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Saturday, December 4, 2010

The San Francisco Fairmont Hotel Penthouse

Never did I ever imagine I'd be writing a review about the Penthouse Suite at the Fairmont Hotel in downtown San Francisco. But here it is, a post all about the evening I spent in the lap of luxury. As I stepped off the private elevator into the foyer I felt as if I was stepping into a movie set.

The party encompassed all 6000 square feet (the entire 8th floor) of the Penthouse Suite with buffet and social areas for mingling. The rest was open for guests to wander through and explore. Understated, elegant and opulent are the words I'd use to describe the style, decor and ambiance.

If you want to impress, this is the place to host a corporate party or private event. If you want to enjoy a decadent and rarefied experience, stay just for your own enjoyment and you can join the list of Presidents and celebrities who have been guests of the Penthouse Suite. The dining room (above) can seat sixty when set for a formal dinner.

There was plenty of both fancy and finger food! The honeycomb above was served alongside a cheese tray. The really cool part? It was from the hotel's own bee hives! There are now 5 hives that house 80,000 honey bees that live at the hotel! So cool right? Executive Chef JW Foster wanted to do something eco-friendly to help support honey bees which, since 2006, have been decimated nationwide by a phenomenon called "Colony Collapse Disorder." If you've never had honeycomb before you should try it if you ever have the opportunity. It's really delicious.

Somehow I neglected to photograph some of the hors d'oeuvres. So, I made pictures of them instead. The upper left was Salmon Belly Tartar, Avocado Mousse, Creme and Onion Marmalade served in a tiny Waffle Cone and wrapped in a shiny piece of silver paper. Center was a cup made out of an egg shell filled with Cauliflower and White Truffle Puree, Pacific Caviar and a Plantain Chip. And to the right was a glistening slice of fresh, Brown Fig, House Honey & Ricotta wrapped in a thin strip of Smoked Speck (similar to prosciutto but the ham is boned before curing) on a clear plastic skewer.

There was also a slider bar with three kinds of unique sliders: Sonoma Lamb with Humboldt Fog Cheese, Venison and Fiscalini Chedder and Grass Fed Beef and Point Reyes Blue Cheese. Served with both Sweet Potato and Traditional Potato French Fries and Smoked Tomato Ketchup and Lemon Truffle Aioli... Can you say yum?

And a very interesting, taco style, open face version of what I think were Fish Hum Bow.

Sadly, I wasn't able to eat any of the solid foods that night because I am still having a horrible time with the dental fiasco that I blogged about a week ago. Basically, I still can't eat anything that is solid. The tooth is getting better but because it seems to be a damaged nerve (in my mouth, not necessarily the tooth) this may go on for a few more weeks or months. Any longer and I'll break down and try a root canal but for now I'm still toughing it out. Anyways, back to my Cinderella evening, there were gorgeous platters of cheese and vegetables and those fries were screaming my name, but I just couldn't chew any of them :( I can report that everyone else enjoyed the food! All I could do was watch :)

And this was truly the most beautiful view of San Francisco's skyline-at-night that I've ever seen. CLICK on the IMAGE to enlarge, it looks even prettier enlarged.

The photo was taken from here, the Penthouse Terrace. I'm not a big fan of heights but the Fairmont is 8 stories high and sits atop Nob Hill which makes it the perfect vantage point to look into the city skyline, not  tower above it. I easily handled the height and the view was spectacular!

Above left is a photo of one of the doorways to the terrace and to the right is a close up of the relief work that surrounds not just the doorways, but also covers the exterior walls. The detail work is incredible.

And then there were sweet treats! WowWee there were lots of them. Kudos to Pastry Chef Steven Sullivan! Pictured above are Berry Daiquiri - Strawberry Pop Rock, Oreo Cookie - White Chocolate Crumble, English Toffee - Bittersweet Crunch, Dessert Pops.

Banana Dacquoise, Banana Sauce, Kiwi Jelly and Almond Crumble Parfait

Ah, something I could eat! A Coffee and Amaretto Sponge Cake Parfait. It was nice and soft and didn't hurt my sore tooth at all!

I also had a creamy, soft and smooth Citrus Cocktail, Verrine Cointreau Flavored with Milk Almond Sponge Cake.

I stopped myself at one of each though I could have easily eaten 2, or 3, or maybe even more :)

The Master Bedroom was gorgeous! I love the curtains hanging around the four poster bed. You can click on the image to enlarge the picture. And the bathroom! I would love to soak in that tub... We noticed a remote control nearby but where could the tv be? Why, built into the mirror directly across from the tub or course!

