Locals know the Palace Hotel as the spot for high tea under the glass ceiling or fancy cocktails in the shadow of Maxfield Parrish’s Pied Piper painting. But did you know the Palace is home to one of the finest indoor pools in SF and boasts an array of family-friendly fun all summer long? Whether you’re traveling to SF for a vaycay or you want the ultimate local staycation, indulge for a night (or more) and bring your princes and princesses to the Palace. Read on for the scoop.
Go Luxe or Go Home
The Palace Hotel, a Luxury Collection Hotel, offers a splurge-worthy sleepover that just might take a regular spot in your summer vacation plans, and guest-only privileges make it worth every penny, especially when you factor in the travel time and amusement-park fees you just saved. With lush accommodations, a palatial setting and five-star service, you’ll feel like a true SF-celeb in that 1875 meets 1940s glam meets totally-modern way. Plus the chocolate-scented hallways, a pool stocked with beach balls and pool noodles and an on-site candy store will make your kids feel more than welcome, too. Throw in a high-tea in the glassed-in court, a swim-up movie theater and a lot more and you’ll never (ever, ever) want to leave.
Tip: Even if you’re staying for just one night, ask for late check-out and sleep in while your plus-one takes the kiddies to the pool.
Right, so did we mention the pool? We’re going to just dive right in and say this is not only one of the ONLY indoor pools in San Francisco, it’s arguably the best. The glass ceiling roof mimics the signature ceiling in the lobby, and allows a view of the nearby buildings, reminding you that you are truly in the heart of SF. On sunny days the entire room is illuminated with a dreamy light, guaranteed to unleash your inner mermaid. Oh, and did we mention the poolside movie screen? Saturdays at 8 p.m. Dive In Movie night, with family friendly flicks shown on a big screen, pool side. And on Freezie Fridays, surprise frozen treats will be on offer from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Eat It Up
Drag yourself out of that insanely beautiful and comfy room and tuck into Saturday Signature Tea in the Garden Court or their weekend brunch service, complete with live music. For a truly memorable meal, reserve a table at the Pied Piper. From root beers and burgers to lavishly prepared side dishes served with a mean martini, this top-notch restaurant’s food is overshadowed only by the nearby painting by world-famous Maxfield Parrish. The painting looms large over the bar, which you can meander through on your way to the restaurant. Be sure and look up at the exquisite light fixtures and ornately carved ceiling that seems to echo a lavish chocolate bar.
Photo: Amber Guetebier
Speaking of chocolate, before you check out, don’t forget to stop into the Ghirardelli Ice Cream & Chocolate Shop and order up a sundae (we’re fans of the Ocean Beach Sea Salt Caramel Sundae and the mega-sized Earthquake) and grab a bag of signature minis to remember it all by. (This is why the halls of the Palace often smell of melting chocolate and waffle cones.)
Just for the Princes & Princesses
In addition to tea, every Saturday the hotel offers a History Tour at 2 p.m. It’s the perfect way to learn the amazing story of the hotel hiding around every corner. If you’re new to SF, stop by the concierge and have him whip up an around-town itinerary for you. The hotel’s location is literally steps from the vintage-MUNI line that takes you up and down Market Street and beyond to Fisherman’s Wharf. The nearby Children’s Creativity Museum and newly renovated SF MOMA are right at your fingertips, and you’ll even be within walking or MUNI-riding distance to catch a Giants game at the ballpark. All activities at the Palace require a reservation, but it’s easy enough to just stop at the concierge desk and let them know you are interested (or dial directly from your room).
The hotel is currently offering their Summer of Love package, which includes a one night stay in luxury accommodations and a welcome beverage for two in the Pied Piper. Rates for rooms start at $203 per night and suites at $403 per night. For reservations call 888-627-7196 and request rate code SUMMRLUV .
Have you experienced the Palace? What’s your favorite part?
—Amber Guetebier and Erin Feher
All images by Erin Feher unless otherwise noted.