San Francisco is a beautifully vibrant and diverse city that has its own rules and sets its own standards. It’s known mostly for its boutique hotels and we found that luxury hotels seemed to be scarce – fortunately there is The Clift. Designed by Philippe Starck and Ian Schrader, it’s immediately alluring with an artsy furniture collection in the lobby; a giant chair which is predictably popular with guests (us included), a wonderful fireplace (quite possibly our personal favourite and the centrepiece standing high at thirty-five-foot with a Bronze chimney sculpture by Gerard Garouste) and a coffee table by Salvador Dali amongst other whimsical and fantastical furnishings that create a dream-like composition.
The famous and historic Redwood Room also does not disappoint. The interior features the original redwood paneling and an enormous, etched-glass bar. The lounge furniture is again designed by Starck, giving this bar an elegant and modern touch. The hipster vibe here is chilled like the city itself and offers great music and drinks at a very reasonable price for this type of hotel/bar.
Many hotels and restaurants in San Francisco grow their own herbs, but few, if any, have a dedicated “cocktail herb garden” like The Clift’s. Located in the hotel courtyard on the second floor, a garden has been curated of all-organic herbs and citrus trees with cocktails and mixology in mind. As part of their commitment to sustainability, no fertilisers or pesticides are permitted. The plants are cared for regularly by Clift Director of Food & Beverage Nijad Fares and Chef Thomas. Clift mixologist Tony Kim and his team at Redwood Room have already begun to infuse local spirits such as No. 209 Gin with home grown herbs, flowers, lemons and limes. The organic herbs will also be incorporated into select menu items by Chef Thomas… Watch this Space!
In addition, in 2015 Clift welcomed ten 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 800,000 and annual production of up to 70 pounds per hive of delicious, local honey is expected by Summer 2016. Harvested honey will be used creatively by Clift’s Executive Chef, Thomas Weibull. He’ll add the bounty to menu items in the Redwood Room, to room service dishes, and to the breakfast menu and banquets. Some honey will be packaged as gifts. Some will be donated to local medical centers in need of local honey. At Clift, it’s all about the circle of life…
The staff at The Clift are extremely friendly. Karl Lopez the Events Manager gave us a tour of the hotel, showing us other parts of the hotel we’d otherwise miss like the beautiful staircase on the 16th floor (referred to by hotel employees as the “Ballroom Staircase” – Clift used to have a ballroom on the 16th and 17th floors – this staircase connected the two floors of the ballroom) which would make for the perfect wedding pics or a fabulous backdrop for fashion shoots. Also, the old staircases that you can look down to from the 15th floor are impressive. In addition, he filled us in on what the city’s best offerings and gave us his local insight which we were extremely grateful for – after all locals know best!
We had an amazing time at this sophisticated luxury retreat and were lucky to be treated to an upgrade to a deluxe suite which was a pleasant surprise. The room is bigger than most one bedroom apartments and the decor top notch – just how we’d style if it was our apartment. After walking up and down the hilly city it’s the perfect place to unwind and while away a few hours as you plan your next adventure, munching on some of the delicious mini bar treats or sipping on a nice glass of champagne.
The Clift is one of the finest offerings from the Morgans Hotel Group, perfectly situated, 6-minutes walk from Union Square (perfect for shopping) and 4 minutes from a Muni Metro station. The hotel has so many beautiful and quirky elements that provide for great photo moments. We’re returning with fond memories and are already planning a trip back – we can’t wait to go back… save us OUR suite please!!