April 12th, 2012
These San Francisco must-sees are much chicer than Alcatraz.
Technically the Inn Above Tide is in Sausalito, but its on-the-water location and big picture windows frame a sunrise that feels much more island town than big city suburb. From $320 per night Inn Above Tide, 30 El Portal, Sausalito, CA, 415-332-9535, www.innabovetide.com
A bright, beautiful space that’s open late, Locanda specializes in traditional Roman fare gone modern and pours equally inspired cocktails. Locanda Osteria and Bar, 557 Valencia St., San Francisco, CA, 415-863-6800,
Ask anyone where to go in San Francisco and they’ll mention the up-and-coming (read: rapidly gentrifying) Mission District. For drinks, you’ll want to head off Mission Street to Valencia, which houses brasseries and lounges packed well into the night.
Some cities are best seen by foot, but San Francisco, with its waterfront baseball diamonds and spooky island penitentiary, is stunning from the air. San Francisco Helicopter Tours start at $175 per person. —Kelsey Dundon
April 29th, 2011
The City by the Bay is the ultimate big-city-boho getaway.
In a city revered for its restaurant scene, new spots better be ready to play with the big boys. Flour + Water serves up rustic Italian fare (Neopolitan pizzas and homemade pastas) in a hip industrial setting. The menu was so fantastic we opted for over half of it: farro garganelli with braised pork shoulder and fennel ($17), boartadella pizza (pea tendrils, spring shallots, pecorino and fresh horseradish ($17) and nettle cappellacci dei briganti with boar sugo, carrot & pine nut ($17). Not a forkful was left. This super busy spot now takes reservations, and be sure to make them (rumour has it Steve Jobs wasn't able to skip the line). 2401 Harrison St., San Francisco, www.flourandwater.com
Take a walk to Chinatown and find the bustling R&G Lounge, featured on Anthony Bourdoin's No Reservations and one of the Michelin Guide's favourite places. The lunch specials are cheap and cheerful (starting from $6)—the chicken cashew was tasty and worth a tenner. 631 Kearney St., San Francisco, 415-982-7877, www.rnglounge.com
Some clothes are worthy of reincarnation—at least the clothes at Afterlife are. Mixing the kitsch (old boy band concert tees) with high-end reconstructed pieces, this breezy boutique doesn't require a PhD in vintage shopping to score something great—and wearable. Afterlife, 988 Valencia St., San Francisco, www.afterlifeboutique.com
Atop the hill where the city's iconic cable cars meet, the opulent and historic Fairmont San Francisco is the perfect spot to rest (on Frette linens, no less) after exploring the city's endless niches. Seeing as it was the first hotel in the US to have concierges, it's no wonder the staff is attentive and knowledgable, with spot-on recommendations for everything from breakfast diners to late-night drugstores. We loved the hallways lined with black and white photos of dignitaries who have spent time at the hotel, from presidents JFK to Obama. From $179/night, http://www.fairmont.com/sanfrancisco
November 12th, 2009
A flight to San Francisco may leave a sizeable carbon footprint, but there’s a hip hotel that can put you back in Mother Earth’s good graces.
In the burgeoning SoMa district, The Good Hotel is light, bright and socially conscious.
Rooms feature reclaimed wood beds, chandeliers crafted from reused water bottles, blankets made from recycled soda bottles and bookshelves for "bookcrossing"—the practice of leaving a book for a future guest to take.
Other cool touches include a Ready Made Magazine vending machine in the lobby with repurposed goods inside, free loaner bicycles, and a retro photo booth.
Doesn’t sound good enough? During your stay pick-up the philanthropy concierge phone that connects to One Brick, a volunteer program, and at checkout, directly offset that carbon footprint with a small donation to Carbonfund.org.
Green looks good on you.
From $109 a night, Good Hotel, 112 Seventh St., San Francisco, 415-621-7001, www.jdvhotels.com/hotels/good
August 21st, 2008
If you were picking your holiday spot on the basis of its literary connections, where would you go?
San Francisco, New York, Florence, Paris, St. Petersburg?
U.S.–based company Literary Traveler caters to bibliophiles looking to travel into the world of books.
Literary tours include Montreal, (Mordecai Richler), Florence (Dante Alighieri), and London (Charles Dickens). Or meet Sick Boy on the Trainspotting tour of Leith and Edinburgh. "If it’s a really bad day Sick Boy himself will be behind the bar, serving with a snarl."
At the other end of the world, follow in the footsteps of Gauguin with exotic idylls in French Polynesia.
“Life is like a song. You have to enjoy it while it plays because you never know if it will come on again,” Paul Gauguin.
May 18th, 2006
With spring fever in full force right about now, perhaps it’s time to schedule a naughty weekend away?
In a matter of hours, you could be tucking into room service champagne at the new Hotel Vitale in San Francisco, with bathtubs in the middle of the room, iPod docks for your tunes, and expansive views of the Bay.
Should you decide to leave your room, there are free morning yoga classes in the penthouse and right across the street is the famous Ferry Building and farmers market.
And if the prospect seems pricey? Think of all the money you’ll save getting there on Harmony Airway’s new San Fran-Vancouver route, with introductory rates of $169 each way starting in June.
Start chilling that champagne.
Hotel Vitale, 8 Mission St., 888-890-8688, www.hotelvitale.com