Category Archives: California

Hotel Monaco • San Francisco, California

A Belle Epoque beauty near Union Square

Hotel Monaco - Exterior

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The lively Hotel Monaco was once a staid bastion of bland hospitality but now has been transformed by the Kimpton Group into a young-in-spirit boutique hotspot.  The 1910 Beaux Arts building features a lobby with columns and a grand wrought iron staircase and sculpture by renowned Bay Area artist Albert  Guibara.  The hotel’s Grand Cafe, with a look of Parisian rail station, welcomes locals and guests alike with an eclectic American cuisine and  the more intimate Petitie Cafe and Bar serves French bistro fare.

Hotel Monaco - Guest room

The guest rooms at the Hotel Monaco are a fanciful affair with the fin-de-siecle air continued with striped silken canopy beds, sconces and a bounty of textures and patterns. But the playfulness is accompanied by luxe: beds offer pillowtop mattresses, down comforters and Frette linens. This cocoon of comfort is still linked to the outside world with complimentary wireless access, CD players and flat screen TVs.

Hotel Monaco - Guest room

The up-to-the-minute Hotel Monaco has benefits beyond the norm: hybrid car owners enjoy free parking and the pampered pet is welcomed with its own turn-down service.  A spa and sauna are also available.

Hotel Monaco
Location: 501 Geary St  San Francisco, CA 94102, USA; driving time to the airport is about 40 minutes.

Luxury style: Lively and playful but with comfort enough for all ages; hipness combined with hospitality.

What we’ve heard: Rooms can be to cozy for some and a bit on the small size. Location is a major plus with shopping, theater all within steps.

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Campton Place Hotel • San Francisco, California

A haven in America’s most romantic city

Guestroom at Campton Place Hotel, San Francisco

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Restaurant at Campton Place Hotel

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Guestroom at Campton Place Hotel, San Francisco

Campton Place Hotel
Location: 340 Stockton St, San Francisco, California; distance from airport

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Mission Inn Resort & Spa • Riverside, California

Landmark of luxury

Mission Inn Resort & Spa • Riverside, California

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Mission Inn Hotel began its illustrious history as a modest 12-room adobe boarding house. Through a gradual process of accumulation, renovation and additions by eccentric owner Frank Miller, the hotel reached its current state adorned with arcades and orange gardens, turrets and domes, flying buttresses, spiral staircases, catacombs and carillon towers. Walking into the magnificent lobby, the guest will be struck by the dark wood beamed ceilings, stucco arches, and wooden pillar lining the corridor. A 94-foot carpet displays the name of all 21 of California’s Missions.

Riverside Inn - Pool

Although history will keep many a visitor fascinated, relaxation and rejuvenation is a strictly modern affair. At Kelly’s Spa, a Tuscan-inspired oasis of tranquility, offers massages and body treatments with imported herbs and oils. A relaxing dip in the pool or soak in the outdoor spa tub can top off the session.

For dining, the Mission Inn offers four unique dining experiences. The Mission Inn Restaurant serves California-style cuisine on the pation; Duane’s Prime Steaks & Seafood is noted for its award-winning wines. Around a colorful blue-tiled fountain and weathered-rock waterfall, Las Campanas serves authentic Mexican cuisine. Service is rounded out by Bella Trattoria with oven-baked pizzas and panini.

Mission Inn - Suite

Because of the Mission Inn’s long history, there are scarcely any rooms that are exactly alike. Oriental carpets, antiques, four-poster beds are some of the design elements used in the rooms and suites. Wandering throughout the hotel is a special experience with discoveries of stairways, walkways and catwalks that offer fascinating views of the inn’s special architecture.

Mission Inn
Location: 3649 Mission Inn Avenue, Riverside, CA 92501 ; distance from airport

Luxury style: History buffs will find the Mission Inn totally fascinating and catnip to their imagination. It’s also a romantic getaway with the fine furnishing and one-of-a-kind rooms.

What we’ve heard: Start your stay with an hour plus guided tour of the property by a docent. Some of the most interesting spots are not available to the public and you will marvel at the colorful history of this renowned and eccentric hotel masterpiece.

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