From scoping out the most authentic tacos in the Mission district to inhaling the flower power of Haight + Ashbury, we were too busy for the check-in at the Adagio Hotel to be anything other than quick, hasty even, in order to get back out to the exciting streets of San Francisco. Walking through those big brown doors and into the glowing, grand reception, it was clear, however, that my love affair with S.F. was to take a backseat to my latest crush on this elegant Union Square hotel.
The check-in experience was so friendly. The small talk seemed, gulp, genuine even, as did the care taken by the doorman to help us with the luggage and “assist in any way possible so that we may enjoy our stay.” He said this so formally I felt an impulse to bow, and also to check the prices on the hotel again as this level of formality is usually reserved for hotels of the five-star variety.
Adagio’s 171 recently-refurbished Spanish colonial style rooms are located just 2 blocks from Union Square, the heart of the shopping and theater district in San Francisco. Geary Street is lined with restaurants, cafes, two diners for breakfast to soak up late-night San Fran shenanigans. The only gripe about the rooms is lack of built-in air-conditioning. Most rooms have a stand-alone unit in the corner of the room. This wasn’t a problem on the rainy spring night of my visit, but in hotter months this could be an issue.
Up to the 16th floor, the hotel’s Caruso suite was exquisite, separated into a bedroom and a living room with two couches with a table in between, a desk, television, free wi-fi, and a table for two by the window for a romantic dinner with a view, which you can time with the gorgeous volcanic sand hourglass placed on the table. This sort of attention to detail was clear in every thing from the hour glass to the two separate bins – one for trash, one for recycling, and the thoughtful umbrella to borrow. The décor was not the sleek, contemporary look most urban hotels go for, but rather a calming ‘au-natural’ mocha palatte, wood furnishings recalling the redwood forests beyond the boundaries of the city.
A walk-in shower, bathtub fit for two and enough fluffy towels for a lot more than two greeted us in the bathroom, and the fully-stocked mini-bar on whichthe Nespresso coffeemaker sat was complete with everything from top-shelf drink and the good brand of nuts to an ‘intimacy kit’. The Adagio has got your back. They are going to make the entire stay a pleasure for you and anyone else you might bring back with you.
The far-reaching views from the suite’s four windows provided clear perspective on the greatness of this city by the bay. Executive rooms start from the 7th floor, and from there upwards the city views increasingly improve. Hotel Adagio is liberal with their upgrades, so if in town on a special occasion, there might be a chance of moving up to one of the Executive rooms if you mention it at check-in. We did hear whispers of noisy nights and neighbors from some in rooms below the 8th floor, due in part to the location of the hotel. The higher up the room, the further from the noise of rowdy downtown San Francisco below.
Speaking of rowdy nightlife, you won’t find that the hotel bar, Bar Adagio. What you will find are some great Happy Hour deals at the laid-back bar which pull in fun new friends off the street: $4 wine, sparkling wine and beer, $1 cayenne popcorn, $3 olives and skinny cut fries.
Not so happy is the parking situation at Hotel Adagio, though this is not the hotel’s fault. Between astronomical hourly rates and street parking on all those steep hills, parking in San Francisco is a nightmare. Hotel Adagio’s sky-high rate of $40 to valet the car is the same as several other hotels in the area. Don’t fret. An underground garage located directly next door to the hotel offers $20 overnight parking with in and out privileges, so just make sure to add that to the cost of the room for a true nightly rate of staying at Hotel Adagio or any central San Francisco hotel.
550 Geary Street
San Francisco, CA 94102