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Newbie question for experts of SF

Marbella, Spain
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253 posts
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Newbie question for experts of SF

Hi there

We are flying to Vegas from London in Feb for 7 nights, I am wanting to do a surprise 2 day trip for my husband, have already changed our return flights and am wanting to know from you all where you would recommend a 2 night stay for us. I have never been to SF, only been to US twice and thats been Vegas! Would really welcome your thoughts on where to stay. I am prepared to spend up to 300$ per night as it will be a real suprise ( if I can keep it to myself until then!) and I want to make it special for him. Any thoughts on restaurants too greatly appreciated.

Thanks in advance

Loopy

Erie, Pennsylvania
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1. Re: Newbie question for experts of SF

Check out the Hotel Vitale. It's a great hotel with beauitful views

Marbella, Spain
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2. Re: Newbie question for experts of SF

Many thanks Liz, the Hotel Vitale looks absolutely beautiful. I am just about to reserve a room online right now.

Thanks again

Loopy

Easton, Pa.
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643 posts
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3. Re: Newbie question for experts of SF

Hi Loopyloo2,

I'm with drummerliz on the Hotel Vitale. We've stayed at Vitale 3 years running and wouldn't think of staying anywhere else.

Request a higher floor room ( 4-8th floor ) superior water view or panaramic suite and you'll be thanking us forever.

Be sure to visit the Ferry Building across the highway for some interesting and unique items.

Have a great time, you will wish you had a week here instead of 2 days.

Marbella, Spain
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253 posts
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4. Re: Newbie question for experts of SF

Hi 3champ

Many thanks for taking the time to post for me. I am certain my husband will love the hotel too, I have been on their website for about an hour and just looking around the rooms and the views, it looks fantastic.

If you have any restaurant recommendations too, they will be greatfully received :)

Thanks again

Loopy

Marbella, Spain
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253 posts
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5. Re: Newbie question for experts of SF

OK 3 champ I was feeling really happy, in a great mood & booked the panoramic suite! Wow, what have I done?! Oh well, I have until March to save up! The suite looks fabulous and I can not wait to surprise my husband with his extended holiday, he thinks he is coming home from Las Vegas on the 5th March!

Thanks

Loopy

Easton, Pa.
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643 posts
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6. Re: Newbie question for experts of SF

Hi Loopy,

Great !! You will really feel spoiled by the wonderful Vitale staff and accomodations.

Some of our favorite restaurants are within a 2-5 minute walk out the door of the Vitale.

" Boulevard " is directly across the street from the front doors of the Vitale. " The Slanted Door " is across the street in the Ferry Building .

A new restaurant we tried in October really impressed us. The Waterfront restaurant and Cafe is at Pier 7, about a 5 minute walk past the Ferry Building headed to the Wharf area. All 3 of these places have web-sites, check them out.

The one other recommendation I would offer is to take the guided city tour with San Francisco Shuttle tours. It's 5-1/2 hours long and will give you the best possible look at the cities major attractions with lots of opportunities for photos. You could not possibly cover all they do in 5-1/2 hours, especially since it's your first visit. They use smaller vehicles which allows them to get to spots the large tour buses can't. They offer a tour guide as well as a driver, something the large companies don't., and they offer free refreshments all during the tour. Check out their web-site for a complete itinerary of the tour. We take it every time we visit and never get tired of it. This tours starting point and meeting spot is right in front of the Ferry Building, across the street from the Vitale.

While I'm on a roll here let me throw in one other of our favorite things to do. Take a taxi from the Vitale to Coit Tower. Take the elevator to the top for some beautiful views of San Francisco.

After that , walk back down the Filbert Steps which are right at the base of the tower. These steps are one of the best kept secrets of San Francisco and offer some great panaromas of the town from up high on the hill. You may even get to see the wild parrots which inhabit this spot. Our taxi driver in October told us that he has lived here for 23 years and never seen the parrots. I was able to get 35 photos of them at arms length away half way down the steps about an hour later.

When you get to the bottom of the steps you will be in Levi ( jeans ) Square. Make a left turn and walk down to Fishermans Wharf. At Pier 41 grab some lunch at Boudins Bakery. I highly recommend the clam chowder in a sourdough bread bowl or the Cioppino ( seafood ) in a bread bowl.

I will guarantee you that after your visit you will wish you had taken some of those Las Vegas days and added them on to San Francisco. This city will captivate you !! It brings us back year after year .. Hope you have a wonderful stay.

