On my second visit to San Francisco, I wanted to stay at the Fairmont San Francisco mostly because of what I read about the history of the hotel.
It was the first meeting place for the United Nations in 1945, was designed by a woman, Julia Morgan and hosted many historical figures.
And after having stayed and visited many Fairmont hotels around the world, I had to visit the original and first Fairmont hotel.
How to Book
I booked my stay at the Fairmont San Francisco directly through the Fairmont website. I usually book direct if I stay or plan on staying frequently with the hotel group, or am a member of their loyalty program. Fairmont Hotels are part of the Le Club Accor Hotels group and you can get 10% off rates as a member.
Or you can book through Booking.com.
The Fairmont San Francisco is located on top of a hill. A very steep hill. It’s in the neighborhood of Nob Hill, home to famous luxury hotels and Michelin starred restaurants. Down the hill is walking distance to Chinatown and the Financial District. (A bit of a trek walking up hill!)
Check in time is at 4 pm. I was already in the city for two nights staying in the Fisherman’s Wharf area and spent the day before I checked in to the hotel around the Presidio and the Presidio Heights neighborhood.
The entrance to the hotel was so congested with other cars so I took my own bags out of the Uber and crossed the street with the bags. I had to wait a few minutes for an attendant to assist in taking my bags before I walked into the hotel to check in.
Checking in was fast. Members of the Le Accor Hotels get a card for a complimentary welcome drink to use at the bar. I ended up using it for champagne to go along with my afternoon tea the day I checked out.
The grand lobby is adorned with gold details, marble, high ceilings with columns and tall plants. Immediately front of the revolving doors is a sitting area. There were plenty of people at all hours that I was there. To the left is a staircase, straight past the seats is the entrance to Laurel Court and to the right is the concierge and reception area.
I stayed in a Fairmont Exterior Room in the Main Building with two Queen beds.
The room was spacious even with two queen beds. It was a corner room with three windows. One of the beds was right by the door and the other by the two windows.
Close to the bathroom and closet is a large workspace with a tablet for information about the hotel and surrounding area.
Right outside the bathroom was a vanity table and mirror and to the right, a very deep closet supplied with an umbrella, safe box, ironing board and iron and small shelves.
With so much space in the closet, it would’ve been helpful to have more hangers and more shelves instead of all the empty space.
A marble bathroom.
There’s not much counter space but the vanity table outside makes up for it.
Fairmont hotels all over the world are equipped with Le Labo amenities. Shampoo, conditioner, body and bar soaps are the familiar scent of Rose 31.
Mini Bar/Coffee & Tea
The room is also equipped with a Keurig coffee maker and kettle for hot water to make one of Fairmont’s own tea, Lot 35.
The Fairmont Exterior Rooms face out to Nob Hill and the city skyline. From my room on the third floor, we could see straight to the San Francisco icon, the Transamerica Pyramid.
The other windows looked down a hill.
Around The Hotel
Restaurants and Bars
There are two dining options at the Fairmont San Francisco.
One is the Laurel Court Restaurant & Bar for breakfast and afternoon tea in addition to lunch and dinner. I had breakfast one morning. The buffet breakfast didn’t have a ton of options so I’d recommend finding breakfast around the city, unless you’re pressed for time or it’s included in your room rate.
Meanwhile, the Tonga Room & Hurricane Bar is a unique and special occasion restaurant. For Polynesian-fusion cuisine, tables surround a pool of water with a stage for nightly performances.
LiveFitGym is a wellness club inside the Fairmont San Francisco. They have several locations throughout the city. The center inside the hotel includes a spa.
There are many meeting rooms throughout the hotel. In fact, the hotel hosted the first meetings of the United Nations in 1945.
On the top floor of the main building is quiet courtyard area.
I didn’t have much interaction with hotel staff.
Afternoon tea is served at The Laurel Court at Fairmont San Francisco. Click here for a full review of the afternoon tea.
I had no problems with the WiFi connection.
I get that San Francisco is an expensive city but I’m not sure about spending over $950 for a two night stay at this particular Fairmont hotel. I spent less on my stays at Fairmonts in other parts of the world and had a far superior experience in terms of service and even room category.
Also, the breakfast was disappointing. I paid $91 for the breakfast buffet for two people. There weren’t enough options to justify the price. Again, I understand it’s San Francisco and I can’t really compare this to the Fairmont Amman where there was even separate rooms with so many variety of food.
However, I don’t regret staying there. The location is great for someone who is visiting for the first time and wants to experience all the touristy attractions. At the same time, if you’re intrigued as I am about hotels and hotel history, this is a must. Be sure to take the tour with San Francisco City Guides to learn more. They take donations.
Room Rate: For a hotel stay in late May, I paid $950 for two nights at a Fairmont Exterior Room rate
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