San Francisco – Gifts

Must Try


Slick Suite

Former Jefferson Airplane/Starship’s lead singer Grace Slick wrote on the wall at the hip Hotel Monaco San Francisco-but nobody minded. Other musical artifacts in the Grace Slick Suite include album covers she designed and a record player on which to play the vinyl. Fun fact: Grace is an ardent fan of her namesake suite, so don’t be surprised if she’s in residence.

501 Geary St. at Taylor

(415) 292-0100

Confidential Deal: Receive a complimentary bottle of champagne and a CD of reflective San Francisco music upon arrival. Enter promo code PCON when booking online.

How Suite It Is

Dip in: The Triton Hotel’s Häagen-Dazs Sweet Suite dishes out cream-colored walls, cherry-colored furniture, white-truffle pillows, and a waffle-textured bed throw. But this is no mere tease. There are tubs of Häagen-Dazs in the custom-designed ice cream cabinet. The room was designed in conjunction with the ice cream manufacturer, so the superfluous usage of its logo is legit. Häagen-Dazs also donates a portion of the room price to the local Delancey Street Foundation. In other words, calories for a cause.

342 Grant Ave.

(415) 394-0500

Confidential Deal: Receive a complimentary bottle of champagne and a CD of reflective San Francisco20music upon arrival. Enter promo code PCON when booking online.

Players Club

Whimsical is the word at the 236-room Kimpton Hotel property the Serrano, where check-in is something of a game even before you’re handed your key. In fact, the game at hand is 21, and, should you win, any number of gifts will be yours-from a free movie rental or an appetizer from the in-house restaurant Ponzu to a room upgrade. But lose and you’ll be out $5 (or an even larger donation), with the proceeds going to one of the Serrano’s pet charities, such as the San Francisco SPCA and Dress For Success. Up for another challenge? Visit this competition-friendly hotel’s game room.

405 Taylor St.

(415) 885-2500

Confidential Deal: Receive a complimentary bottle of champagne and a CD of reflective San Francisco music upon arrival. Enter promo code PCON when booking online.

Looking Up

Taller than average? Then book the nautically themed Argonaut Hotel in the historic Haslett Warehouse by Fisherman’s Wharf, a 252-room retreat featuring half a dozen special “tall” rooms. Not only will you be privy to a King bed that’s extra long at 96 inches, but you’ll also experience higher-than-norm ceilings and raised showerheads. Those seeking even more room should consider one of 13 expanded suites (about 900 square feet each) and the opportunity to use one of the Argonaut’s brass telescopes to look high and far.

495 Jefferson St.

(415) 563-0800

Confidential Deal: Receive a complimentary bottle of champagne and a CD of reflective San Francisco music upon arrival. Enter promo code PCON when booking online.

Chic Retreat

You don’t have to be a prima donna to stay at Hotel Diva, but you can still expect to be spoiled. Of so much to like about this hotel, our favorite is its suite named after San Francisco’s mid-century modern store Design Within Reach. Interior designer Lisa Sayed chose shades of gray with red accents from the collection to make this chic accommodation the eye-pleaser it is, complete with leather sofa bed, metal table, black felt headboard, and granite office table. The topper: a shower made entirely of glass. Talk about full exposure.

440 Geary St.

(415) 885-0200

Confidential Deal: Receive a complimentary upgrade to the Salon Floor and one Swarovski crystal “Diva” tank top when you stay two or more nights. Stay three or more nights and receive a complimentary upgrade to the Salon Floor plus two Swarovski crystal “Diva” tank tops. Based on availability; valid through May 31, 2009. Enter promo code CONWAY when booking online.


The Good Hotel, a 117-room retreat in the edgy SOMA district, gives a clever twist to going green. In the lobby is a bench made of felt blankets and a table fashioned from skateboards. The hotel’s motto: Do good, sleep well. To get in on the action, stop by the philanthropy concierge-a dedicated phone line connecting to a menu of volunteer opportunities benefiting San Francisco. Note: Even the Good Hotel’s vending machines contain high-concept design items from reclaimed sources. Further green tips: Taxi companies with hybrid cabs are on call, and all hybrids receive complimentary parking. Good thinking.

114 7th St.

(415) 621-7001

Confidential Deal: Receive a 20 percent room discount. Enter promo code CONWAY when booking.

Pet Rock

The Phoenix is the original rock ‘n’ roll hotel, a 20-year-old retreat with an underwater mural in its pool and piped-in jungle noises in its overgrown garden courtyard. Past host to Kurt Cobain, the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Joan Jett, and Pearl Jam, the Phoenix’s decor seems more South Seas island than urban retreat, courtesy of 1950s-style bamboo furniture and lush tropical plants. Escape today.

