COLUMN WRITTEN BY PHILLIP SILVERSTONE
For Digital First Media
“The loveliness of Paris seems somehow sadly gray
The glory that was Rome is of another day
I’ve been terribly alone and forgotten in Manhattan
I’m going home to my city by the Bay”
— From I Left My Heart In San Francisco
As many of you, who listen to my weekly show, already know, we traveled to the West Coast for a couple of weeks in November where I recorded 4 shows, 2 editions in northern California around Redding and 2 along the central coast with Hearst Castle the jewel in the series’ crown.
After a fairly long flight from Philly to San Francisco, it’s not a good idea to sit behind the wheel of a rental and swan off to one of the wine regions, if that is indeed your ultimate destination. Having devoted a lifetime of trips to the vast vineyard on the West Coast I always spend at least one night in the city where Mr. Bennett left his heart. I’m not a large corporate hotel kind of bloke. I like small beautifully appointed “gems” which you only hear about from well-traveled friends or brilliant wine columnists. My wife and I enjoy minimalist, un-swanky hideaways with oodles of charm and people at the front desk who clearly enjoy their work.
After a wretched trip on an airline whose two names both begin with the first letter of the alphabet (surly, almost angry flight attendants and half a tin of Coke for the duration of the flight) we arrived at San Francisco airport and walked about 2 miles from one terminal to another at the other side of the airport (because the airline bought the gates off of a now defunct airline and expect all their passengers to be in the best physical shape possible). We then hopped onto an airport train to ferry us eventually to baggage claim.
After a fiasco with a car rental company whose name is derived from the currency of the United States, and who canceled our reservation and took 2 hours to sort out the confusion we eventually arrived at the corner of Geary and Mason streets in the heart of San Francisco’s Union Square. And there it was: Hotel G, nestled among fashionable restaurants, art galleries, theatres and the finest shops in town.
Our room was the “Greatest King” with a Sitting Area cleverly designed with a settee and coffee table. And this was brilliant because my oldest chum in the wine world, and his wife, were spending the evening with us.
Sanford was bringing a selection of wines that he produces for us to sample and I was in a hotel room after a stressful day wondering what the heck to do about dinner. Fortunately, Three 9 Eight restaurant and bar is accessed through Hotel G’s lobby and the feel is very European, and simple and relaxed. William, the bar manager, heard our plight, evaluated the situation and within 30 minutes delivered the food he guaranteed would complement the Cabernet, Zinfandel and Chardonnay our guests would be bringing along. We had an antipasto of local artisan cheeses and meats, hummus, Shishito peppers and tapenade and the total for 4 people was $30. Amazing and delicious and perfect with the wines.
Hotels G’s room offer all the essentials which include complimentary Wi-Fi. Terry towels and robes and a very well stocked honor bar. But, above all, it boasts the quietest rooms I’ve ever occupied in a bustling city. We had a fabulous night’s sleep after a wonderfully relaxing evening hosting our friends in the spacious room with separate living area. (Hotel G 386 Geary St., San Francisco, Calif., (877) 828-4478, www.hotelgsanfrancisco.com)
Laurie Armstrong at the San Francisco Travel Association provided me with everything you need to know about San Francisco on an “I Left My Heart’ shaped USB drive. If you are visiting that wonderful city and would like to receive specific information about San Francisco including shopping, nightlife, dining, historic sites etc., just write to me at: firstname.lastname@example.org and I will send you some splendid information electronically. Cheers!
Phillip Silverstone’s column appears each week in this newspaper. “Time Out With Phillip Silverstone” is a weekly podcast heard on TuneIn Radio anytime and anywhere worldwide either on the free TuneIn app for all smart phones and tablets (Search: Phillip Silverstone) or online at: http://bit.ly/1gY2Ht4 “Follow” the show for weekly updates. You can also LIKE Phillip on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Phillipsilverstone and follow him on Twitter: @wining