Update: This hotel is now the Loews Regency San Francisco. TravelSort Clients receive the following Virtuoso amenities:
- Upgrade at time of booking, subject to availability (not applicable to Suites)
- American breakfast daily, for up to two in room guests in Restaurant
- $100 USD Equivalent Food & Beverage credit, (not combinable, not valid on room rate, no cash value if not redeemed in full, one time during stay)
- Early check-in/late check-out, subject to availability
- Complimentary Wi-Fi for duration of stay
The Mandarin Oriental San Francisco would be one of my top recommendations for clients wanting to celebrate a special occasion with their spouse or significant other in San Francisco. While it certainly attracts a business clientele as well, drawn to its top-notch service, the sweeping views of the city from its beautifully appointed rooms and the skybridges are enchanting and so very romantic. And this is coming from someone who was recently there wrangling a super active and mischevious 5-year old, which, while a good workout, is anything but romantic! It's worth booking the Mandarin Oriental San Francisco as a TravelSort client to receive Virtuoso amenities, since these include an upgrade at time of booking if available; continental breakfast daily for two; $100 food and beverage credit; and complimentary Internet access.
Mandarin Oriental San Francisco Location, Check-In and Lobby
The Mandarin Oriental San Francisco is at 222 Sansome Street, between Pine and California Streets in the heart of downtown, just steps from Market Street, the Montgomery Street BART and Muni station, and about a 15 minute walk from Union Square.
We arrived by foot, having taken the KX Bus from SFO (given that we arrived in the midst of the BART strike), and were offered help with our bags, but declined, since we had no checked baggage and I prefer to travel light with kids.
The immediate lobby is quite intimate, with the reception and concierge desk directly in front of you. One of the great things about the Mandarin Oriental is that there are usually no lines at check-in, so we were immediately checked in by a friendly associate, who also answered my question about the house car, which we hoped to take later that evening. She was even able to reserve it for us for our preferred time, 5:30pm.
We were also asked if we'd like some welcome tea to be sent up to the room, and for the munchkin, there was a choice of fruit juice, milk or hot chocolate.
Mandarin Bay Bridge Room
We were lucky enough to be on a high floor, and even the walk to our room was incredible, on one of the skybridges, with a great view of the bay and Transamerica Pyramid:
We were originally booked into a Deluxe Bay View Room, but were delighted to be upgraded to a spacious, 575 square foot Mandarin Bay Bridge Room, a corner room that was flooded with natural light and enjoyed views of the bay and the Bay Bridge from both the room and the bathroom.
There's an entrance alcove as you enter, with space to the left for your suitcase, and a roomy closet directly in front of you for clothes.
On the right is the pillowtop King bed, which the munchkin and I found ever so comfortable, with its 400 threadcount sheets and down pillows (pillow menu is also available).
The living area of the room included a blue chaise lounge with throw pillows and a good sized work desk, with power outlets conveniently located on the desk itself, as well as additional outlets available nearby on the wall.
There's a gin theme, so it was only fitting that the welcome amenity included all the fixings for gin tonics…don't mind if I do!
Meanwhile, the munchkin was thrilled with his own special welcome amenity: cookies, fresh berries, and even a cable car filled with Ghiradelli chocolate treats!
And about 20 minutes later, my welcome tea and the munchkin's apple juice were brought in, together with lady fingers and an additional cable car amenity with chocolates (which I convinced the munchkin to save for a friend).
Refreshed, what both of us were mesmerized by was the view: the San Francisco Bay and the Transamerica Pyramid to the left:
And the Bay Bridge to the right:
Much of the time we were in the room, the munchkin gazed out at the view through the thoughtfully provided pair of binoculars:
The bathroom was itself generously portioned, with a separate shower and a soaking tub by the window, which enjoyed the same stunning bay view:
Bath amenities are Molton Brown, with a refreshing aroma and ziao jao (Chinese honeylocust fruit) extract, which is supposed to great for keeping your scalp healthy.
Turndown service was done while we were out to dinner, with the bed turned down and bottled water provided. The drapes were not drawn, however, and no wonder–we loved taking in the view of the city lights, before drawing the drapes ourselves right before going to bed.
There's a house car service in the evenings from 5:30pm-10pm daily, with additional early morning service on weekdays. We liked that it was possible to reserve it when we checked in, as it enabled us to better plan how we would get to a performance we had tickets to.
When we arrived downstairs at 5:30pm, the house car was waiting for us, and we were helped into the car. The car was immaculate and the ride was exceptionally pleasant of course, particularly compared to the taxis we're used to taking. And while normally this is a drop-off service only, our driver did provide us with a business card and mentioned we were welcome to call to see if the car was available to bring us back to the hotel, a very nice gesture, even though we ended up finding our own way back to the hotel.
The Mandarin Oriental San Francisco's Fitness Center and Spa are located on the 3rd Floor. Since we woke up before 6am, due to being on East Coast time, we decided to get in an early morning workout. This isn't a problem, as the Fitness Center is open 24 hours, accessible with your guest room key.
There were plenty of machines and treadmills, as well as free weights, exercise balls and some yoga mats.
There was also bottled water and a bowl of apples.
The Verdict: The Mandarin Oriental is arguably the best San Francisco hotel when you want not only well appointed rooms and great service, but also stunning views. There are of course other luxury hotels in San Francisco, and I've stayed at the Ritz-Carlton San Francisco, Four Seasons San Francisco and the St. Regis San Francisco. But none of them boast the kind of views the Mandarin Oriental San Francisco offers. For this reason, it would be a great choice for a couple's getaway or anniversary celebration, although the munchkin enjoyed it too, and we did see a couple other families there during our stay.
Here's a final photo, a close up of the Bay Bridge taken from our room at sunrise, with the fog partly shrouding the bridge:
Disclosure: I was a guest and enjoyed a complimentary stay at the Mandarin Oriental San Francisco, however the views expressed in this post are my own.
San Francisco Romantic Travel Guide
Grand Hyatt San Francisco Hotel Review
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