Hotel Monaco San Francisco Review - San Francisco's Best

Approaching Hotel Monaco San Francisco

The Hotel Monaco San Francisco IS San Francisco, the very best place to stay when visiting.  It is sophisticated, eclectic, old and modern, creative and original, fun, health conscious, green and user friendly.  It is in a perfect location and one of the city’s best restaurants, Grand Café, where we enjoyed a lovely lunch, is an integral part of the hotel. I can’t imagine how one could do better.

Grand Cafe

The Hotel Monaco San Francisco claims to “indulge your senses” and it does in every way.  Bright colors, varied patterns and textures, wall hangings, and objects inspired by travel as a theme are throughout the hotel. The effect is charming and creates a sense of “eclectic whimsy”.  Looking around in any direction, I felt a smile coming on.

During our stay, we found the elevator very user friendly.  When not in use, it was open and welcoming but if in use, it was quickly available when called.  Though subtle, it added a little more pleasure to the experience of being there.

Bedroom with a view

Entering our suite, I had a “knock your socks off” feeling.  It was large, busy in color and pattern with a bathroom that was simply amazing and with Aveda body-care products, no less.  The view was pure San Francisco. The closet contained slipper sox and pajamas for purchase and patterned robes for use and/or purchase. There were two large televisions and an in-room wellness and yoga program begun at Hotel Monaco San Francisco, which makes it easier than ever to maintain practices that keep you calm and serene when you're traveling.  I didn’t get to try this until almost time to leave but I liked it very much.  Since the Mind.Body.Spa/Yoga Channel was only available in the hotel, I  obtained a yoga kit to take home to remind me to continue my exercises. There was also a great music CD that we enjoyed, also available for purchase.

Bathroom with two person spa tub

The Hotel Monaco San Francisco accommodations include 201 guest rooms (king, queen or double beds) and 32 suites featuring deluxe bathrooms with two-person spa tubs.

From the window

Guest services include: two line speaker telephones with data port; voice mail and modem hook-up; concierge and business services; valet/laundry; valet parking; complimentary use of the fitness center/steam room/sauna and spa pool, fully stocked honor bar; complimentary morning newspaper and overnight shoeshine; business center availability on site; in-room CD and DVD player; cordless phone; WiFi capability throughout hotel; complimentary morning coffee, afternoon tea service and evening wine reception and chair massage.

Cesar's hand massage

We loved the wine reception each evening.  It was cold and rainy during our visit and guests would come in from the street enjoy a sparkling white wine or a Spanish red and warm by the living room fire, chatting, and sometimes ordering in food from the Grand Café.  One evening Cesar, from “ Relax Rejuvenate on location spa services” was offering massages and my husband enjoyed having his tense hands relaxed with a massage.  Massage service is available on request either in the gym or in one’s room.

Spa Pool

Fitness Center

The hotel is child friendly.  We saw cribs being set up and children gaping at the beautiful Christmas tree in the lobby, it was so lovely.  It is also pet friendly and will soon have a dog greeting guests.

Business Center with capacity for MAC and PC

Special packages can be arranged in conjunction with meetings that focus on some of the following; Imagination, Inspiration, Elements of Wellness, Fun Worship, Earth Care and Degrees of Discovery.

Concierge, Michael R. Reid and Director of Guest Services, Greg Pinetti

On our arrival, we were greeted by Director of Guest Services, Greg Pinetti and Concierge, Michael R. Reid who were efficient, friendly and very helpful.  This was true for all staff members we encountered.  Kimpton claims that “every hotel tells a story” and these kind gentlemen helped me to discover the story of this hotel.   My husband first experienced a Kimpton hotel, the Hotel Vintage Park, at a meeting in Seattle several years ago and still talks about the wine tasting each evening. I learned about the Hotel Monaco Chicago, a few months ago, when a Chicago Splash Magazine journalist reviewed it.  But when we arranged our stay at the Hotel Monaco San Francisco, I had no idea we would be staying in Kimpton’s flagship hotel, the place where Kimpton Hotels began.

The old fireplace

Built in 1908, the year following the big earthquake as the Bellevue Hotel, it was concrete and fireproof.  Old menus from the restaurant list complete dinners for $1.50.  One of its’ positive assets at the time was the location, two blocks from Union Square and near streetcar lines and that, “Taxicabs are in constant attendance and the hotel bus meets all trains.”  Now it is near more places;  one block from A.C.T. and Curran Theatres, two blocks from cable car line, walking distance to the financial district and the city’s retail, dining and theatre district and  wonderful art galleries.  

The Tree of Life sits at the bottom of the original marble staircase

In 1995, the property having been unoccupied since 1985, it opened as Hotel Monaco San Francisco,  Kimptons’ first.  Kimpton hotels can currently be found across the country and in Canada, in 19 locations.  Sadly, Bill Kimpton, “left our physical world” March 29, 2001 and a “Tree of Life” dedicated to his memory graces the lobby.  One of the stories it tells is of a young dyslexic boy who struggled to become a man with the original vision that led to his hotel chain.

Ducke, our goldfish

Returning to our room after dinner in a great Mediterranean restaurant half a block from the hotel, we found a pet waiting for us.  It was Ducke, our goldfish.  Ducke was so captivating; it even distracted us from the TV and created a calming, peaceful atmosphere.  This was a charming, fanciful touch to our visit.  We can hardly wait to return and to further explore Kimpton Hotels.

Hotel Monaco San Francisco
501 Geary Street
San Francisco, CA 94012
PH: 415.292.0100, Fax 415.292.0111

Relax Rejuvenate on location spa services

Photos: Leon Keer

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