Living here in Northern California, one of the holiday rituals I look forward to is getting up to San Francisco to shop, see the Christmas windows and lights, and grab a great show or dinner. It’s a festive and fun time to be in the city. You can turn it into a little getaway for two, or a girl’s trip, or even a family weekend. Well, I now have the primo spot for such an escape, the Hotel Monaco! I got to join two wonderful blogess gals, Adrienne of The Rich Life on a Budget and Heather of StyleMindChic.
As Northern California bloggers from three different corners, we wanted to find a central spot to meet up and also create a holiday getaway that might inspire readers, and the Hotel Monaco generously sponsored our stay. We couldn’t have been more thrilled. Hotel Monaco is all that a boutique hotel should be. It’s quaint, charming and housed in a gorgeous, early 1900’s Beaux Arts building, which is pretty fabulous and lovingly restored.
It’s things like this marble staircase and it’s railing that wow you there.
The newly redone rooms are comfy and cozy, bright and pretty. I loved the chair and desk in my double room as well as large almost window seat to take in the city….
I felt spoiled even more with the sweet note they left to welcome me as well as wine and wonderful cheese plate with a key to the city! Now I always have a little souvenir from them…
My view…Gotta love a pretty sky.
The Hotel Monaco isn’t just a pretty face though. She has an amazing staff that is so good, I would venture to say it’s one of the best hotels I have ever stayed in. I’m serious. The folks here are like a big family. They looked out for us ladies in the city. I felt safe and taken care of!
After checking in we met up, shared some wonderful Veuve champagne courtesy of Adrienne, and we relaxed downstairs in the pretty main lobby. I love a good fireplace and a spot to chat, read or work. This room with it’s pretty fireplace and palm trees, seemed to have an old Hollywood vibe.
The ceilings are fabulous too…
Hotel Monaco’s other room houses their afternoon wine reception and a generous coffee bar in the morning. Lovely to sneak down and grab a fresh cup and favorite newspaper before the city is awake! In the afternoon a wine reception is laid out for guests – so nice after a day out exploring the city. The wines are chosen by a Kimpton sommelier and are “responsibly sourced.” Pretty cool. Hotel Monaco is all kinds of progressive and you can read more on their website.
Hotel Monaco is pet friendly, (they do petcations!) as well as welcoming to kids and babies. ( I love this on the website – “Traveling with kids? You have our sympathy.”)! Seriously though, they have red-carpet treatment for pets and kids of all ages. ( Okay I know they aren’t in the same category, but sometimes…) Check their site for the deets. Bikes, hula-hoops and goldfish in your room, all figure in the fun they offer.
When we finally tore ourselves away from the lovely Monaco, we made our way down to shopping nirvana, Union Square for some retail therapy. First stop was the Neiman-Marcus Rotunda for lunch and fantastic views overlooking the square…I think you can see they had the Christmas tree and ice rink up already.
Lunch here means champagne, popovers, and the daily fashion show that comes by your table. I ask you is this not the perfect old-school ladies who lunch spot? Very few of these places left.
The Rotunda is gorgeous. Look at this view below. Their huge holiday tree is coming soon.
After our lunch, we made our way downstairs to visit our gal beauty maven,Tiffany Johnson. Heather and I had some quick make-up tips from Tiffany and Adrienne had the Giorgio Armani rep, the dashing Fernando, do hers.
We all bought some gorgeous Armani colors and foundation. Tif sent us home with samples of some more Tom Ford fragrances…We couldn’t decide. I think we wanted them all!
We love Tiffany. She knows about everything on the beauty floor, and not just one brand. We also got stocked up on some Armani skincare, which I am enjoying, especially the Youth Serum! Did you know Neimans now has free shipping and returns now? That’s pretty sweet, so if you couldn’t get in to see our girl Tiffany personally, you could email or call her over the phone and she can ship it free of charge. Ms Tiffany knows her stuff, so should you be in the city, stop by and see her and Fernando.
Later that evening we walked a few blocks up and had dinner at Farallon, a San Francisco institution. The restaurant is named for the Farallon Islands, which sit off the coast of San Francisco and are a marine sanctuary. The restaurant is almost an undersea experience. As someone who has gone scuba diving under the bay, it’s pretty close!
Can you spot the kelp and jellyfish? Food and service were top notch here.
Back in our rooms, the bedding and bed was exceptional too. A really nice touch were the cute animal print robes provided. I loved my room! It was like a small sanctuary. In the morning I curled up with my pillows, coffee, fluffy zebra robe and NY Times -bed heaven! As a mom, who hits the ground running most days, it was a real treat.
Another very important piece of what makes Monaco such a perfect place is their Grand Cafe. Housed in the only ballroom still standing after the 1906 earthquake, this brasserie is warm and stylish. In the front is their charming and snug bar, which is ideal for a cocktail before heading out for a night on the town, or just a cozy nightcap!
This sculpture was in the brasserie, one of many unique pieces in the hotel!
The next morning, we had brunch there and what a treat. Even my ordinary order of oatmeal was lavished with browned butter, raisins on the vine, and pecans. We got to meet Chef Dirk and his assistant chef Lisa who were so welcoming. They are obviously very proud of their unique menu, and this gorgeous space!
Many locals eat at The Grand Cafe and that speaks volumes for a hotel restaurant! It’s full service with breakfast, lunch and dinner and they do the hotel’s room service menu too. They are one block away from the theatre district, so it’s an ideal pre-show dinner and drinks stop too.
Our favorite waiter, the charming Jose!
As if being there wasn’t fun enough, something marvelous happened on Friday. The whole city was gathered in Union Square to make one little boy’s wish come true. Bat kid, aka, Miles Scott, took the city by storm and everyone got into the act. A little boy who had been battling leukemia, he had a dream of being Batman. The Make a Wish Foundation and countless others made his wish of fighting evil in the city happen! If you missed this, Adrienne wrote more about it on her Skimbaco page.
All the employees of Hotel Monaco wore bat wings and got us even more excited to see it. Once we got down to Union Square, we couldn’t believe the crowds, signs and the cheering for this little guy. It was so moving, I couldn’t help crying. It reminded me of the inherent goodness in people. I think we felt lucky to experience such an inspiring event.
After all the excitement we did a bit more shopping. We hit Macy’s and all three of us bought some pretty blouses. We also had lunch at another darling cafe, and then we parted ways. We all had multi- hour drives ahead of us. Heather gave us both cute travel bags from her online StyleMindChic shop. I loved my bag and her pretty packaging too! Check out her lovely shop if you have not. She has a great eye for what is glam and some goodies that are perfect for holiday gifts!
It seemed like our girl’s trip was over way too fast. I really had fun with these funny, smart and kind women. It was great to see Adrienne again and get to know Heather better! I also feel lucky to have connected with them through blogging. It’s something I never expected when I began this journey and it has been the nicest part of all.
Thank you to the delightful Hotel Monaco, especially Nancy and Daniel and all their staff for making this getaway such a pleasure. I felt like royalty staying there and if you choose to visit you will understand what I mean. If you are near Union Square, stop by and have a look. It’s a wonderful time of the year to get to San Francisco and the hotel is in the best possible location for shopping, shows and restaurants. I loved it so much I am planning on taking my family back with me during Christmas break.
It’s a gem in the heart of the most loveliest of cities!
Disclosure: Kimpton sponsored our stay including our three individual rooms, breakfast and incidentals. All opinions of Kimpton’s Hotel Monaco and Grand Cafe are my own, as always.