By Eileen Ogintz
SAN FRANCISCO — This doesn’t feel like a hotel… cement floors, “unfinished” ceiling.
There’s no big check-in counter.
Different floors welcome you with signs like:
“It’s official. It’s the half way mark” – 6th Floor
“It’s no small feat to be on the 12th floor. You deserve a pat on the back.”
“Life is good on the fifth floor – just ask anybody.”
Welcome to the Hotel G, San Francisco’s newest boutique hotel with 151 rooms (two more suites to come) just north of Union Square but miles away from the big-box chain hotels in the neighborhood. Incidentally, there have been hotels in this building since just a few years after the 1906 Earthquake.
San Francisco, of course, is famous for boutique hotels and for quirkiness—one boutique hotel group is even doing a 50 Shades of Women promotion complete with faux fur handcuffs. I love that these hotels are individual and unique, whether you are in Nob Hill, north of Union Square as I am, the Presidio or elsewhere in the city.
Unlike at a lot of “big box” hotels, I feel like I’m in a different world. Fog colored walls, wood finishes and earthy fabrics. Let’s not forget the dark denim headboards. (San Francisco is where Levi-Strauss started, after all.)
There’s also the burgeoning restaurant scene at these hotels that attract more locals than guests. Just up the street for example, there’s the newly renovated Warwick Hotel. The European is home to a lively cocktail scene with seasonal artisanal cocktails (think Plums—plum, maple and Prosecco or a classic Sazerac… and the sleek Aveline is attracting a local crowd for dishes liked braised lamb shank and fried chicken.
The restaurants at the Hotel G are just as popular. We had to wait for a table for breakfast at Klyde Café which also serves lunch and serves as a wine bar. Think great coffee, eggs benedict with crab and and fried green tomato. No wonder so many locals were there.
And on a Thursday night, the hotel’s Three 9 Eight Restaurant was packed—and not with tourists. We loved the extensive wine list and the quirky and delicious menu—herring or fish dumplings are among the house specialties. There’s salmon, tuna and beef tartare, selections of artisanal cheeses, roasted Poussin rubbed with olive oil and thyme, monkfish with chorizo… pastas and steaks. It proved an ideal spot for dinner with grown kids. Teens would also love the ambiance.
You are guaranteed to find something you’ll enjoy eating here but you won’t feel you are stuck at a hotel restaurant—just the opposite, even if you’ve just arrived in San Francisco, you’ll feel you’ve happened on a welcoming, fun scene.
And that’s what hotel restaurants should be, after all. I can’t wait until the hotel’s Oyster Bar opens.
This is the first Hotel G in the United States—the others are mostly in Asia and decidedly tip toward a design crowd (teens would love it—right down to the denim head boards. This is where Levi Strauss started, after all.) The rooms are spare but comfortable.
A little history —The Fielding Hotel at the corner of Geary and Mason Streets was built in 1909 and offered 112 rooms on eight floors. Four additional floors were added in 1939 and now, following a two-year renovation, the Hotel G aims to make you feel like you are part of the spirit of San Francisco. The artwork is done by Creativity Explored, a local non profit where talented artists with developmental disabilities create and sell their art.
Nice! I left smiling—and anyone who stays at hotels often knows that doesn’t always happen.
FINDING A HOTEL ROOM IN SAN FRANCISCO
Finding an affordable hotel in San Francisco is a lot easier if you use the mega search engine, Trivago.com. According to its regularly updated Trivago Hotel Price Index, January, February and March are the cheapest months of the year to book a hotel in San Francisco, while August, September and October are the most expensive. In January, the average hotel room price in SF was $225, according to the Trivago Index.