Hotel Picks in San
by Mark Glass
Mark Glass is a journalist trapped in a lawyer's body, balancing his
writing and broadcasting on travel, entertainment and professional sports.
Visitors to what may be America’s most picturesque,
entertaining city tend to choose hotels within a few pockets of attraction:
Union Square offers a wide range of prices and concepts; Fisherman’s Wharf
caters more to the budget-conscious; Nob Hill features the grand masters for
the upscale crowd (The Fairmont and Mark Hopkins). So here are a couple of
new discoveries for divergent tastes - the high-rise Argent near the
Convention Center; and the intimate Majestic, between Japan Town and
For those who remember when the area south of Market
Street was nothing but semi-abandoned, dilapidated warehouses, take another
look. Business is booming by day or night with retail activity, nightclubs
and museums sprouting up at a furious pace. And that’s not even counting
Pacific Bell Park, which finally gave sports fans an end to their years of
suffering the climatic vagaries of Candlestick Park.
Adjacent to the Moscone Convention Center, and across
from the Museum of Modern Art is the newly-renovated 36-story Argent.
Floor-to-ceiling windows provide wonderful views from each of its 667 rooms,
and plenty of light - especially since it’s not abutted by other
high-rises. As one would expect from its location, and its own capacious
meeting facilities, all the amenities the business traveler could
desire are right in the room - dataports, two-line phones and all. But
little touches of luxury elevate the experience for whatever reason you’re
Public areas include a cloister-style garden on the
back and side, providing a surprisingly insulated haven from the urban
surroundings. Splendid artwork adorns the walls. In a few sitting areas,
there are chess sets made from variously-sized clear crystal salt and pepper
shakers. You really can tell which piece each is supposed to be.
In the spacious rooms, the Argent offers the best
assortment of bed pillows one can find - something for all tastes. The top
tissue in the box was folded into a flower. Tub/shower controls actually
allow one to select the precise water temperature. Executive and Silver Key
floors provide additional amenities. Some suites even come with telescopes,
for guests to derive full benefit from the view.
The Majestic offers another concept of luxury - the
intimacy of a small inn. The decor is a blend of styles from Victorian to
the 1930s, with four-poster or canopy beds in each room. It’s on a block
of Sutter Street that’s quietly residential, even though it’s only two
blocks from Van Ness; and close to all forms of transportation. It’s
restaurant - now called Perlot, but long lauded by locals as the Café
Majestic - serves wonderful contemporary California cuisine; it’s bar
features Dusty Daquiris, and is decorated with a fascinating collection of
butterflies, for a unique visual experience. Guests can also enjoy
complimentary wine and hors d’oeuvres each evening in the two-tiered
But the Majestic’s greatest asset may be serenity. In
a crowded city, it’s almost a retreat. That may be why celebrities such as
Julia Roberts, Nicolas Cage and Sharon Stone have chosen it. The cast of the
recent Keanu Reeves film, Sweet November stayed there during the shooting.
Bad movie. But guests ever since enjoy the benefit of in-room refrigerators
that were installed for the occasion.
For reservations, or further information on these two
fine options for your next visit:
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Email: firstname.lastname@example.org (Mark Glass)
Mark Glass is a
Mark Glass is a freelance writer and broadcaster, based in St. Louis, covering travel, entertainment and professional sports for his readers
and listeners. Mark was travel editor for "St. Louis Connoisseur", and
now have that role for "Life in the Midwest", based in Indianapolis.
For the last fifteen years, he's written and broadcast features on
travel, entertainment and sports, while maintaining his law practice in the St. Louis
area. (More about this writer.)