601 Eddy St.

(415) 776-1380

Confidential Deal: Receive a 15 percent room discount. Enter promo code CONWAY when booking.


High In The Sky

It’s not every day you find a spa on the=2 0Penthouse level of a boutique hotel, let alone one that offers outdoor deep soaking tubs with dramatic views of the Bay Bridge. Hotel Vitale is the exception. The Embarcadero-adjacent property’s Spa Vitale-an Italian name meaning “vitality”-is the perfect place to put more oomph in your step. Simply sign-up for a massage (their special treatment rooms offer water views for added serenity), then follow up with yoga. Extra incentive: The class is free.

8 Mission St.

(415) 278.3700

Confidential Deal: Receive a complimentary bathing ritual with the booking of another 50-minute treatment. Offer not good in conjunction with any other discounts or specials, and not available Feb. 14 and 1 5. Valid through April 30, 2009. Present a printout of this article to redeem.

On The Hill

Nob Hill Spa at the family-owned Huntington Hotel is arguably one of San Francisco’s most beloved, with a slew of world-class accoutrements, like a special VIP spa suite, fireplaces, great Grace Cathedral and Huntington Park views, feung shui-infused decor, and an indoor pool. Then there are all the requisite spa services and a special wellness library comprised of books and CDs on such relevant topics as stress reduction, meditation, and healthy living. In the yoga studio, yoga, Pi lates, and meditation tapes are there for guests to use or borrow. Hot CC tip: Even if you aren’t staying at the Huntington, these facilities are open to the public, Monday through Thursday, for a mere $35 a visit.

1075 California St.

(415) 474-5400

Confidential Deal: Receive a full, retail-size Alchemy Bath, Body, or Sleep Elixir when you book a Nob Hill Spa Alchemy Transformation Massage (valued up to $32). Good through April 30. Mention Conway Confidential when booking.


Farm Fresh

Luce’s Dominique Crenn-named Esquire magazine’s “Chef of the Year 2008”-has built a national reputation by emphasizing her passion for local foods. Case in point: the ever-changing, four-course Sunday Supper Farm-to-Table menu, featuring cuisine fresh from the farmer’s market that very afternoon for only $45. Desserts include Crenn’s playful deconstruction of such old favorites as s’mores, as well as carrot cake. Even though the food speaks for itself, Chef Crenn can also be found in the dining room, chatting with guests.

888 Howard St.

(415) 616-6566

Confidential Deal: Receive a complimentary appetizer (up to $15) with the purchase of two entrées. Present a printout of this article to redeem.

Piper Calling

Piperade is a Basque-influenced restaurant sitting at the bottom of Telegraph Hill. A low, hardwood roof creates the eatery’s cabin-like ambience, and the wooden sheepherder’s table at the dining room’s center adds an authentic touch. The menu is highlighted by its lamb dishes and braised veal sweetbreads with Madeira, a Monday specialty. Dinners run in the $30 to $50 range, and the $26 prix-fixe lunch special comes with soup or salad, plus the dessert of the day. Do make reservations and expect a sophisticated (read: not young) crowd, one that definitely digs the traditional menu and decor.

1015 Battery St.

(415) 391-2555

Confidential Deal: Receive a free glass of cava with your meal. Present a printout of this article to redeem.

Bright Knives

Attention wannabe Top Chefs: Class is open at The Culinary Salon, under the deft instruction of the charming Chef Joe Wittenbrook. Renowned in culinary circles as the former sous-chef de cuisine at the exclusive Huntington Hotel, private chef for the Swiss consulate, and chef de cuisine at the Mansion, Wittenbrook shares his knowledge in a street-level apartment with picture window in the artsy Duboce Triangle. Most satisfying to those with a hunger for knowledge.

16b Sanchez St.

(415) 626-4379


Confidential Deal: Receive 15 percent off all cooking classes when presenting a copy of this article.

Buy This

T Time

Recession lesson: Add a touch of inexpensive sass to your class with the seriously discounted organic fiber T-shirts and accessories at ISDA & Co. Outlet. Tucked away in the nook known as South Park (no relation to the animated TV show), this wholesale boutique is downstairs from the pricey chain’s headquarters, where a design team creates the expensive not-so-basic T-shirts and women’s fashions that combine European fabrics, an Asian sense of simplicity, and American clarity. The label is sold nationwide at high-end department stores and boutiques. Here, racks marked “new arrivals” are slashed 25, 50, and even 75 percent.

21 South Park St.

(415) 512-1610

Confidential Deal: Receive 10 percent off your purchase, offer available in the store only. Present a printout of this article to redeem.