A stay at The St. Regis San Francisco offers guests a place to relax, explore and indulge this season.
By Michelle Franzen Martin
Springtime, when San Francisco’s parks are bathed in bright color and the surrounding hills are a vibrant green, there is a spirit of renewal in the city. It’s a time to do as much, or as little, as one wants—from exploring the city’s dynamic arts and culture scene to spending a quiet afternoon in one of the nearby waterfront towns. It’s also an ideal time to discover the unique weekend getaway that awaits guests visiting The St. Regis San Francisco.
At the heart of one of the most cultured and vibrant neighborhoods in the city, the St. Regis offers an experience that begins long before a guest steps into the hotel lobby. Thanks to the hotel’s exclusive eButler service, every detail—from pre-arranging flowers for a special occasion to securing tickets to a show—can be handled in advance. It’s that personalized attention and level of service, paired with a full complement of on-site seasonal escapes, that creates an unforgettable weekend for those seeking to immerse themselves in a singular St. Regis experience.
At Your Service
“Allow me,” the only request that St. Regis butlers ask of guests, is the adage of the hotel’s legendary butler service that has been a hallmark of the brand for more than a century. St. Regis butlers handle a guest’s every need, no matter how large or small. They can provide guests with perfectly pressed suits, shop for last-minute gifts and work with the concierge desk to arrange reservations, among many other requests. They attend to every detail, including serving French-pressed coffee as a wake-up call.
The online component, eButler, sends guests an email prior to check-in, confirming details such as who will be staying at the hotel and addresses any needs and predilections.
“It opens conversations and establishes a relationship before a guest arrives,” says Signature St. Regis Butler Pavel Sirotin. “We get to know the ages of their children, their spouse’s name and their preferences. It is truly relationship-building pre-arrival and helps to ensure our guests have the most personalized experience possible.
“It’s the ultimate level of customization,” Sirotin adds, noting that guests often will ask for him during their next stay. “We receive repeat business from loyal travelers who request a certain person because they already have a strong relationship with that butler.”
Without having to worry about details, guests can focus solely on relaxation—beginning with an indulgent visit to Remède Spa. Upon arrival, guests are offered Champagne, artisanal cheese and handmade truffles before meeting with a spa therapist who develops a customized treatment.
Facials are available for men and women, and the spa offers a variety of massages and hot stone treatments. For the ultimate in relaxation, the Stillness Ritual dips guests into a calming herbal bath fragranced with Sonoma lavender, chamomile and sandalwood, followed by a 90-minute Swedish massage. After the massage, guests are invited to swim in the spa’s indoor infinity pool that offers captivating views of San Francisco.
For a more visual state of repose, meander through the hotel’s corridors to take in the extensive collection of artwork. Rivaling a carefully curated art gallery, the St. Regis heightens the experience with both indoor and outdoor pieces on display from contemporary artists. The hotel draws inspiration from its SoMa neighborhood surroundings—the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art is next door—and also houses the Museum of African Diaspora, which showcases history, art and culture throughout the world that resulted from the emigration from Africa.
Guests also can choose to unwind and refresh with something to drink at the Lobby Bar, which also happens to boast two signature murals—“Love” and “War” by artist Andrew Morrow. But more than just art, the Lobby Bar offers several rituals that promise to quench the thirst and curiosity of every guest and resident. Every day from noon until closing, the Champagne ritual pays homage to small, artisanal producers along with a selection of superb vintages from larger Champagne houses.
“We feature 12 grower Champagnes from small family growers that vinify their own wine without buying more than 5 percent of their grapes from any of the 19,000 other growers in the region,” Chief Concierge Antonio Barrios says. “In the past, these growers sold off most of their crop to big Champagne houses and now have attracted worldwide attention over the last decade with their own handcrafted styles.”
Similarly, during the bloody mary ritual—which honors the first of its kind, the Red Snapper, created in 1934 at The St. Regis New York—the bar offers the original libation along with two house-made variations: the Golden Gate Mary (Don Julio Blanco, roasted serrano pepper and horseradish-infused tomato water served up) and the Virgin Maria (a Golden Gate Mary without the alcohol and served on the rocks with a chili-spiced rim).
The Lobby Bar also hosts a daily tea ritual from noon until 5 p.m. with selections from Japanese tea company Ito En. As a counterpart to the afternoon respite, guests have the opportunity to enjoy Ame restaurant’s famous rhubarb pie with orange blossom ice cream along with the warm variety of teas.
