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San Francisco’s Monaco Hotel – A Bay City Luxury Retreat
by Cymber Quinn

Enter a luxury cruise liner . . . in a major metropolitan area?

When you check in at the Hotel Monaco in San Francisco, it's like boarding an intimate cruise ship of the early 1900s and stepping back to the heady days of Hemingway and Christie. Get a good look at the registration desk — it's built to look like an ocean steamer trunk.

Then take a quick stroll to the right, past the elevators into the elegant sitting room. Fanciful furnishings, high-backed sofas, and a crackling fire all make for intimate spaces for private conversations. Join your fellow guests in the other sitting room just past the old marble grand staircase for wine and cheese in the afternoons. There you can have your tarot cards read and get a neck and back massage. The decorations evoke the days of elegant travel. The art deco flavor and high ceilings made us feel like we were giant pieces in a grand Monopoly game.

We loved the décor of our room — French, fun, and boy-oh-boy were the fabrics expensive and fine. So nice, in fact, that if you smoke in your room, the hotel charges an extra $250 cleaning charge. Like all San Francisco hotels built at this time, the Hotel Monaco has smaller rooms than you might expect from a modern luxury hotel. But don’t be fooled; this room makes the most of the space — a period armoir holds the TV and mini-bar, and a huge circular mirror gives the room lots of light.

The foundation of any hotel's success is in their beds . . . really! If you don't get a good night's sleep, how great can a hotel be? You'll find the Hotel Monaco’s sheets and bedding an inviting way to recover from a day of walking through what locals call The City. Dreamy pillow top covers, down pillows and romantic canopies may make you want to stay in. Luckily, the Grande Café, attached to the hotel has mouth-watering room service. Be sure to order the “omelet and wine,” which comes with a small green salad, perfect for the lighter appetite.

The bathroom more than met our needs with Aveda products and Frette bathrobes. There is also complimentary high-speed Internet access, coffee service, newspaper, and all the other goodies you expect from a luxury hotel. Plus one more — The Hotel Monaco has teamed up with Yoga Magazine to give you a little workout in your room. Just ring up the front desk, and they will bring you a complimentary yoga package with a yoga mat, strap, block, and instructions. You do the workout with an instructor on the TV.


Although we left our pets at home, the Hotel Monaco can take care of your four-legged friends in style, taking the term pet-friendly to a new level. The Bone-A-Petit package features bottled water, a dog bowl, Good Dog towels, top quality chew toys, gourmet dog cookies, Hotel Monaco's temporary dog tags, and clean up bags. You can also request Lassie, Babe, and Dr. Doolittle videos from their front desk. We didn’t get a chance to see if they offered doggie yoga.

Additionally, the hotel offers Guppy Love, a complimentary goldfish along with fish toys to keep you company during your stay. The housekeeping staff feeds and takes care of the goldfish - all you need to do is enjoy.


The Hotel Monaco sits in the heart of the theater district on Geary Street, just off the famous Union Square. From the hotel, you can walk in just minutes to all of San Francisco's most famous theaters: Orpheum Theater (which is currently showing The Lion King, the American Conservatory Theater, Curran Theater (where Phatom of the Opera played to packed houses for years), Post Street Theatre, Theatre on the Square, and Yerba Buena Center for the Arts.


When we told a friend, who is a wine collector and hedonist extraordinaire, that we were staying at the Hotel Monaco, he asked excitedly, "You're eating at the Grand Café then, right? I'll join you." The restaurant is connected to the hotel by a large, ornate doorway, but the businesses are two different entities. The Grande Café bills itself as "a French—California brasserie featuring contemporary French cuisine influenced by earthy seasonal flavors and wonderful local ingredients. The menu's diverse array of fresh seafood, roasted meats, and theatrical desserts satisfies


Cymber Quinn, Jetsetters Magazine Correspondent. Join the Travel Writers Network in the logo at