Marbella, Spain
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253 posts
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7. Re: Newbie question for experts of SF

Many, many thanks 3champ for your wonderful suggestions, we shall definately be taking the tour and going to those lovely restaurants you suggested.

I know what you mean about not having much time there, but this was a sort of a spur of the moment decision and a surprise for my husband who has always wanted to visit SF but also loves LV like me too! I hope we will be back again in August when we have a longer holiday in the US.

Many thanks once again

Loopy

Easton, Pa.
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643 posts
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8. Re: Newbie question for experts of SF

Hi again Loopy,

If you want to send me an e-mail, I'll send you some great photo links I've prepared to wet your appetite for San Francisco. My address is a.clark@robertmckeown.com .

Good luck on those tables at Vegas.....

Zurich, Switzerland
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9. Re: Newbie question for experts of SF

Hi Loopy

Here's the scoop on SF. I lived there for 10 years (moved away in '05) and can give you the best ideas to spend your 2 nights. Your hotel is located on the Embarcadero opposite of the Ferry Building @ the end of Market St. The hotel is just about 2 years old and has a great view of the Bay Bridge @ night.

Restaurants: Defintely the Slanted Door (excellent Vietnamese food) and strongly, strongly suggest to make your reservation at least 2 months out or you'll never get a guaranteed seat! Back up restaurants would be Boulevard, Farallon, Aqua or Jardinere. If it's vegetarian you seek then try Green's @ Ft. Mason. (The Slanted Door and Boulevard are both across the street from your hotel). My hidden gem for a restaurant is Eric's Chinese (Noe Valley), which would be a great lunch suggestion. Leave the other restaurants for dinner.

Shopping: Leave the shopping for late in the evening when you can't advantage of the sites. The newly opened Westfield Center @ Market & Powell, Union Sq and The Shops @ The Embarcadero (close to your hotel).

You can do without the 5 1/2 bus tour. Be adventourous and walk, take public transportation or a cab ride ( to Golden Gate Bridge).

Transportation: If you don't mind public transportation then purchase a 1-day ($11) or 3-day ($18) passport which is good for the buses, street cars, underground, cable cars or the Weekly pass $15 (cable cars not included are an extra $1 per trip).

SF musts: From your hotel Take the F Line Street car to Fisherman's Wharf to catch the sea lions, visit the World Famous Ghiradelli Square Chocolate Factory (Ummm!), Ride the Cable Car, Golden Gate Bridge, Lombard Street (The Crookedest street in America), Chinatown, The Golden Gate Fortune Cookie Company (see how they are made and taste and take home samples).

Added feature: **Alcatraz: Time permiting ( & weather) Alcatraz is a must, but depending on the weather and time of year it can be difficult to see and enjoy this attraction. The cost is around $20 and you can stay on the island until the last ferry, but would suggest taking the earliest ferry over. Try to book this about 2 weeks out as it can really be hard to get tickets during the busy tourist season. Allow 2 to 3 hours. There is also a night tour which is interesting, but I would only take this tour if you run out of time for the day tour. (I was disappointed with the night tour as some of the items you see during the day were off limits even, though the night tour has some added features.

**If your hubby is a sports fan (specifically baseball), you can take public tours of the San Francisco Giants Baseball Park. The SF Giants will host the '07 Major League All Star Game in July and you can tell all your friends you've been inside the ballpark. A beautiful sports venue just blocks from your hotel. Daily tours @ 10:30 & 12:30 for about $10 and it last for just over an hour. It's a beautiful ball park, even though my allegience is with the cross town Oakland A's.

Caution: ***SF is a great city, but as with any city be careful and be aware of your surroundings. Market Street tends have a lot of homeless people hanging out, also stay away from Mission Street in general and Market Street near Civic Center as this area is well know for drug heads.

With this info you should be well prepared to tackle SF in your two nights. (FYI: Please pack a jacket as most nights in SF can be a bit on the chilly side). Have fun in Vegas and fall in love with San Francisco as I have.

Good Luck

Marbella, Spain
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253 posts
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10. Re: Newbie question for experts of SF

WOW formercaliboy & 3champ your suggestions are absolutely brilliant! So sorry I have not replied before :) I will definately be reading up on all your ideas and 3champ, I will send an email tomorrow, thanks.

Loopy