Destination Dispatches: Special Treatment in San Fran

Guest Editor:
- Carrie Harrison-Ell, Senior Vice President of Hotel Programs for Kiwi Collection and mother of three; she is an expert on family travel. Carrie’s not-so-secret pleasures include: romantic trips to Siena, wine and cheese pairings and everything about the Mayan Riviera.

There’s nothing like arriving at a Mandarin Oriental hotel.

Although I’ve been spoiled and now have high expectations of their brand—Mandarin Oriental Boston blew me away with their service last year—I’m still impressed by the warmth of their greeting. This time, I’m greeted four times before I even get to the check-in desk at the Mandarin Oriental San Francisco.

I stayed two fabulous nights and loved every minute of it.

Waiting in my room was an amenity I’d never seen before. In amongst the standard (and much appreciated) VIP amenities I received, was customized stationary. My name on Mandarin Oriental letterhead? So exciting. A truly unique touch that put a big smile on my face.

Rooms start on the 39th floor, so the views don’t get better than this. I highly suggest you request the Golden Gate view. It comes with clear views of the bridge and Alcatraz. There were three large windows in my room (no. 4104) with the potential to have an adjoining room next door with more great views. Even the soaker tub had a view!

One evening, I also had the pleasure of feasting at Silks. This is a true fine dining experience. I recommend the pink peppercorn bread from Oakville made fresh daily with rose-hued peppercorns that Silks ships directly to the Firebrand bakery in Oakland. The crab and avocado appetizer drizzled with Gazpacho is fabulous, as is the Halibut entrée that comes with grits. But the icing on the cake for me, quite literally, was the chocolate and banana cake with green tea ice cream.

I was sad to leave on my last day, on an early flight out to top it off. Even so, the Mandarin Oriental San Francisco managed to put a few more smiles on my face before I left. As I got off the elevator, I was delighted to see a stand of fresh coffee with to-go cups waiting for early risers like me. It was as though someone had read my mind. And just as when I’d first arrived, I was greeted several times again as I departed with my hot cup of coffee. The only difference this time was everybody knew my name.

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