A Personal Review Of The Ritz-Carlton, San Francisco

This weekend I found myself, spontaneously, at the San Francisco Ritz-Carlton. We had talked of the Carneros Inn, but since we left reservations to the last minute, they were full up. I was quite disappointed, and Significant Other determined to mitigate my distress.

So we stayed at the Ritz for a couple of nights, where I’d never been.

I recovered immediately. Champagne served on arrival will do that. Never underestimate the impact of a silver tray.

To say nothing of spectacular lobby flowers.

Let’s be honest. The San Francisco Ritz is not one of those hotels that photographs well. There isn’t much light inside. But what the Ritz lacks in Bay views and visible sky, it makes up for with indoor creature comforts and phenomenal service. On a foggy San Francisco summer weekend, those count.

Our suite was up under the eaves. No window at all in the bedroom. Very conducive to sleep, as were the linens and boisterous pillow throng. I was tempted to tame them with with a chair and whip.

The Ritz clearly endorses the Global Bathroom Marbleing Project. And who doesn’t appreciate a crystal ring holder?

But the real point of the Ritz is the way they take care of you. Especially if you spring for the Club Floor. Food laid out for the taking, day and night. Two concierges at the entry, with all mod cons, i..e. have Internet, Will Find You Stuff. Terribly friendly in aspect, the staff at the Ritz make you feel that they like their jobs, and are glad to see you happy.

Which makes it all that much easier to be so.

The Club Floor lounge is understated and comfortable. Upholstered chairs, glass tables, strategic orchids. And glass jars of candy scattered across the end tables. Those brightly colored balls to the left are foil-wrapped Caribbean chocolates. Did you think of the Caribbean as a chocolate locale? Me neither. I am happy to play my part in the fight against ignorance.

The food gets even better at the hotel restaurant, Parallel 37. Chef Ron Siegel ran the Dining Room for years, one of the most acclaimed formal eating halls in San Francisco. One day I suppose he got tired of tablecloths. This is the result.

The art on the wall is a backlit photo montage of old California oaks in the East Bay. Had me quite nostalgic with teenage memories of illicit activities under similar trees. We ate pork cooked sous-vide, roast salmon, soft-shell crabs and lemon semifreddo. We drank a mineral-y Chardonnay, something I hadn’t know existed. Fighting ignorance all the way.

By the way, the pork, if you’re a meat-eater, was memorable – especially in that it wasn’t highly spiced and so relied on texture and the straight up taste of pork for impact.

If the San Francisco St. Regis brings to mind your stylish uncle’s city apartments, the Ritz has to be your best-loved great-aunt’s house. The aunt who invited you for weekends, served sherry, and let you sleep late. Oh, except the food’s a little better, and no Norwich Terriers bark as you drive up.

The club floor is not cheap. However, if you go for a staycation, and plan to eat in, and like a glass of wine or two, it’s a great deal.

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  • Low lighting or not, your pictures are quite wonderful! I do believe I am suffering from hotel envy.

  • Beeeee-autiful!

  • That looks lovely. It’s those little details that make the Ritz…well, the Ritz. Thanks for sharing.

  • I’ve always wanted to visit San Francisco. My brother hopes to get a fellowship there in a couple years, so hopefully I will find the time for a visit. Perhaps we can spring for dinner at the Ritz? So glad you had a fun and romantic weekend.

  • Beautiful hotel, I love it!

  • Love a romantic getaway…
    just saying the words “Ritz Carleton” sounds luxe.

  • You have me wanting to head off straight away on a World Ritz Tour.

  • Ahhhhhh! We just had a lovely Ritz-like stay, right outside Chatham, which made the place we stayed at Saturday night seem all the more Not Ritzy.

    Glad you had a nice time!

  • We received a certificate for a night at any Ritz Carlton as a wedding gift nine years ago. Shamefully, it remains unredeemed in a drawer. I think next time we are in the City we will use it. Thank you for an enlightening review.

  • It sounds luxurious. We rode our bicycles right near there on Monday. That crystal ring tray is a beauty.

  • It looks and sounds wonderful. What great reviews you write!

  • Looks and sounds fine. Btw.. was there a special something connected to the stay at the hotel? The crystal ring holder?

  • Your photos are exquisite! Feel like we are there. LOVE the Ritz Carlton – especially the champagne upon arrival, they really know how to make you feel special. “My Pleasure” – love hearing everyone that attends to you say it. Ahhhh!

  • Verrry nice. Sometimes the best trips are right in our own backyard. :)

  • Aaaah, The Ritz Carlton-San Francisco. It definitely has my seal of approval. Then again, I have never been disappointed by any Ritz. A few years ago, my husband had a weeklong conference in ‘The City.’ My sons – who were about 5 and 8 years old at the time – and I ended up tagging along at the last minute. A truly great time was had by all of us. The underground spa and large lap pool was a surprisingly opulent delight. The education on the origins of Fortune Cookies (who know San Francisco is the birthplace of this little “chinese” treat?)as well as Forturne Cookies themselves were available 24/7 during our visit. We walked through Chinatown – only a block away – on several of the days. The boys and I had a great time there. And, yes, the employees were super kind and helpful. They even gave each of my boys San Francisco-themed goody bags. Thank you, Lisa, for reminding me of that experience. I’d nearly forgotten.

  • So overdue for a trip to SF, and the hotel looks lovely. I wonder if the Ritz Carlton’s have their own orchid farms? Not sure about a bedroom with no window – were you a little surprised or uncomfortable at first? It could be cozy but I think I might feel nervous. I was in a big hotel fire in Chicago when I was 15 – always check the fire escape routes at hotels now!

  • Very nice!

    My feeling is that if you won’t spring for the food you shouldn’t stay in the hotel.

    Why stay in a wonderful place and then spend your breakfast walking around on the street looking for a cheap cup of coffee.

  • I just returned from a stay at the Ritz St. Louis. It was my first Ritz stay and I can’t wait for the next one (and the one after, and the one after that, and so on). The level of service and the pleasant staff made for the best hotel stay ever.

  • I’m so glad you got to run away for a while! I researched customer service at the Ritz once (while working on a project to improve customer service where I worked, and sampling many different industries) – I read that all employees carry around a little card with various motto’s, rules, mission statement to remind them to give the best possible experience for their guests. It sounds like some may have succeeded!

  • Swoon!

  • I’ve been fortunate to spend time here and there in several Ritz Club Floor lounges- if heaven has a waiting room, this is surely what it is….


  • Sounds like you had a great weekend in excellent surroundings.Ida

  • I cannot imagine not staying on the Club Floor at the Ritz Carleton. Seriously. With the amount of food they give you gratis and the help and quiet it guarantees, you would be silly not to spend the extra $, you know?

    Love the photos, glad you had a staycation with the significant other. He recovered well after you all missing out on the inn!

  • Is the Ritz at the tip-top of a steep hill? I seem to remember a long morning walk in SF, with that hotel, and a pretty park full of Tai Chi practitioners, side by side.