Fairmont Heritage Place, Ghirardelli Square Rating: 4.5 Pearls
Fisherman's Wharf, San Francisco, California

Oyster Review Summary

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Pros

Cons

  • No on-site restaurant (but free breakfast)
  • Far from downtown
  • No spa

Bottom Line

Luxury vacation rental meets upscale hotel at the city's best, if most expensive, residence-style lodging. The Ghirardelli Square factory setting has plenty of character, while modern one-, two-, and three-bedroom units feel like designer model homes with top-of-the-line amenities. Maserati car service, personal grocery shopping, 24-hour butlers, and free breakfasts are among service highlights.

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 Scene

Huge, top-of-the-line accommodations, polished and extensive service, and a modern design housed in a unique, historic setting makes this pricey, residential-style spot one of the best in town.

A historic setting coupled with modern design
A historic setting coupled with modern design

The Fairmont Heritage's 53 units are housed in the corner of Ghirardelli Square, so discreetly built into the historic factory that they could easily be overlooked if you didn't know about them. Opened in 2008, this property is a polished gem in one of the city's oldest landmarks -- a former chocolate factory built in 1893 and placed on the National Historic Register in 1982. It stopped operating as a factory long ago, but it's still best known for its chocolate shops and the Ghirardelli ice cream shop, and is marked by huge, lit "Ghirardelli" signs.

The one-, two-, and three-bedroom units -- owned as time-shares and sometimes leased for short-term rentals -- are outfitted with some of the best technology, appliances, and furnishings. Full kitchens have near-professional quality appliances, including wine refrigerators, J.A. Henckels knives, and Wolf gas ranges. All have large living rooms with 42-inch, flat-screen TVs and huge fireplaces with hearths, while the bedrooms have super high-end beds and linens.

Unlike most vacation rentals or time-shares, you get over-the-top service here, including 24-hour butlers, twice daily housekeeping, nightly turndown, personal grocery shopping, and free car service in a Maserati Quattroporte. The free daily breakfast is impressive as well. So even if other facilities are minimal -- there's a fitness center and Internet kiosks instead of a full business center -- it still comes off as a wonderful combination of the best of both worlds: a fully furnished apartment with the kind of pampering service you usually get only at the best luxury hotels.

 Service

Extensive services surpass San Francisco's best hotels.

Free car service in house Maserati
Free car service in house Maserati

Though in many ways this feels more like a residence than a hotel, it's not short on any hotel service. In fact, it far surpasses most hotels in the city with 24-hour butlers (who do everything from taking your shoes to be shined to packing your luggage), plus free trips in the house Maserati, coddling attention from uniformed doormen who memorize guests' names seemingly before they've arrived, and twice daily housekeeping that includes Ghirardelli-laced turndown service.

  • Free Maserati car service anywhere within two miles; first come, first serve
  • 24-hour butler and concierge services
  • Sit-down check-in, hotel walk-through tour, and an introduction to room facilities upon arrival
  • Twice daily room service, including turndown with Ghirardelli chocolates
  • Room service available from a few of the surrounding restaurants in Ghirardelli Square
  • Daily newspaper delivery to rooms
  • Free use of BMW bicycles
  • Valet parking for a fee

 Location

Located on the cornerstone of Ghirardelli Square near Fisherman's Wharf

The Fairmont Heritage Place is a beacon of luxury on the fringes of otherwise kitschy Fisherman's Wharf, San Francisco's most infamous tourist trap. It's built into Ghirardelli Square, full of highbrow shops and restaurants, and, though the Ghirardelli factory has long since moved, there's no shortage of chocolates in the city's flagship store and ice cream shop (watch out for fudge-covered kids running around the square, post-sundae). The Fisherman's Wharf neighborhood is loaded with cheap souvenir shops, seafood stands, street performers, and aggressive salesmen pitching boat tours to overwhelmed crowds of tourists, but Ghirardelli Square is generally out of the way of the area's most trying crowds. It's also conveniently located near the docks where ferries leave for Alcatraz, Sausalito, and Tiburon, and about two blocks from the terminus of the Powell-Mason cable car line, which connects to the farther reaches of the city, like Union Square and Nob Hill.

