Elegantly chic: The Huntington Hotel and Nob Hill Spa

The Huntington Hotel and Nob Hill Spa is a stylish and elegant hotel with a spectacular day spa. Photo: The cable car goes right by the Huntington Hotel Photo by Alison Reynolds

SAN FRANCISCO, July 27, 3024 — The Huntington Hotel and Nob Hill Spa is an elegant retreat oozing with class and refinement, beautifully located at the very top of Nob Hill.

It’s the kind of place that people in the know will stay at when they want the concierge services of a boutique luxury establishment with the luxury of a spectacular day spa. A member of Small Luxury Hotels of the World and rated one of the 10 Most Romantic Hotels in San Francisco by Gayot, The Huntington Hotel transports its guests to the San Francisco of their gilded dreams with a sense of exclusivity and precise attention to detail.

Built in 1924 as luxury apartments and transformed into the Huntington in 1947, its 96 guest rooms and 40 suites are all individually furnished, frequently with antiques. The 11th floor Junior Suite is especially beautiful and spacious, with a gleaming art deco feel to the finely crafted furniture, sumptuous linens on a king size bed, and a glorious view across the San Francisco skyline. Nob Hill is the center of where the railroad barons built their mansions, and the Huntington has long been the discreet hotel of choice at the center of Nob Hill.

Just across the street is the towering Grace Cathedral and the lovely open spaces of Huntington Park. Next to the park is the impossibly beautiful Pacific-Union Club, a private club located in one of the last remaining mansions from the glory era to survive the San Francisco earthquake in 1906. Cable cars run right in front of the hotel down California Street, leading to Union Square around the corner, down the hill to Chinatown or back over to Fisherman’s Wharf.

The lobby is a design element of understated luxury, comfortable and welcoming without the hustle and frenetic crowding of other Nob Hill establishments. Personalized concierge services and an old school sensibility about guest relations create an environment of ease and crisp familiarity. A big part of the all-inclusive charm that distinguishes the Huntington Hotel is the adjacent Nob Hill Spa.

The Nob Hill Spa occupies an entire wing of the lower floors of the Huntington, in an otherworldly 11000 square foot, high ceilinged environment that takes the day spa experience to new heights of pampered indulgence. Floor to ceiling windows reach twenty feet high, giving way to a sun deck looking down from the heights onto Union Square.  A gleaming lap pool extends across the open room.

Into this den of relaxation come groups of women sharing a spa day of facials, massages, and leisurely poolside lunches with their friends. Try a romantic couple’s massage and relax afterward on the deck on in the hot tub. Sit back in the soothing Japanese themed Zen rooms or simply indulge an afternoon of leisure in what is truly a one of a kind luxury spa environment.

Hotel guests have a separate entrance to the Nob Hill Spa through a basement walkway, and can be frequently found in the elevators in their bathrobes on their way to or from a spa experience. Locker areas include sauna and steam chambers, and the staff is impeccable. The symbiosis between hotel and spa has the feel of a secret garden getaway where men and women can indulge their senses in the privacy of a masterful setting.

Just off the lobby of the hotel is the very stylish Big 4 restaurant and lounge, named for the railroad barons of the 19th century, and featuring live piano music nightly. A beautiful room, richly appointed with emerald green leather banquets and lots of polished dark woods, the Big 4 feels as if you have walked into another century. A full length portrait of Walter Pidgeon hangs in the bar.

Executive Chef Gloria Ciccarone-Nehls has created a full throttled contemporary American culinary hideaway specializing in wild game and seafood. The pan-seared wild boar chop is a standout dish, and the seafood risotto is an outstanding blend of lobster, mussels and truly giant prawns in a saffron sauce.

The bar is a lively crowd as the tuxedoed pianist plays the classics, Sinatra, Torme and Bennett. Big 4 takes the old world class of the opulent 1890’s railroad barons, mixes it with a 1950s retro chic piano bar, and tops it off with a fabulous menu of creative delights.

Just around the corner from the Huntington Hotel is Union Square, with its wonderful shopping and historic park. On Geary Street be sure to stop at the San Francisco Art Exchange for a look at the photography exhibits from the 60’s and 70’s of some of rocks musical legacies. Photos from Jim Marshall, Henry Diltz and numerous other giants of rock photography fill its walls as well as wonderful original art from Ron Wood of the Rolling Stones.

Room rates range from $380 - $580 a night, with one bedroom suites starting at $675 a night.

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Joel Berliner

Joel Berliner is a travel writer based in Los Angeles who has written for The Washington Times, Dallas Morning News, New York Newsday, Chicago Tribune, Honolulu Advertiser, El Paso Times, and the Minneapolis Star Tribune, among many other publications.  He is excited to be back where his travel writing career began, at The Washington Times, where along with his wife, photographer extraordinaire Alison Reynolds, they will travel the globe in order to bring you The Good Life.

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