Prior to the pandemic, I took a spontaneous trip to the Bay Area. I spent a day in Silicon Valley (which I shared with you), hung out with Mickey Mouse (which I also shared) and discovered a California landmark (ditto). I also spent a night in a historic hotel, but before I had a chance to tell you all about it Covid hit and it just didn’t seem like the time to be writing about traveling when the whole world was shut down. Luckily, things have improved quite a bit since then and I’m so happy to share about my complimentary night at The Clift Royal Sonesta Hotel.
Built in 1915, The Clift has a storied past. Named after its owner, Frederick Clift, it was built to accommodate visitors to the Panama-Pacific International Exposition and was even designed by the same architect behind the fair’s Palace of the Legion of Honor, George Applegarth. In the century since, the hotel has welcomed countless guests to its luxurious accommodations in the heart of Union Square. In 2018 the hotel was purchased by Sonesta, who then completed an extensive restoration of both the exterior and interior. It reopened to visitors in January of 2020 with an updated decor inspired by the hotel’s 100 year history.
I was lucky enough to be one of the first visitors after the hotel re-opened and from the start I knew I was in for a true treat. Like most hotels in San Francisco, The Clift offers valet only parking. I don’t love valet parking because I like to have easy access to my vehicle, but at The Clift it was a breeze with 24 hour service and unlimited in and out privileges. The check in process was also a breeze and soon I was in my Deluxe King Room.
Upon entering I was immediately struck by the decor. The hotel takes its heritage seriously and throughout my room were prints dedicated to the Panama-Pacific International Exposition. As a history nerd, I absolutely loved that and I felt right at home.
The room was almost 300 square feet, which is large in any hotel, but especially in San Francisco, a town known for its tight accommodations. Not only did I have an enormous bed, but I also had a chaise lounge, office area and a large bathroom. And those windows! I was on an upper floor and I was treated to beautiful views of the city. In fact, I happened to be staying during Chinese New Year and I was able to enjoy the parade from the comfort of my room.
After spending the day exploring I was famished so I headed downstairs to grab a bite. At the time of my visit there was only one dining option in the hotel (since then Frederick’s, a full service restaurant, has opened) but it was a pretty special one – the Redwood Room.
The Redwood Room is a San Francisco landmark that is filled with redwood paneling that is believed to come from just one redwood tree. Built in 1933, it’s an Art Deco masterpiece that comes complete with original Gustav Klimt works.
It’s honestly one of the most beautiful rooms I’ve ever been in and I was in awe during my entire visit. Primarily a bar and lounge, the Redwood Room does offer a limited menu and I enjoyed a most delicious hamburger. I also had two fantastic cocktails that, admittedly, left me a bit tipsy.
After a good night’s sleep it was time to leave The Clift Royal Sonesta Hotel and head back home. It was all too soon, in my opinion, and I left wanting to return as soon as possible. Little did I know what the future held, but now The Clift has re-opened and it’s even better than when I left it. Not only is Frederick’s open but there’s also a 1175 square foot private apartment available to book if you want to have a super luxurious stay. I think it’s time for me to book my return trip.