Family Vacation San Francisco Fairmont Review

January 18, 2011


Fairmont San Francisco

As we entered our stunning room on the 23th floor at the iconic Fairmont San Francisco, our 10 year old child  squealed  "Oh my God, this is  heaven!" which was truly an accurate appraisal as it is the Grande Dame of all the extraordinary hotels in San Francisco and very impressive no matter how many luxury hotels one has stayed at. We left our hearts in San Francisco!

The world-reknown Fairmont brand is known for their exemplary service and hospitality, with so much attention to details, that they make their guests  feel totally  at home while basking in such luxury and beauty. No wonder so many presidents and movie stars have stayed here!

beautiful view of San Francisco from our Fairmont room on 23rd floor on Nop Hill

The  breathtaking panoramic views of San Francisco from our tower room atop Nob Hill made our jaws drop as the gorgeous sunny day allowed us to see all of our beloved home city from the Golden Gate Bridge to the Transamerica Pyramid, plus Coit Tower, Alcatraz, Marin county, Oakland and more. I will do a post on just the views, as having a drink at sunset or even watching the dawn arrive ( due to jet lag from Europe) were gifts beyond measure that welcomed us home like nothing else could.

Dad and his girl in lobby of Fairmont San Francisco

    Drinkin in the view from the 23rd floor of Fairmont SF & wine

Arriving at glamous Fairmont San Francisco  in lobby

What a truly amazing homecoming for us to be complimentary guests at this spectacular luxury hotel as we haven't been back to San Francisco in four years and The Fairmont San Francisco is the ultimate high end hotel for a city break, family vacation or romantic get away. We combined all three and it also gave us a chance to recover from jet lag from our rapid  flights from Spain to London to New York City to San Francisco and we felt it was important for Mozart to spend some time again in OUR city before we headed to Santa Cruz for some beach and family time.  We even did a delightful  "Tweet up" in the glamorous lobby with wonderful soultravelers3 blog readers which I will do a separate post about soon.

getting off BART to take cable car at Powell Street San Francisco

Built in 1907, The Fairmont San Francisco has the ideal location in central San Francisco and the only place in the city where all the cable car lines meet, thus excellent for easy city explorations. Most people probably arrive at this luxury hotel via car, but we jumped on the BART from SFO airport with the locals that easily took us to Powell Street where we could catch a cable car to the hotel. It looked like it would be a little wait though, so we decided to jump in a cab for the short ride because we were so looking forward to being spoiled!

You can see the totality of our belongings for our 18 flights, 9 month around-the-world family trip this year in our 3 carry on bags in the shot below as well as Mozart's excitement. ( Davinci has both my carry-on rolling bag and his own technology filled daypack, including 3 laptops, homeschool supplies  & kiddo carries her own bag and purse of goodies like small toys).

arriving on our 23 floor room at Fairmont SF with little family luggage

   beautiful comfy beds at the Fairmont San Francisco with stunning views of SF

large marbel bathroom at Fairmont San Francisco hotel

Entering large tower room at Fairmont San Francisco

 From the moment you arrive at The Fairmont San Francisco, you know you are in a very special place and you get warm welcome smiles from the doorman, to the people at the desk, housekeeping, bellboys to every employee that we ran into. 

Revolving door entrance to lobby of Fairmont San Francisco Hotel

spectacular Fairmont San Francisco Hotel

The opulent, timeless  lobby and public areas designed by prolific turn of the century architect Julia Morgan, ( one of our favorites)  enfolds you with warmth. The rich colors, sumptuous fabrics, gilt embellised ceilings, Corinthian columns, sensational spiral staircase, plants  and rococo furniture inspires and transports you in classic splendor.

The European palace ambiance and amenities continues in the large rooms with over sized marble  bathrooms ( both large, deep tub and separate large shower in ours), flat screen TVs, goose down pillows, extra long, comfortable mattresses and more. The two classic restaurants/bars, concierge, babysitting, views, health club, room service, wifi and best location in San Francisco make it the premiere luxury hotel in the City for families, business travelers and all.

