We’ve been spending a lot of time in the Bay Area lately and have found some real treasures I just have to share with you!
Being a stay at home mom for many years, managing a large family, and living on one income I’m no stranger to being on a tight budget, however, I also love traveling and really value the benefits of vacationing with my husband and the fam, so I’m always in search of a good vacay bargain and I LOVE sharing my finds with others.
We just spent the last two weekends staying in the remarkable Stanford Court boutique hotel on Nob Hill and it was fabulous!!
And we stayed for less than $300 per night (valet parking of $60 value included).
Ok, hold on, I can already hear you saying, “You call that a bargain?!”
Now remember, I said “Five Star” Getaway.
Hang in here with me friends!
When you consider the awesome location at the top of the city overlooking the trolley car crossing…
stunning architecture on every corner…
stellar service, luxurious bedding and toiletries, and Bay Area valet parking (with in and out privileges!)…
then yes, I call that a bargain!
Farid has been in Iran (as many of you know) and he had some last minute travel changes.
When he told me he could come home a week earlier than planned, before he could change his plans again, I quickly jumped on the phone, changed his return flight and booked another hotel room.
The only problem was, I had prepaid for the first room I booked and it was non–refundable. (shoulda read the fine print)
So, we ended up with two reservations, but I didn’t care, I was just happy, happy, happy, he’d be home a week early.
When I picked him up at the San Fran Airport, I told him we had a another room prepaid for the following weekend and I didn’t know what to do with it.
After a very brief discussion, we decided, “What the heck! Let’s just come back again!”
So we loaded the luggage and zipped off to the hotel.
We had stayed at the famed Fairmont San Francisco in August for Farid’s birthday so when I was making these reservations I thought, “Let’s shake things up a bit and try out a different part of the city!”.
It wasn’t until we mapped the driving directions that I realized Stanford Court was really, really close to The Fairmont.
I was even more surprised when we got to our “Room With A View“and I opened the shades and was staring directly at the Fairmont!
It wasn’t just close by, it was literally across the street.
I think I could even see the exact room we had stayed in! LOL!!
So much for experiencing a “different” part of the city.
I was slightly disappointed that I hadn’t paid better attention to the location when booking, however, that feeling only lasted for about one split second.
I quickly reminded myself that it was a great hotel in a great location and I had absolutely nothing to be disappointed in, even if we had stayed across the street in August.
I mean look at this view from our window!! Right?!
After settling into our room we headed out to dinner.
Since we didn’t get to try out a “different” location in town I told Farid, “Let’s try out a new restaurant!”
Always the easy going one, he had no objections.
I made a beeline to the concierge desk and asked for a recommendation. The concierge wanted to know what kind of atmosphere we were looking for.
As you can imagine after just arriving from a long 15 hour flight, the last thing Farid wanted was a loud, crowded restaurant.
I told the concierge we were looking forward to a nice quiet evening where we could indulge in some belly warming comfort food.
The concierge recommended Nob Hill Cafe.
Turned out it is was a quaint little authentic Italian restaurant just 5 minutes walking distance from the hotel.
We probably would have walked right past had it not been recommended to us.
So happy we found it! True to it’s reputation, the food was fantastic!
And the best part of it, the menu ranged from about $12-20. My kind of place!
They even had a perfect deconstructed execution of my all time fave dessert, Chocolate Mousse. I was in heaven.
But morning comes quickly. (Especially when you’re up at 3:00am wide awake.)
By 6:00am when Farid awoke, I was starving and searching for an early morning breakfast joint.
It just happened that the perfect place was just down the hill a few blocks, right near Union Square.
We were pretty much first in line.
Breakfast at Sears Fine Food!
Not only was Sears perfect because it opened earlier than most of the other surrounding restaurants, but it’s been a fave of ours since we first discovered it in 2009.
I always, always order way too much food here because everything looks so good! But even with that, we can get out the door for less than $15 per person.
After our lovely brisk morning walk to breakfast, I began to realize that there are some perks to staying in a familiar part of the city.
Things were much easier to navigate this time and I was starting to feel right at home.
We knew exactly where to check in, where good dining options were and, we even requested the exact same room we had the previous weekend because it had such an amazing view.
But to change things up just a little bit, we decided to keep the dinner reservations I had made for us at Waterbar.
Waterbar is not what I’d call inexpensive, but I would definitely call it Five Star!
We’ve been to Waterbar twice now and each time it’s been absolutely amazing.
From the cranberry, lime, simple syrup cocktail they made just for me…
To the perfectly charred medium rare steak…
To the decadent desserts that were so tempting, I ordered two of them all for myself.
I had to try the Smoked Mushroom Pomegranate Creme Pudding…
and of course the Chocolate Mousse!
Farid was stuffed so he didn’t order dessert, but funny how he ended up eating half of mine! hahaha!
He says I twisted his arm, but I think I recall fighting his spoon off with mine! (yes, this actually happens once in a while after 29 years of marriage, LOL!)
When we go to Waterbar, we don’t hold back, after all, how often do you really get to go out to a fabulous restaurant in the city?
But there are ways you can still eat here on a budget. They have a Happy Hour $1 oyster special that I WOULD call a bargain!
Their oysters are so fresh and the variety they have is unbelievable. So for any of you oyster fans, this is the place to be!
You can skip the appetizers and/or share a meal. Last time we shared the Whole Maine Lobster and it was so filling we could barely finish eating it.
Now their menu changes almost daily, so if you don’t get it while they have it, you may not see it again for quite a while. We are still waiting for the stuffed oven baked fish to come back around on the menu.
Waterbar is way worth the splurge, and with all the money you save on the hotel, parking, and breakfast, even indulging in something like this still makes a Five Star San Francisco Weekend Getaway affordable!
The first weekend we were there we spent $227 on the room, $80 on dinner and $35 for breakfast.
The second weekend, $300 on the room, $200 for dinner (tip: we don’t drink alcohol so our bill stays reasonably low, if you want to really reduce your dinner bill, opt for just water, they distill their own and it’s perfect! and FREE!) and we only spent $20 for breakfast at Working Girls’ Cafe.
Working Girls’ Cafe doesn’t have a huge selection of pastries if that’s what you’re in the mood for, but their breakfast sandwiches are made to order and really tasty…
There is so much to do in San Francisco and all around the peninsula that I could go on and on.
The best part is that much of it is little to no cost at all.
You can go to the beach, marina, the piers, watch the sea lions, fly a kite, visit Golden Gate Park, see the Observatory, take a trip through China Town…
The entire time we were in San Francisco I felt relaxed and pampered, even with the hustle and bustle of the city all around us.
It could have been because I was on cloud nine that Farid was back home, or maybe in desperate need of a mini-vacay, but I can guarantee you that without the special touches of all these wonderful places, it just wouldn’t have been the same.
I’m already planning our next Nob Hill stay! Only this time I will have to try the hotel across the other side of the street. Hahaha!
If you have any affordable Five Star Bay Area secrets you can share, we would all love to hear about them. I will add them to my wish list!
Happy getaways friends!
Hope you can grab some time to re-energize and enjoy yours as much as we enjoyed ours!
Remember this, you can feel like royalty… even on a budget!
(Fun fact: In August The Fairmont had a special brownie treat waiting for Farid in the room when we returned from his birthday dinner at Waterbar. NO! not that kind of “special brownie” silly!!)
Stay HiP friends!