It is not too late to take in some of the America’s Cup yachting action this summer. Trials will be running for the next few weeks with the finals in September. The Huntington Hotel on Nob Hill would be an ideal place to stay for such an excursion. By this time the host hotels are sure to be full but you might just find and opening at the understated but very elegant Huntington.
I was amazed at the amount of money and effort that has gone into staging the America’s Cup in San Francisco. A large portion of the Pier Space close to Pier 39 has been totally rebuilt with Oracle and Larry Ellison footing the bill. No doubt the city will benefit for years to come with this transformation. The Louis Vuitton Cup will run from now until August 30. Then the Youth America’s Cup around the first of the month followed by the Americas Cup Finals culminating on September 21.
There are a variety of ways to experience the event including up close on a spectator vessel. Visit AmericasCup.com for complete details. They also have an extensive concert series lined up in conjunction with this summer long extravaganza. Even if you are just watching from the shore the atmosphere will be electric. Especially if Team USA can keep the Cup.
The origins of the Huntington Hotel date back to the Wild West and a group of railroad barons named “The Big Four.” C.P. Huntington, Leland Stanford, Mark Hopkins, and Charles Crocker all built opulent mansions atop Nob Hill. Over the years, the Huntington first became an elegant apartment building before being transformed into a luxury hotel by Newton Cope whose heirs still run the hotel today. The original room sizes were kept in tack making them among the largest in the city. Most of the rooms offer dramatic views of the Bay or the City. This property draws an international crowd many from Europe. The super exclusive Pacific Union Club is directly across the street.
The lobby area is finely decorated and leads to the popular Big 4 Restaurant, which has long been a fixture in San Francisco fine dining. We had dinner there on our stay and the food was excellent. My sautéed petrel sole was expertly prepared and the service was top notch. The décor has a nautical theme paying homage to San Francisco’s rich heritage. The restaurant is open daily for breakfast as well as dinner. Downstairs from the lobby is the Nob Hill spa and pool area. This elegant indoor pool has floor to ceiling glass windows with city views toward Market Street. The Huntington has a variety of hotel packages available and even special rates for California residents. For more information, visit huntingtonhotel.com
The views from Nob Hill are breathtaking in almost every direction. The entire San Francisco Bay is on display. What I find most appealing here is the close proximity to so many things to do. A block below lays famed Powell Street and its cable cars. Just four or five blocks south on Powell is Union Square and all of its luxurious shopping. It you can’t find what you are looking for there it doesn’t exist. Go north on Powell and you can ride a cable car all the way to Fisherman’s Wharf. California Street has another car running from Nob Hill down to the Embarcadero, Financial District, and Ferry Terminals.
Chinatown is a few blocks east on California and is always worth the visit. After a few blocks of this part of town you may not feel like you are in the U.S. anymore. The customs and culture are so authentic and strangely interesting for most Americans. Strike out in any direction from Nob Hill and a wonderful adventure awaits. Make sure to bring comfortable walking shoes as this is the big time in hill walking. The walk back up California Street from Chinatown along with the walk up Powell from Union Square will give even a tri-athlete a good workout.
If you decide to fly give some thought to ExecuCar to and from the airport. They provide a great service with their new fleet of cars and expert drivers. The driver will meet you as you enter the baggage claim area and bring a smooth finish to the trip. Go to ExecuCar.com to make a reservation.