We all began dreaming of staying here for one night. The room (rack) rate is $15,000 a night. *Gasp, gasp, thud* I can't even imagine staying in a $15,000 a night room. But then, the wheels began turning (aka we all started thinking). If we get 15 friends together we could each pay $1000 to stay in the penthouse for a night. Which would mean we could each sleep in the that beautiful bed for exactly 32 minutes each. HA, HA, HA... I think we would need at least 30 people though to bring it anywhere near the realm of an affordable possibility for me. But that would only be 16 minutes in the bed per person. LOL I wonder if I could pay less if I agree to sleep in the bathtub or a closet :D

From the Fairmont website:
A coterie of dedicated personnel; including a round-the-clock butler and team of housekeepers, a chef, a masseuse, a personal trainer and a chauffeur; will stand ready to pamper guests of this extraordinary suite and are included in its price tag of $15,000 per night.

The two guest rooms are as elegantly appointed as you would expect. One with a king sized bed, the other with a queen. For professional photos of the entire suite CLICK HERE to visit the Champalimaud website. Champalimaud is the company that did the restoration of the suite in 2009.

Did I mention there's also a library? The dome was WOW! Painted a beautiful blue it is adorned with constellations outlined in glittering gold paint. If you click on the image it enlarges so you can see a bit more detail. There's also a secret passageway tucked somewhere behind the upper level of books. The French doors open onto the terrace.

And my favorite room, The Billiard Room. I want a room like this in my house. A room where the walls are tiled in beautiful tranquil shades and there's a vaulted, stained glass ceiling. I could feel my blood pressure plateauing somewhere right in between blissed out and peaceful serenity. This room is STUNNING!

The tile is Persian and the ceiling is comprised of 1800 pieces of etched glass. I'd never seen anything like this room before. IMO a visit to the Penthouse is well worth it just to stand in this pool room. I went home and told hubby I want a room like this in our house but we'll need a big pile of money and a house with higher ceilings to pull this look off.

On our way out we each received a gift bag that contained all of the ingredients to make the flirty, pink, Grand Cosmos that were served that night. And I'm going to do it! I'm going to make myself a Cosmo. Since I don't drink I figure I better split the recipe out and put in about 1/4 of the measurements for the Champagne, Vodka and Grand Marnier. Don't want to get shcnockered on my first Cosmo ever! I would have tried one that evening but I had to drive home so thought it was best not to partake at the party.

Christmas in the city. I usually see pictures of all of the holiday decor on TV but rarely enjoy any of it in person. This magnificent tree greets you as you walk into the lobby at the San Francisco Fairmont Hotel.

And an extra treat... The huge, life sized, gingerbread house is also in the main lobby. You can't miss it. It. It was magical and made me feel like a kid again.

Down on the window ledges were peppermint trees and foil wrapped classic Santas. So cute right? A little slice of the North Pole where everyone is happy and there are plenty of Ho, ho, ho's....

Except for this poor vandalized Santa. No doubt some naughty (or maybe a particularly hungry) kid decided to rather unceremoniously decapitate him leaving behind the tragic remains of this headless torso. I think we'll all agree someone is getting coal in their stocking this Christmas! LOL

It smelled so good! Sugar and spice and everything nice.

My thanks to General Manager and Regional Vice President, Thomas Klein, and Emilie Rekart, Director of Catering, and the entire Catering Team at the San Francisco Fairmont Hotel. The Penthouse Suite is truly a gem and I was very fortunate to be able to enjoy it, the wonderful desserts, and the hospitality of your entire Catering and Events team.


  1. Stacie, what an excellent reportage of a very memorable evening. It was great to see you and enjoy the paradisaical ambiance of the Fairmont Hotel.

  2. Wow, that is a nice suite! We need to work in entertainment if we want to afford that all by ourselves. Just like Britney Spears, she'd spend $10K a night for the penthouse suite here at the Four Seasons Maui! :)

  3. Looks like you had a wonderful time! I haven't been to the Fairmont in a million years. We stayed there one time when we came up your way to see Duran Duran.

  4. Thanks Daniela! It was so fun hanging out and catching up with you :)

    Evonne it was really nice. LOL work in entertainment or win the lottery. But I never buy lotto tickets so I guest that's a go nowhere solution.

    Cindy do you ever come up to the Bay Area for concerts anymore? You should! We have a guest room you are welcome to. Not as fancy as the Fairmont but I have in-house entertainment for you. Can't guarantee it will be good but he is entertaining. LOL

  5. Tres chic! Great job in making me super-jealous. I don't suppose I'll be staying in the Penthouse anytime soon, but I'm glad I was able to experience it virtually through your report and photos. The beehive is a great eco-friendly touch and very unique way to draw attention to CCD.


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