We hadn’t visited the Bay Area in almost five years and had a hankering for some great food and had a yen to visit some friends who live in San Francisco and Berkeley. Two of my good foodie friends, cookbook author Diane Worthington and former editor of Bon Appétit Magazine recommended we stay at the HOTEL VITALE AT 8 Mission Street http://www.hotelvitale.com/, in the Embarcadero. My best friend Betsy Castenir, also stayed there on business, and adored the location and the amenities of this wonderful hotel so we booked a room for the first weekend in April.
It is good to listen to wise friends because the Hotel Vitale is now our favorite place to stay in San Francisco! First of all, location, location, location! You just can’t get a better view of the new Bay Bridge and the water than from this hotel. We were on the fifth floor and watched morning, noon, and night at the bright sunlight on the water finishing off with the twinkling lights of the bridge at night. The revitalized Embarcadero Waterfront is convenient to the Financial District, Union Square, Chinatown, and even Oakland, which is a hop across the Bay Bridge. The BEST part of this location is having the Ferry Building Marketplace directly across the street. If you are in San Francisco on a Saturday morning, the Ferry Plaza Farmers’ Market is a particular pleasure. I have never seen so many mushrooms, pears, fruits, veggies, nuts, coffees, teas, and other wonderful artisanal products displayed so abundantly. This market is also open on Tuesday and Thursday in a smaller capacity. Don’t miss a walk up the Embarcadero and be sure to take in the water views and the sculptures along the way.

We arrived at the hotel on a Thursday, and were greeted pleasantly by the front desk. Our room had the most beautiful view of the water and we noticed the attention to detail in each room that makes this hotel stand out among the others. The elevators are speedy and always seem to be available. The amenities in the bathroom were by Fresh and they were divine and subtly lemon scented. The shower is a stall with a bench glassed in and easy to use. There is a magnifying mirror between the two sinks and lots of space to put all your toiletries. I love having a bench there too where I can sit and apply makeup or dry my hair.

The robes are sheer heaven, soft and comfy but the slippers are the best. One is whimsically embroidered with the word “slow” and the other with the word “down.” I love the environmental concerns of the Hotel Vitale. They are conscious of recycling, not using lots of paper, and reusing the linens by choice. There is a note by the bed that states: “to conserve water, bed linens are changed upon request.” I loved the iron and ironing board right in the room. We chose extra pillows from the “pillow library.”

We had complimentary hi-speed-internet access and when we had to print out boarding passes, we went to the business center and accessed our flights on-line and printed out our documents. There were copies of the New York Times, San Francisco Chronicle, and Wall Street Journal lain out by the elevators on each floor. There is a pot of coffee and tea for all guests in the lobby in the mornings.

The Fitness Room on the second floor is open 24/7 with Precor and Paramount equipment, recumbent bike, elliptical trainer, treadmill and free weights. Spa Vitale on the penthouse floor offers a variety of massages including wellness, aromatherapy, herbal infusions, reflexology, and even one for couples. Body treatments include revitalizing back scrubs, energizing foot refreshers, enzymatic body exfoliation, and a variety of facials.

For business travelers there is lots of indoor and outdoor meeting and event space with water view terraces. The food is catered through the Americano Restaurant and Bar headed by executive chef Kory Stewart who has been at the Americano since 2007. His hand-crafted menu celebrates bold Italian flavors in a California context, with daily house-made pasta, fresh mozzarella, and other fresh Italian cheeses made in house. His menu choices are dictated by what is available at the Ferry Building Marketplace next door. The food is delicious and reasonably priced.

I recommend a stay at the Hotel Vitale any time you are visiting San Francisco. You can’t find a better location or finer more hip and wonderful place to stay in the city by the Bay.

DON’T MISS IN SAN FRANCISCO:

YANK SING: At Rincon Center across the street from the Vitale http://www.yanksing.com/locations/ The best dim sum in the city.

BOULEVARD: Directly across the street from the Hotel Vitale https://www.boulevardrestaurant.com/ Nancy Oakes wonderful restaurant with the best pork chop ever.

OLIVETO: Across the Bay Bridge in Oakland http://www.oliveto.com/

Chef Jonah Rhodehamel’s excellent cuisine is inventive and delicious.

PLOUF: A 20 minute walk from the hotel. http://www.ploufsf.com/01_home.html The best mussels mariniere!

BOUTETTES LARDER: In the Ferry Building http://www.bouletteslarder.com/ The best breakfast around! Don’t miss the many grain hot porridge, sheep’s milk yogurt, or buckwheat and semolina griddle cakes with date syrup.

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