Check-in: Clift Hotel

- Nicole Savini, Guest Blogger

Located just blocks form Union Square and Nob Hill, on a strip of Geary Street packed with theaters, Clift Hotel is well situated for exploring the cool and quirky city of San Francisco. But the hotel is a cool and quirky San Francisco destination in itself.

When we arrived, I felt cooler just for having walked through the doors. The hotel lobby is a mix of Old World sophisticated and nightclub chic, all accented with wonderland touches like illuminated wall tiles with animal drawings, a roaring fireplace with bronze chimney, a table (made by Salvador Dali!) with a single silver hand reaching out from below, and the centerpiece: a chair that is somehow both fun-house enormous and palace luxurious. If Alice fell down the rabbit hole in her mid 30s, this would be the fantasy land she’d hoped for.


The room, like most in San Francisco, was small, but mirrors on each wall reflected one another so you can lie in the oversized bed and stare off in to infinity. As a balance to the lobby’s fanciful atmosphere, the vibe in the room is clean and calm. But even the Malin and Goetz bath products give a little wink with unexpected scents. I soaped up with rum body wash and conditioned with cilantro conditioner before heading out.

We met a friend for drinks in super swanky lobby bar, The Living Room, where, for an early cocktail, the soft leather chairs and couches were perfect. But he’s a local and told us that for late-night drinks, Clift’s Redwood Room is the go-to spot—we made a mental note to check the Redwood Room out later.

After exploring the city we returned and sure enough, the Redwood Room was packed with well-heeled 30-somethings gathered around the bar that’s rumored to be made from one, giant redwood tree.

After a long day of indulging in San Francisco’s delights, I thought I might have been seeing things when I noticed the mind-teasing digital artwork displayed on framed plasma television screens. Was that painting looking at me? At Clift, just like in San Francisco, anything’s possible! And it’s just that cheeky mix of surreal and sexy that makes this hotel a great place to explore and a delightful place to drift off to dreamland.

Nicole Savini is a field producer at Comedy Central’s The Colbert Report. To learn more about her, read her Proust Travel Questionnaire. She’s also written about Hvar Island and Dubrovnik, Croatia.

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