It’s nearly a century old, but Clift Hotel in downtown San Francisco is edgier than ever with its distinctly modern energy and design.
This hip boutique hotel by the bay is located steps from Union Square and the Financial District, and not too far from Fisherman’s Wharf, Embarcadero, and the Golden Gate Bridge.
Whenever a trip to San Fran calls, I absolutely love to stay at Clift.
From the moment you enter its lobby there’s an inspired fusion of old-world hotel glamour – it’s daring sense of diversity perfectly captures the spirit of San Francisco, while maintaining its essence as a luxury hotel.
Designed by Philippe Starck, Clift features a soaring lobby with one of the most eclectic furniture collections in all of California.
As you wander around you’ll find chairs from Ray and Charles Eames, a coffee table by Salvador Dali, and a surreal stool by Roberto Matta (inspired by René Margritte).
Near the check-in desk is the entrance to the legendary Redwood Room bar that’s comes to life every night.
It’s paneled with the wood of a single Redwood tree, is accented with digital art and the buzz of an elite San Francisco crowd.
This famous and historic room has been restored and reinvented as an exceptionally elegant and modern San Francisco bar.
Suffused with all-out glamour, the interior features an enormous etched glass bar and the original redwood paneling, which, legend has, was carved from a single redwood tree, as well as Starck-designed lounge furniture and an ever-changing array of digital artwork displayed on plasma television screens hung throughout the room.
Snack on gourmet bites while sipping on delicious cocktails and enjoying curated music provided by well-known native DJs along with world-class talent Thursday through Saturday nights.
Also located just off the main lobby and evoking the spirit of a drawing room is the Living Room, which is the perfect spot to read, relax or people-watch in the lobby beyond.
Furnished with large comfortable velvet sofas, leather wing chairs and classic library lamps, the gallery of formal black and white photographic “portraits” of plastic toy animals by renowned French artist Jean-Baptiste Mondino adds a modern twist and a bit of humor.
Also on located off the main lobby is the Velvet Room, a multi-purpose venue for eating, drinking, and special events.
Designed to compliment the legendary Redwood Room, Velvet Room is a unique venue for corporate meetings and select nightlife events, while offers breakfast daily.
This room is for guests who simply want to relax, read or people watch can find the comforts of an old English club.
To support the hotel’s vision of using high quality ingredients to drive the preparation and flavors of the menus at Clift, Executive Chef Thomas Weibull has partnered with local farmers and growers to produce a menu for Velvet Room that features locally grown, sustainable and organic ingredients.
The elegant and dramatic room, complemented by lush velvet curtains, mahogany and leather banquettes and hand blown Murano glass lamps hosts an eclectic roster of events created by Morgans Hotel Group’s dynamic nightlife and entertainment team.
Want to stay in shape during your stay? Located on the second floor and filled with natural light, the fitness center at Clift is open 24 hours a day and features state-of-the-art fitness equipment.
Accessible via guest room key, Clift guests also have access to a full service fitness club, including pool, for $25 per day just two blocks away.
Complimentary bicycles are also available at Clift for guest use on a first come, first served basis. Just ask at concierge.
One of the most magical places in the hotel is the Spanish Suite, but it’s off limits to the general public.
Formerly the private home of the late Frederick Clift, the hotel’s original owner in 1913, Spanish Suite now serves as an elegant private function room, with over 2,300 square feet of space, including two terraces with stunning views of San Francisco.
Many period details remain, including rich wood-paneled walls, two enormous crystal chandeliers and a wood-burning fireplace.
The classically chic custom furnishings, rich velvet drapes, lushly landscaped terraces and panoramic city views make Spanish Suite at Clift the ideal alternative to the typical conference room.
It’s also perfect for a wide variety of private functions including weddings, meetings and special events.
Whenever I stay at the Clift Hotel, I opt for the very reasonably priced suites.
A haven of luxury, the suites offer high ceilings, a formal dining room, beautifully crafted and detailed furniture designed by Philippe Starck and made of English sycamore, silk, leather, velvet, chrome and Venetian Murano glass.
Each has a sumptuous over-sized bathroom with dressing area and MALIN+GOETZ bath amenities.
True to the luxury boutique hotel experience, all rooms at Clift feature a state-of-the-art entertainment center, fine linens a state-of-the-art entertainment center and wireless access.
Outfitted in tranquil and warm shades of ivory, grey and lavender, this serene space’s sensual softness is a welcome counterpoint to the hustle and bustle of urban life.
When it comes to using green practice, Clift Hotel is very diligent and has been awarded the TripAdvisor GreenLeader Silver level as a direct result of the Clift Cares program.
As part of its sustainability efforts, the program is curated by a Green committee dedicated to reducing the hotel’s carbon footprint.
One successful initiative is its Stay Green program where guests can opt out of housekeeping service for a food and beverage credit.
Another hidden gem of the hotel is Urban Bee Sanctuary & Cocktail Herb Garden.
In 2015, Clift Hotel welcomed 10 queens and 100,000 bees to their new rooftop “suites.”
Local bee keeper Roger Garrison positioned the box hives to mimic the city grid below, in representation of the tiny SF metropolis of miniature sky scrapers, with the gold dome of City Hall peeking out from behind the hives.
Today, the CLIFT honey bee population has reached 200,000 and annual production of up to 15 pounds per hive of delicious, local honey.
Harvested honey is also being used creatively by Clift Hotel Executive Chef, Thomas Weibull.
He’s added the bounty to innovative dishes in the hotel’s iconic Redwood Room, and Head Mixologist Tony Kim has incorporated the honey into two signature cocktails.
Clift Hotel is located at 495 Geary Street, San Francisco, CA 94102.
For more information on Clift Hotel, visit www.morganshotelgroup.com/originals/originals-clift-san-francisco.