Modern Luxury and Timeless Elegance at the Hotel Drisco
At the top of any holiday wish list should be a stay at the Hotel Drisco. Ensconced amid the grand homes of San Francisco’s most prestigious Pacific Heights neighborhood, the hotel is a cocoon of modern luxury wrapped in timeless elegance. It’s a favorite among visiting dignitaries, glitterati seeking quiet seclusion, and those with deep connections to the city. The handsomely renovated 1903 Edwardian estate is a splurge-worthy sojourn any time of year, but a stay during the holidays is even more splendid. Dressed to the nines in seasonal finery, the hotel feeds a nostalgic yearning for Christmastime in the city. You’ll find homemade mulled wine in the lobby, decorations all around, and carolers in Victorian dress singing outside the hotel in the days leading up to Christmas. And while its exclusive setting provides a welcome respite from the hustle and bustle of downtown, it’s just a quick (and complimentary) chauffeured car-ride away from the shops in Union Square.
The hotel’s gracious hospitality and refined attention to detail is apparent from the moment you arrive. The doormen will cordially welcome you, assist with your luggage, and be the first among the hotel’s many hosts to provide exceptional service with uncommon sincerity. From the hotel’s grand arched entranceway, a set of stairs climbs to an intimate lobby with inlaid wood floors, elegant chandeliers, and gleaming mahogany woodwork that is original to the hotel. Vintage tasseled room keys are tucked into cubbies behind the front desk. You’ll even find a stash of individually wrapped Jelly Bellies within reach.
While the hotel has been renovated and upgraded several times over the years—most recently in 2017—many of its turn-of-the-century architectural details have been well-preserved. Hidden from view are the many high-tech and eco-friendly upgrades, including the hotel’s radiant hydronic heating and cooling system. The system allows the temperature of each room to be individually controlled with heated or chilled water running through pipes hidden in the ceiling. Because the system does not utilize vents or forced air, it also happens to be ideal for the ongoing pandemic because air does not circulate between the guest rooms.
Certain to impress the most discerning of guests, the spacious guest rooms and suites are designed in a soothing palette of creams and taupe with gold accents for a touch of glamour. The custom-designed contemporary furnishings have subtle hints of Asian influence. Many of the rooms also offer sweeping vistas of the city and the bay. You’re ensured a good night’s sleep with dreamy pillow-top mattresses draped with crisp linens and lofty down comforters, an adaptive sound machine, and your choice of pillows from the pillow menu. Luxurious marble bathrooms feature heated floors, glass-enclosed showers, fog-free lighted mirrors, and Bvlgari bath products. Other creature comforts include plush robes and slippers, reusable glass bottles with filtered water pitchers, Nespresso machines, and much more. Turn-down service features house-made chocolate shortbread cookies and other thoughtful touches.
While luxury is par for the course among San Francisco’s five-star hotels, what sets Hotel Drisco apart is the multitude of complimentary amenities that would require a hefty price tag elsewhere. The hotel’s complimentary breakfast is beautiful European-inspired spread featuring dozens of items served in a graceful dining room. You’ll find an omelette station, fresh fruit and yogurt parfaits with locally made granola, scones served with lemon curd and clotted cream, hot oatmeal, sliced deli meats and cheeses, smoked salmon, and a variety of fresh bagels, croissants, muffins, and other breads (including gluten-free options). The dining staff will also treat you to made-to-order smoothies, lattes, espressos, and cappuccinos.
In the evening, a complimentary wine reception features exceptional local California wines paired with an array of hors d’oeuvres. Additional amenities include free neighborhood parking (with doormen who will move your car every four hours to ensure you don’t get a parking ticket), complimentary chauffeur service each morning to any destination within the city, free WiFi, a 24-hour fitness center, passes to the nearby Jewish Community Center, and bicycles to take a spin around town (including two new e-bikes).
The hotel is within walking distance of great restaurants and jazz clubs, hiking trails in the Presidio, the little-known Lyon Street Steps with its manicured gardens and breathtaking views, and the Wood Line installation by Andy Goldworthy featuring a 1,200-foot line of recycled tree trunks zigzagging through a forest. Many more of the city’s attractions, including the de Young Museum and the California Academy of Sciences are just a short drive away.
Advance reservations are required or highly recommended at many San Francisco attractions and restaurants. Local mandates require masks to be worn indoors regardless of vaccination status. Proof of vaccination is also required at select businesses including restaurants, bars, clubs, gyms, theaters, and entertainment venues.