The Huntington is on Nob Hill, around the corner from the celebrated Fairmont, up the street from the Intercontinental with Top of the Mark, and not far from the Ritz. Given its illustrious neighbors, it might be easy to overlook this hotel. Don't! I'd wager that it's nicer than both the Fairmont and the Intercontinental, and will cost less of your inheritance than the Ritz. Nob Hill itself is not the epicenter of activity that Union Square is, nor is it off in the Marina/Fisherman's Wharf hinterlands. It's central, with two cable cars line running by the hotel, but not dead in the middle of all the noise and chaos either. I like that.
Having stayed in a number of SF hotels, I can say that the rooms here are (comparatively) large. They are all appointed differently (the surly man at the desk informed me), and while I was hoping for a more colorful one, my understated, neutral toned room was quite nice. The bed was very comfy, and the bathroom nicely appointed, including L'Occitaine bath products. The flat screen TV was perfectly adequate, although it seemed oddly small, marooned in the midst of the blank wall where it was mounted. The closet was giant; I wish I had one of that walk-in size in my own apartment!
The best thing about the room, though, was my excellent view of Grace Cathedral, which I could look at while reading in the chairs by my window (which opened! Love hotels where the windows actually open.). Interestingly, when I checked in, the desk person tried to "upsell" me, saying that for $50 more, I could get a better view, and for $100 more, the best view of all from the highest floors. First of all, that's a tacky practice, quite at odds from the image the hotel is trying to project. Second, it's insulting. If I didn't pay enough for the room, charge me more before I book it, not once I arrive. Finally, and ironically, I had a perfectly great view anyway, even at the pauper's low price that I paid. (And it wasn't that low, trust me.) I have no doubt that the city view from the upper floors was considerably more spectacular -- hope it was worth the $100 to those who paid it. As a tip, you can get the same view for the much more modest price of a drink by going up the street to the Intercontinental's Top of the Mark.
The desk staff weren't a strong point here, nor was the Concierge, but the bell staff were quite nice. One night I ate dinner one night at the attached restaurant, the Big 4. The place is all dark wood, live piano and dim lights, redolent of fat rich robber barons in bespoke suits sipping scotch and puffing cigars. This being 2010 in SF, there were nonesuch in evidence, but the place definitely gives off that vibe. If you happen to be in the mood for that, the food is quite good (chicken pot pie!), although the wines-by-the-glass list is fairly limited. Finally, I didn't go to the spa, or the pool and outdoor deck, but it looked lovely.
Overall, this place is not exactly young and hip -- if you want that, go to the W. However, if you want understated refinement and elegance (with nice views even if you don't pay for them) the Huntington is for you. I would definitely stay here again.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Designed to spark the imagination and provide an adventure for the senses, the much beloved and newly renovated Huntington Hotel re-emerges in May 2014 from a $15 million renovation as The Scarlet Huntington. The Scarlet Huntington builds upon the property's original charm, graciousness and exceptionally high standards while introducing locals and visitors to a unique and avant-garde style that is influenced by a vibrant Singapore Peranakan heritage woven together with the opulence of San Francisco. More than just a name, The Scarlet possesses a distinguished charm and charismatic aura, likened to a gracious hostess who indulges guests with a luxurious stay experience. Providing a warm ad familiar welcome, the iconic red of the former Huntington Hotel's exterior - as displayed in the brick facade and illuminated sign high atop the hotel - will permeate the new aesthetic, representing the hotel's heritage while embracing the passion and allure defined by The Scarlet; offering uninhibited luxury to every guest. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- The Huntington Hotel & Nob Hill San Francisco
- The Huntington Hotel And Nob Hill Spa