Mandarin Oriental, San Francisco – Jul 2013

Mandarin Oriental, San Francisco – Jul 2013

We have had the pleasure of staying at this Mandarin Oriental property numerous times over the past four years, with our first visit being in November 2010. We have been consistently impressed with every aspect of this hotel, from the doormen who recognise you by name, to the sublime and awe inspiring views.

Our last vacation took us back to the Mandarin Oriental San Francisco in July 2013, where we stayed for five nights at the end of an all too brief two week trip that took us from the Big Sur to San Francisco. It is such a pleasure arriving at a hotel where the first words that you are greeted with are ‘Welcome back Mr Murray’ from Eduardo, one of the hotels exceptional doormen. It is these first impressions that leave a lasting mark, and exemplify the professionalism of all the staff employed in this property.

The hotel is situated in the financial district of the city, on the corner of Sansome and Pine, where it forms part of 345 California Centre. This is arguably the hotels biggest selling point, as all the accommodations are located on the top ten floors of the building, allowing guests to experience views that other hotels in the city can only dream of. Depending on which side of the building you are on and the grade of accommodation you select, you will either be presented with sweeping views of the city, or a panoramic bay view that takes in the Bay, Golden Gate Bridge and everything in between. It is important to note that not all the rooms provide views of the Golden Gate or Bay bridge, with a general rule that the higher the price point, then the better and more encompassing the view.

One of the many things we love about this property is the warmth and friendliness of the staff, who all seem to go beyond the expected professionalism of the Mandarin Oriental brand. The front desk staff have always been exemplary in our dealings with them, often anticipating our requests before we have made them, as have the staff working in S&P- the hotels on site restaurant. It is this attention to detail that really makes the staff shine in terms the service they provide. The concierge team deserve a special mention here, going above and beyond to make their guests stays as effortless as possible; whether that be by arranging our suite to be decorated for a stay over Christmas, to finding a late notice restaurant to celebrate our anniversary, or locating a high performance Porsche for our trip up to Napa on a whim. We have never found them to be anything but warm, courteous and passionate about what they do, making us feel unique among the panoply of guests the hotel sees on a daily basis. In particular I would like to highlight Michael Thorburn, Marianne Wong and Calvin Lam as outstanding members of the team.

The hotel underwent a remodel in 2011/2012 as part of its 25th year anniversary, and as part of that re-development they have installed a fitness room and Spa, both of which are welcome additions to the property. The fitness centre is located on the 4th floor, so it misses out on the views of the guestrooms, but nevertheless provides an interesting view of Sansome Street and the old West Coast Stock Exchange building (which is now an Equinox Gym). In terms of equipment, they have invested in some high end Technogym machines, however – and this is just preference based on my training – the free weights could do being heavier. Other than that little niggle, the fitness centre is very well designed, with cooled towels and water available, alongside fresh fruit and nuts for a quick energy boost.

The Spa at the Mandarin Oriental is a fantastic facility, a real haven of tranquillity away from the city. The range of treatments they offer are all designed to take a holistic approach to wellbeing, and centre on traditional eastern methods combined with aromatherapy and herbal influences. There are a range of packages available for all price points, and the staff are more than wiling to tailor sessions to your individual requirements. During my last visit I had a deep tissue massage that was probably one of the best I have experienced, followed by a relaxing session in one of the Japanese steam rooms they have available.

Philip and I have always stayed in one the of properties Dynasty Suites, which are located on the higher floors of the building and give sweeping views of the entire San Francisco bay – which was ideal for watching the Americas Cup yachts practising during our stay. The Dynasty suites are approx. 900 sq ft, with two bathrooms and a single large bedroom that connects to a living area. The furnishings and materials used in the suites are high end, as are the amenities provided in the bathrooms. The suites living areas are large enough to relax in, with plenty of space for work should you require time to do so. Internet access is not free, but is reasonably priced.

In terms of clientele, it is very much a business orientated property; being that it is not located in the typical ‘tourist’ area of the city, however it is a short walk from the Embarcadero and numerous Muni stops should you need to get anywhere. There is also the house-car that will take you anywhere within a five mile radius of the hotel for free, which is great for visiting many of the cities excellent restaurants.

Overall this is an excellent property, which lives up to the highest standards of the Mandarin Oriental brand, whilst retaining a very personable approach from its staff that makes it particularly unique.

For reference, the cost of our stay, including 5 nights in a Dynasty Suite, transport and other sundry expenses, was $8900.

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