff is hamming it up with the girls, and they are loving all the attention.
Erm, yes please! Soon the girls have Polaroid’s taken and stapled into their personalised colourful Four Seasons passport. They get cracking answering all the questions, occasionally ask me for help. Where would you go to get information about the city? The concierge. How do you spell that? C-O-N-C-I-E-R-G-E.
Although we arrived a full four hours before the official 3 pm check in time, our room is available and we are immediately shown the way to our one room suite on the 14th floor.
Wow. This hotel is all about the views. The floor to ceiling windows (actually, window seat to ceiling windows) frame stunning panoramas of Union Square, the Bay Bridge, and financial district. We could even make out AT&T Park.
As I admired the views, the kids got stuck into their welcome treat (another Four Seasons tradition for kids). Chocolate cupcakes with a mountain of fluffy butter cream and artisan orange sodas. Mum and dad got boring fruit.
After that, we were on our own to explore the city. Being so close to Union Square, shopping seemed like the obvious way to spend the afternoon. Union Square’s famous shopping attracts many flagship stores. Uniqlo’s first West Coast store is in Union Square, and the Lush Cosmetics shop on Powell Street was the UK store’s first US location. That all adds to the coolness factor for my pre-teens.
A few shopping bags later, we heard the trolley ring and realised the girls had never been on a cable car (shocking, I know). We took one look at the tourist queue at the turn around at Market/Powell, and used local knowledge to walk up a few blocks to Power/Post. Our move paid off, after waiting five minutes, a cable car came by and picked up 8 passengers including us!
We got off at the Cable Car Museum at Washington and Mason. Inside you see the inner workings – cables – which propel the cable cars on their way. Totally fascinating (and FREE which made Scottish daddy happy).
For dinner we walked over to Embarcadero and had our evening meal at Americano and watched the Bay Lights art project. If you are in the area, make sure you visit the recently open Waterfront Playground at Sue Bierman Park and the Farmers Market in front of the Ferry Terminal Building.
Back at the hotel, and the girls squealed when they found gourmet chocolates near their bed. Oh, the choice – I tried the salted carmel one. Housekeeping staff had kindly made up the sofa bed and brought in a roll away. With bottled water at bedside, and bottle of Prosecco for mum and dad, we settled in, keeping the curtains open, because, oh, THAT VIEW.
Just one last word about the famous Four Seasons beds. They are wonderful. Even my daughter said her roll away bed was “sooooooo comfortable.”
If you go:
Four Seasons Hotel San Francisco 757 Market St San Francisco, CA 94103 (415) 633-3000 www.fourseasons.com/sanfrancisco
MKT Restaurant – Bar 757 Market St San Francisco, CA 94103 (415) 633-3000 Info. With a old-fashioned printing press theme, this retro urban-chic restaurant-bar is full of the city’s movers and shakers.
Americano Restaurant 8 Mission St San Francisco, CA 94105 (415) 278-3700 www.americanorestaurant.net In Hotel Vitale, a reasonably priced restaurant serving Italian food with a California twist.
Peets Coffee & Tea www.peets.com In locations all over SF. Artisan coffee. Better than Starbucks. Much.
San Francisco Cable Car Museum 1201 Mason St San Francisco, CA 94108 (415) 474-1887 www.cablecarmuseum.org Learn about the cables that run the famous trolleys – and see them converge at this location. FREE.
Sue Bierman Park Playground. This waterfront playground JUST OPENED and has the latest in playground technology, including a urban slide and climber, a spinner bowl and cool surfacing. Near the corner of Washington Street and The Embarcadero. www.waterfrontplayground.org
Lush Cosmetics 240 Powell St San Francisco (415) 693-9633 www.lush.com Fresh handmade and natural cosmetics. Think fizzy bath bombs and shampoo in a tin. Very popular with the pre-teen set.
Uniqlo 111 Powell St, San Francisco, CA 94102 The first West Coast branch of this Japanese version of the Gap has claimed a Union Square location. Bright coloured clothes at reasonable prices. www.uniqlo.com
Macy’s Union Square 170 O’Farrell St, San Francisco, CA 94102
(415) 397-3333 www.visitmacyssanfrancisco.com A gazillion floors of shopping.
Daiso Japan 570 Market St, San Francisco, CA 94104 (415) 391-7369 www.daisojapan.com Japan’s version of the dollar store. Everything is $1.50. Pre-teen shopping heaven.
Disclosure: We were given a media discount for our stay at the Four Seasons Hotel San Francisco. All views are my own.