Last week, I flew up to the Bay area for a business trip. I had received a scholarship to take part in an Emerging Professionals Leadership Program and Summit so my flight, hotel and registration was all taken care of and so were most of my meals. I got to stay at the newly renovated Hyatt Regency near SFO in Burlingame. I enjoyed my stay at this hotel, the staff were very courteous, everything was clean and the beds were extremely comfortable. While I was in the area I had dinner with a friend who lives in San Bruno. She took me Nueve, which was a casual Mexican restaurant. It was nice getting visit with a friend who moved to the Bay area a few years ago.
The weather wasn’t being cooperative the days I was at my conference so I didn’t mind much that I had to be indoors all day attending sessions. I had extended my trip to give myself a few extra days to enjoy San Francisco with a friend who was flying in to meet me. After my program ended on Friday, I checked out of the Hyatt Regency SFO and took a Lyft ride in the pouring rain into the City to check into the Grand Hyatt near Union Square. Although I am a Hyatt rewards card member, it was by pure chance that I ended up staying at two Hyatt brand hotels during this trip since the first hotel was paid for by the scholarship. My favorite part of the trip was the half hour I spent in the Grand Hyatt’s lobby waiting for my friend to arrive so we can check-in together. It was such a warm and relaxing space near a fire place with the cool rainy weather outside. It gave me some time to myself which I used to catch up with reading all your blog posts 🙂 and it was heartwarming to see 2 bloggers I follow were also sharing posts about their recent trips to SF.
The room we checked into was perfect. We had a beautiful city view with peek a boo bay views. Looking out from our room window, we noticed the weather had begun to clear and the sun was peeking out. We decided to go out and grab a late lunch and begin our explorations. We walked over to 398 Brasserie which was the perfect spot for us. We both loved our food choices and our beverages. Next, we took another Lyft ride down to the Embarcadero to the Exploratorium. I’ll admit. I was very apprehensive about this because it had been a rainy day and I was sure there were going to be a lot of children there. My wish was to visit the Exploratorium during the “After Dark” program where the museum opens after hours for adults only with libations. In the end we had a great time and even interacted with some kids and a few made us laugh too. If you’re ever in SF and visit the Exploratorium, try the cold brew coffee in their cafe. It really was the best cold brew I’ve had in a while. I enjoyed sipping on that while we walked down to the Ferry Building enjoying breathtaking views of the Bay Bridge, Coit tower and the Trans America building. After a quick stroll through the Ferry Building we returned to our hotel to prepare for dinner.
We decided to go to Cockscomb in SoMa for dinner. We had an off putting interaction with the young hostess which made me really want to dislike this place. However, our waitress was excellent and our food delicious so I adjusted my attitude and decided not to let one run in with a negative sourpuss ruin our evening. After our meal we hopped over to The View which I think will be the one place I recommend to anyone who ever visits San Francisco. The views of the city from up here are the best I’ve seen. It’s located on the top floor of the Marriott Marquis. This has got to be one of the largest hotels in SF. Not only was the lobby bustling, but so was The View lounge. Perhaps the key is to get there early. We got there around 9pm on a Saturday night. After a quick lap around we found seats and got to enjoy the views, but l would like to return during daylight savings when the sun sets around 5pm and enjoy the sunset views. Our next stop was the Starlight Room to see what the views were like from up there, but after you’ve seen what The View has to offer the look and feel and views from the Starlight Room were a tad underwhelming.
On Saturday morning, we walked over to The Pineapple Bistro inside The Alise for breakfast. I love all things Pineapple so this was a no brainer. I loved the look and feel of the lobby of the Alise with its gold undertones. The food and pineapple themes cocktails we had were outstanding and our server was so friendly I wanted to befriend her and hang out with her all day. This hotel and the Pineapple hospitality group officially won my heart. Just take a look at some parts of their philosophy. I’ve underlined all the things I love.
We’re unscripted, unassuming, and are under the impression that saying please and thank you the good old fashioned way isn’t a novel idea.
Corporate and stuffy have no place here. Unique and real do.
And where others are continental breakfast. WE’RE CUPCAKES AND POPCORN.
They’re literally about cupcakes! Guests are offered pineapple cupcakes and coffee daily. Um.. sign me up! They pride themselves on their oversized towels, which I appreciate since the ones I’ve come across lately at hotels resemble table runners and aren’t big enough to wrap around myself. They offer fuzzy slippers that you get to take home which my husband would love! They have complimentary water, valet parking, umbrellas, earth friendly housekeeping and a smoke free environment. As if all this wasn’t enough to earn my business, they’re pet friendly and offer complimentary bicycles to ride around town!
Our next stop was the Conservatory of Flowers in Golden Gate park. Once we stepped inside I remembered that we had been there before, however after going to the butterfly section I told my friend that this was the best $8 I had spent all weekend. I could have stayed in that butterfly room all day watching the butterflies doing their thing. I told 2 of the young employees that were tending to the needs of the butterflies that they have one of the best jobs in the world. Our following activity was a walk through the park until we got tired and caught a ride down to the Warming Hut in the Presidio where we grabbed warming beverages and enjoyed the spectacular views of the Golden Gate Bridge. It was almost hard to believe that 24 hours it had been raining like crazy. The weather was so crisp that although our feet hurt we took a long walk towards the Palace of the Fine arts while enjoying views of Alcatraz, the city skyline and all the sail boats that were out in the water.
After the meandering walk, we had an extended lunch in the Mission at Foreign Cinema. Again, we didn’t know what to expect but the service and food impressed us. After being out an about and walking so much I needed to get myself back to the hotel to shower and rest before our evening activities so I did that while my friend went out for some coffee/shopping. That night we were in the mood for a steak dinner with a view so after a quick Yelp consult we were off to Leatherneck Steakhouse and Lounge located on the top floor of the Marine’s Memorial Club . The Marine’s Memorial Club is really worth a mention. It’s a hotel, a club, a theater, a foundation, a venue, a living memorial, a throwback to servicemen and wars that were. It really was an odd yet unique place. We shared an elevator with a large group of senior citizens all heading to the second floor theater and our way out I spotted a poster announcing that in April Vicente Fox the former President of Mexico would be speaking at the Marine’s Memorial Club. How awesome is that? The steakhouse itself was superb and the views were better than those at the Starlight Room. I wonder if many people know about this little gem?!?! Being in the theater district naturally our next stop was the Library Bar at The Rex where right after we grabbed drinks from the bar and took our seats, a cabaret show let out and the crowd that filled the bar was pure people watching GOLD.
As always, I enjoyed my time in the Bay area immensely and wished I had a couple more days to enjoy the sights and sounds of San Francisco and the surrounding cities, but alas… until next time City by the Bay…..