Out and About
The crisp spring air that fills the Bay Area is something Barrios says makes for a delightful day no matter where guests find themselves, but he does have some suggestions for exemplary day trips.
“The concierge can help you make the most of your experience in San Francisco by planning your itinerary in two phases,” Barrios says. “The first is to share a bespoke experience inside the hotel and the other for a bespoke experience outside the hotel.
“Two areas that would be a great getaway besides the city would be Sonoma Valley to experience wine tasting and Carmel to experience its beauty and history,” he adds.
Other outside explorations of nearby destinations vary from a morning in Sausalito via water taxi to an all-day trip to Napa Valley, complete with stops at wineries. For a more personalized exploration, take a self-navigated drive down the coast as far as Big Sur or embark on an adventure to Los Angeles, Las Vegas or Lake Tahoe with private jet service and a tour guide. For each of the tours, multilingual guides are available to accommodate all guests.
For guests who prefer to stay in the city, The St. Regis San Francisco offers complimentary house car service available within 2 miles of the hotel. “Guests arrive in style via our black Bentley Flying Spur,” Barrios says of the car, which is available on a first-come, first-served basis. The hotel’s concierge desk is also fully equipped to assist guests in arranging other transportation options or even deciding upon a destination.
Quintessential city stops include a visit to Crissy Field for a picturesque view of the Golden Gate Bridge or Golden Gate Park for everything from the Japanese Tea Garden to the San Francisco Botanical Garden’s Hall of Flowers. Barrios explains that both are ideal for guests wishing to lead their own excursion in the city as they are within easy distance of the hotel.
Alcatraz Island and Muir Woods National Monument are two places Sirotin says he often suggests to guests seeking outdoor exploration. And, of course, he and the other St. Regis butlers are available to assist with the planning.
“In spring, guests often will take a picnic to Muir Woods,” he says. “We can customize the picnic items to take with them—for example, a cheese basket with wine.”
Unwind and Dine
As days come to an end, guests can relax in their rooms with a cocktail and a light snack, or they can head downstairs to Ame, where a variety of signature cocktails are available in the lounge to enjoy before dinner. In particular, a favorite is the World’s Greatest Martini, which is made with The Bitter Truth orange bitters, Perucchi vermouth and Nolet’s reserve gin—a small-production gin made in Holland that is infused with saffron and lemon verbena.
Ame also features hand-selected wine and sake pairings for all dishes during its dinner service. During the spring and fall, the restaurant also offers Namazakes, unpasteurized sakes that are bright and fresh in flavor and aroma. “These sakes are released once, sometimes twice, a year and are a harbinger of spring,” says Lissa Doumani, pastry chef and co-owner of Ame.
As embracing seasonal selections is of the highest importance, Ame’s chefs visit farmers markets in the city for quality selections to showcase on the menu.
“Ame’s menu changes with the seasons, but in San Francisco we have microseasons, so our menu changes six times a year to highlight ingredients that may only be available for a short period,” Doumani explains.
The menu starts with offerings from the raw bar, featuring clean presentations such as snapper crudo with extra-virgin olive oil, lemon and sea salt—a dish that pairs well with Kurikomayama Hitome Bore, a light and crisp sake with a dry, mineral-driven finish. Ame has a more classical format with its appetizers, which include burrata cheese on bruschetta with farmers market vegetable salad, as well as porcini mushroom soup with ezo abalone and chive creme fraiche.
A recommended entree highlight is the sake-marinated Alaskan black cod and shrimp dumplings in shiso broth.
“This dish seems to have almost a cult following,” says Doumani, who recommends pairing the savory cod with Knez pinot noir from Anderson Valley, Calif.
Another California-originated treat comes from one of the restaurant’s well-known meat dishes—the grilled Brandt Family Ranch New York strip steak with ravioli of potato fonduta and bone marrow with red wine sauce.
Ame leaves diners feeling energized yet calm, and that serene feeling continues as guests make their way back to their room for a relaxing bubble bath drawn by a St. Regis butler.
“We go to the guest’s room while they are at dinner and set up their Champagne of choice and chocolate truffles or chocolate strawberries,” Sirotin says. “It’s a very romantic setting and the perfect way to end the day and cap off a weekend stay at the St. Regis.” B