San Francisco’s most lavish experience may be tucked-away in a nine story hotel on Nob Hill’s eastern slope, or what is known as the Ritz-Carlton Club — what many call a “Hotel within a Hotel” experience. This 19th century architectural landmark has a Neo-Classical inspired feel filled with decorative motifs such as winged hourglasses, allegorical tableau, ionic columns and lions’ heads. Immersed in history, the real experience begins when I meet with Shelly Auyeung, the Ritz-Carlton, San Francisco’s communication coordinator.
We enter the elevator and head up to the exclusive keycard-only access floor, and are greeted by Gabrielle de Gray, the club level concierge dedicated to assist guests with anything their heart desires. My eyes follow the decorative assortment of complimentary club breakfast full of lox, fresh fruit and made-to-order espressos. The lounge provides club-level guests with daily access to a club breakfast, light snacks, hors d’oeuvres, evening desserts, lunch, cocktails and club level only exclusive events. On my first night, the club held a wine pouring with Nappa and Sonoma Valley wine purveyors. Guests were mesmerized with the taste of signature vineyard grapes that are often exclusive and not open to the public. Along with the wine pouring was a food presentation featuring local Nicasio Cheese from a Northern Californian dairy farm, a signature dish inspired by Napa and Sonoma, paired with Napa white wine for “an incredible fondue.”
A true pleasure to experience was the signature caviar service that the club offers every Saturday evening. Gabrielle de Gray serves black pearl caviar (from a paddlefish that inhabit Californians coastal waters) in beautiful, abalone shells. A taste that is incredibly harmonizing when served on their house-made blinis or toast points. Accompanying the luxury salt-cured fish eggs, I decided on freshly diced egg yolk, egg white, capers, chives, red onion and fresh lemon. Such a remarkable few nights left my mouth, mind and senses yearning for a longer foray into the culinary decadence inside the Ritz. If there is anything to say that can encapsulate the Ritz-Carlton, San Francisco club level experience it’s this: wherever your west coast travels take you, the Ritz-Carlton is a one-stop destination hotel that is not to be missed.