What an interesting 24 hours ! My Aunt’s 80th birthday was on MLK day and she asked that we have lunch with her in San Francisco to celebrate . The stars aligned and we were able to make it happen. Not without some twists. Have you ever missed a flight ? I booked a really cheap flight and looked at the 2nd stop departure thinking it was my takeoff time . When I checked the flight I saw that it was departing in an hour. Knowing there was probably zero chance of making it , I tried anyway . I actually got to the airport at 710am for a 735am take off time and they wouldn’t let me go through security and head to the gate . To my surprise they rebooked me but I would travel to Chicago first and into San Francisco arriving at midnight (no charge and I had a basic economy ticket) . I missed a day. However I still made it for my Aunt’s birthday .
San Francisco in 24 hours … I met my husband at midnight, we slept then got up and went to pier 39 to see the sea lions . We took a cable car (F) train there for $3/per person. It took about 20 minutes from the Palace Hotel and if you ask for a ticket you can use it for 90 minutes on other rides.
The seals were wrestling and pushing each other off the platforms . It looked like they were playing . It is about 50 degrees here , chilly.
We got back to meet my aunt at the Palace Hotel’s Garden Court . We had a nice lunch and I met her friends and travel buddies . My cousin was there as well . The hotel is very classy, San Francisco-y.
About the Palace hotel, the building originated in 1875 by a shaky banker and was the tallest building in San Francisco for more than a decade according to Wikipedia. In 1906 an earthquake and subsequent fire did major damage and what stands today is a restoration reopening from 1909. The garden court is the centerpiece and has soaring glass ceilings and is decorated with elaborate chandeliers and marble columns.
The entry way to the hotel has this arched ceiling and more spectacular chandliers. The glass doors also have an elaborate decorative trim.
The corridors are very nicely done with a soft color scheme and updated carpet in a unique design. The lighted chandeliers and sconces are a little more modern with the drum shade shape and the doors look like they are older being made of solid wood with fancy brass door nobs. The detailed molding in the hallway adds character. Inside the rooms are very tall which is a surprise when you walk in to at least 12 foot or higher ceilings.
I also loved the artwork around the hotel. There is a mix and a lot of it is from the 1950s. I enjoyed seeing black and white pictures of young Americans and the clothing of that time period. This particular picture is one of my favorites.
There is a lounge called the Pied piper. The painting in there is an original commissioned from artist Maxfield Parrish for the 1909 reopening. He was paid $6000 for his art and it measures 6ft by 16ft. The painting depicts the tale of the Pied Piper leading citizens out of the town of Hamelin, Germany (Wikidpedia). It has moved 3 times once during the prohibition period. The hotel tried to sell the painting and as a result to major opposition it was restored and brought to it’s rightful place…an amazing piece of history ❤
After a really nice lunch (I had a Thai chicken salad and my husband had braised ribs) and in the spirit of my aunt who loves to travel and explore, we went to Fort Point to view the Golden Gate Bridge. This time we took an Uber .
What can you say about the Golden Gate Bridge? It is spectacular! We have been across before and toured Muir Woods and Sausalito, there was no time this trip . We saw surfers catching waves in their wetsuits . I spotted a light house on the pacific side of the bridge and as per usual we couldn’t get to it and it was closed for the Martin Luther King holiday .
Next stop, Ghiradelli square to purchase the famous San Francisco chocolate for the kids.
We had dinner at the Water Bar. Hoping for pacific fish, I ended up with a tasty striped bass from Maryland. I do like bass, we thought being on the pacific side there would be more pacific options. We had an amazing view of the bay bridge which is lit up at night .
Back to Houston early . Again United was good to me, changed my flight to make it back to Houston ahead of the winter storm. The airport is closed tomorrow due to weather !