Welcome to Backpacker’s Boutique. Every Sunday, this spot will feature a new travel blogger. Some weeks it will be a really fun interview about packing, fashion, and fitness so you can snoop inside their bags & lives a little bit and other weeks it’ll be a detailed luxury guide to a city the featured blogger/expat knows very well. E-mail me if you’d like to be featured.
A Luxury Guide to San Fransisco
Tell us a little about yourself and tell us why you’re an expert on luxury travel in San Fransisco.
Hey guys, my name is Becca and I am the creator of B Travels Better. I am a native Pacific Northwesterner, but I have always been crazy about San Francisco. My first visit to the city was in 2009 with my boyfriend at the time. You could say that I left my heart in the Bay.
Since then, I have made it a point to visit at least once a year. I also worked in a sales role for Amazon in which San Francisco was my territory so I was able to get to know a lot of the local business owners there.
What makes San Francisco a perfect destination for travelers seeking a glamorous trip?
San Francisco, (don’t call it SF or San Fran, locals will make fun of you) is the perfect location for a luxury vacation. The weather is very mild, never too hot or too cold. The city is filled with gorgeous hotels, five star restaurants and views that will make your jaw drop. Golden Gate Park gives Central Park in New York a run for its money. Plus the entire city is only 5 by 5 sq. miles so it is possible to walk nearly everywhere, as long as you don’t mind climbing some hills.
feature image source:Jamie Beverly
What 5 star hotel is the best in San Francisco?
If you are looking for extravagant luxury, look no further than The Palace Hotel. This historic landmark was built in 1875 and has been the epitome of elegance in San Francisco since its construction. A renovation was completed in 2015, so if you have stayed here in the past, it might be time for another visit. The hotel is located on the outskirts of the financial district, about a 10 minute walk from Union Square.
Though the location could be better, the experience could not be. It is one of only 30, four diamond hotels in the world and a luxury San Francisco vacation would not be complete without a night in The Palace. A night here will cost you about $725 during peak season.
What about boutique hotels in San Francisco, of them all, which would you send your friends or family to stay at?
As a Seattle hipster, I really hate big name brands and chains… I will always choose a boutique hotel over a Fairmont or a Marriot hotel. My favorite hotel in San Francisco is The Argonaut. If you couldn’t guess by the name, the hotel has a nautical theme and the rooms are decorated accordingly. The building itself is a restored warehouse that was built in 1907, and thus it is not the typical 20-story high-rise that you may be expecting. Many of the rooms have exposed brick and wooden beams, making you feel as though you are a part of the buildings history. The location on the edge of Fisherman’s Warf leaves little to be desired. Basically everything is within walking distance, providing easy access to the myriad of amazing restaurants nearby. One night here will set you back about $450 during peak season, but trust me, it’s worth it.
Are there any fun activities for the adventurous traveler in San Francisco?
San Francisco is unique in its proximity to California’s Wine Country. In about an hour (depending on traffic) you can be in Napa or my personal preference Sonoma. There are a number of different tour companies in San Francisco that offer luxury wine tours.
The best, in my opinion, is Platypus Wine Tours. This company is special in that they focus on smaller, family run wineries as opposed to the larger more commercial vineyards. Again, my hipster nature is shining through. These little mom and pop shops typically provide a more intimate experience in which you can learn more about what you are drinking and the family who is making it.
Where are the best hang outs during the day in San Francisco?
I have already briefly mentioned Golden Gate Park, but this thousand acre park in the center of the city is the perfect place to spend a sunny afternoon. My favorite part of the park is Strawberry Hill, which occupies an entire island in the middle of Stow Lake in the center of the park. From the island you can see views of the city, though they are partially obscured by trees now. You can also take some really cute photos at the Chinese Peace Pagoda near the edge of the lake.
If you have a big date night, what are the most delicious restaurants in San Francisco and what are their best dishes?
As one of the best foodie cities in the world, this is the hardest question so far. For me, the atmosphere at Foreign Cinema takes the cake. The menu changes daily, but is influenced by Mediterranean-Californian cuisines. It has been listed as one of the Top 100 restaurants by the San Francisco Chronical for the past 16 years. It is such an icon that September 18th has been designated as Foreign Cinema day in the city. Start the night off right with a glass of champagne and some oysters on the half shell.
End the night with the eggnog-scented crème brûlée or sample one of their local rotating cheeses. There is really nothing you can order here that will disappoint you.
Let’s talk desserts- what place makes the best?
Dessert tastes vary so much from person to person. I am not really a baked good person, but I know most people would find that strange. My personal favorite is Bi-Rite Creamery. They serve house-made, small-batch, artisanal ice cream. The flavors range from the ordinary (malted vanilla) to the obscure (honey lavender). I am on a personal quest to try them all.
For those of you who prefer more traditional dessert options, head over to Bob’s Donut and Pastry Shop. This place has over 2000 reviews on Yelp (which is insane if you are unfamiliar with the site) and is open 24/7. It has been family owned and operated since 1960, and serves up some of the best donuts in the country.
Time for a great sunset view in San Francisco… where would you go?
Hands down, Lands End is the best place to watch a sunset in San Francisco. Here you get views of not only the Golden Gate Bridge, but also all of Marin County. You can walk out past the ruins of the Sutro Baths. When it was built in 1896, it was the largest public saltwater swimming pool complex in the world. However, the facility burned down in 1967, but the ruins are still pretty cool.
You can also see numerous shipwrecks from the Coastal Trail during low tide. All in all, this is a really sweet place to visit at any time of day, but is at its best during sunset.
cable car source: Richard Gillin
Now that the sun’s gone down, fill us on the best places to go for some evening drinks or a great pre-gaming spot.
My favorite spot to start a night of drinking in San Francisco is The Buena Vista. Generally, I need a little caffeine to get me going and the Irish Coffees here are the perfect solution. There is not a better Irish Coffee in the country in my opinion, and trust me, I have tried my fair share. Plus, the most popular way to get here is via cable car, if you want to check that adventure off your bucket list as well. Pick up the cable car at Powell & Hyde heading toward Fisherman’s Warf and you can’t miss The Buena Vista.
If you end the night at a fancy club in San Francisco, which one do you head towards?
I may not be the best person to answer this question, as I don’t really frequent night clubs. I much prefer a quieter evening with a group of friends at a fancy bar as opposed to a night of drunken debauchery at a packed club. On that note, I am partial to Infusion in Union Square if I have my dancing shoes on. Though it looks really upscale, it is typically one of the cheaper clubs to get into and they constantly do promotions for free bottle service if you follow them on Instagram.
Delirium in the Mission is also super fun, mostly because of the music they play which is a mix of top 40 and all the terrible music they played at your middle-school dances. It has been described as “one of the most underrated dance experiences ever.”
Becca is a self-proclaimed travel addict and foodie. She spends most of her free time outdoors, hiking through the Cascade Mountain Range in her home state of Washington. She has been to 8 countries so far and is planning to check off at least 5 more this year. If you are even in need of a friend to drink cheap wine with, Becca is your girl. Follow her on: Instagram | Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest
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