San Franciso Fairmont Lobby and Laurel Court Restaurant and Bar

Remember when I talked about how social media is changing travel during our interview with the BBC recently? The Fairmont Hotels are one of best in the hospitality industry doing social media and that is how we met. We also stayed at the Fairmont Singapore recently , so have met quite a few people who work for Fairmont and we have been totally impressed.The people who work at these gorgeous luxury hotels are as beautiful and creative as the places and we made special friends who love travel as much as we do and who care about the environment.

We toured the awesome Fairmont Penthouse, learned about how they are working with bees, visited their organic rooftop garden and interviewed their innovative new Chef. So we have more Fairmont stories coming and we are very proud to have them as a sponsor.

Pointing to photo of JFK at the Fairmont San Francisco Hotel

Kids and adults alike can learn a little history here, as you see my husband pointing out John F. Kennedy and other celebrities when they stayed at the Fairmont San Francisco ( Michelle Obama was also a recent visitor). We enjoyed learning about how the Fairmont was the host for the signing of the United Nations Charter in 1945 and seeing those photos as well that line a public area on the way to our elevator.

We're from the Bay area ( I lived near Nob Hill when I was in my 20's  so have had drinks and dinner  there and Jazz fan DaVinci saw Ella Fitzgeraled, McCoy Tiner, Bill Evans, Tito Puente etc. in the Fairmont's  Venetian room ) so we know well the reputation of the Fairmont San Francisco as a local institution which is highly respected. It  was a great  honor indeed to stay at this magnificent hotel as guests and learn more about it and the people who take pride in making it work so well.

Family travel San Franciso at family friendly hotel Fairmont San Francisco


Cable Car rides

Ghiradelli Square

Golden Gate Park

Yerba Buena Gardens

China Town


Best for kids in San Francisco Cable Car rides

 Have you been to the Fairmont? What are your favorite spots for families in San Fran?





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Sheila Beal

Now, you're talking! Seems like we go to San Fran about every year or so for a conference or meeting. Looks like this Fairmont is well positioned.

We like using BART too. It's so easy and really saves much hassle, stress and money. The cost of parking a rental car in downtown SF is eye popping. I think we paid $54/night at hotel once, when we rented a car.


Sheila ;) Truly, the Fairmont has THE best location in SF...makes for unobstructed mindboggling views, central & easy best transport on the fun AND useful cable cars.

BART is so easy from the airport into the city, I can't imagine why everyone doesn't use it, but it looked like mostly locals when we took it.

Parking IS ridiculous in SF like most big cities. Have fun on your next trip there.


I will be going to San Francisco soon and I promise I will be checking into that hotel too. It's so good the way you've described it. I will be bringing my kids so I know they'll be enjoying that place too like your daughter did. Always be safe!

Camels & Chocolate

We stayed in a suite at the SF Fairmont for my birthday two years ago, and I'll agree with Mozart: It IS Heaven. I know you've spent a lot of time here given your Santa Cruz roots, but glad you guys got to experience the city from a different perspective!

Margaret Sch.

I love it that Mozart seems to enjoy posing for great photos like the cable car photo at the end of this blog. She is a natural model who seems to exude love of life and self-confidence. I am also very happy to know that she was blessed with a bit of heaven on earth in her own home state of California. I always think children should be blessed with the best this world has to offer.


Thanks Brianna, you will have a wonderful time!


Yes, C&C, it was lovely to be back and to experience this bit of heaven! ;) What a perfect spot for you to celebrate your birthday! Next time we will have to get together!! ;)


Ha! Margaret, she is a FAST moving target so not as easy as it looks to catch a photo of her that is not a blur. She does love life and seems confident. Hope she retains that into her adult years.

We're really glad she got to experience it too. I think kids ( and all of us) should be able to "taste" and experience it all. Mozart is lucky that she has seen great poverty close up ( from Harlem to the Sahara) and also great luxury like this or our high tea in London etc and everything in between.

We were so lucky too that we had absolutely perfect weather during our homecoming which added to our blessings. ;)

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