  • Directly next to the Cannery at Fisherman's Wharf, an outdoor shopping and dining complex
  • Located in historic Ghirardelli Square, a chocolate factory in 1893, now full of high-end restaurants, shopping, and wine-tasting
  • A 30-minute stroll on the boardwalk or a quick ride on the F-line streetcar (one block from the hotel) takes you to fancy waterside restaurants at the Embarcadero
  • North Beach (San Francisco's Little Italy) is a 10-minute walk up the hill.
  • Roughly 3.5 miles to Golden Gate Bridge (for public transportation, the 28 and 29 buses are the best bet)
  • Golden Gate Park is more than five miles away
  • 25 minutes by cab, to San Francisco International Airport (SFO)

 Rooms

Huge, modern, residential-style units feature full kitchens and high-end amenities

Huge, luxe, apartment-style units
Huge, luxe, apartment-style units

The Fairmont Heritage's one-, two-, and three-bedroom units are right up there with the best luxury rooms in the city. They feel more like apartments -- with full kitchens, dining tables, and fully furnished living rooms featuring gaslit fireplaces -- and so impeccably styled you feel like you're in a model home. You may not even want to sit down for fear of mussing up the couch's perfectly fluffed pillows, or touch the magazines, which have been carefully arranged "just so." The modern amenities and décor avoid seeming cookie-cutter thanks to the Ghirardelli Square building's beautiful exposed brick walls and hardwood floors, and views of the city or bay provide excellent light and atmosphere. There's not much to dislike here.

  • One-, two-, or three-bedroom bay or city view units range from about 850 to 1,800 square feet ("huge" in layman's terms), with high ceilings that make them feel like city lofts.
  • Sumptuous beds have pillow-top mattresses, super-high-thread-count Mascioni designer Italian sheets, and down comforters.
  • Fully equipped kitchens with Sub-Zero and Wolf appliances, including gas ranges, wine refrigerators, dishwashers, microwaves, coffeemakers, and full sets of cookware, dishes, and even a set of J.A. Henckels knives
  • Queen-size sofabeds
  • Huge master bathrooms with soaking tubs, standing showers, separate rooms for toilets, large vanity areas, and Molton Brown toiletries
  • 42-inch, flat-screen TVs in living room and bedrooms with HD Direct TV, pay-per-view movies, and DVD players (extensive selection of DVDs can be borrowed for free)
  • Media system includes DVD and CD players, iPod connectivity, and Parasound Xantech surround sound
  • Bosch washer and dryer in every unit, with free detergent and dryer sheets provided
  • Some Bay View Rooms have large private terraces alongside the Mustard Terrace, a huge outdoor space with two large gas fireplaces and impressive views over Ghirardelli Square and San Francisco Bay.

 Features

Lots of perks and services make up for minimal facilities.

Outdoor Mustard Terrace with bay views
Outdoor Mustard Terrace with bay views

There is a slew of free services and perks. An included daily continental breakfast (that's better than many you'd pay for at other hotels), car service (in a Maserati, no less!), butler service, grocery shopping ... the list continues, placing the Fairmont Heritage above the common business center/fitness center package offered at most urban hotels.

  • Free continental breakfast, with an impressive spread, served in the lounge
  • Free house Maserati Quattroporte car service within two miles
  • Lounge and attached Nursery Terrace feature free coffee and tea all day, a 52-inch, flat-screen TV and an assortment of newspapers.
  • Free use of the fitness center
  • Mustard Terrace, a huge outdoor terrace with impressive views over Ghirardelli Square and San Francisco Bay, has two large, outdoor gas fireplaces.
  • Free DVD collection for guest rental
  • Free wine tasting passes for Ghirardelli Square wine shops
  • Internet kiosks located near the lobby for computer, Internet, and printing (no full-service business center)
  • Free Wi-Fi throughout property

 Family

Great choice for families given huge units and personal service

Fun, kid-friendly Ghirardelli location
Fun, kid-friendly Ghirardelli location

Huge, well-furnished units in which kids can watch the latest Pixar on a 40-plus-inch, flat-screen TV next to the fire, eat at a dining table from a custom-stocked kitchen, and sleep in a bedroom separate from the master bedroom, make the Fairmont Heritage an excellent family lodging.

  • Units are huge, quiet, and have full kitchens, washer-and-dryer units, and up-to-date technology to entertain kids; free DVD rentals.
  • Foldout couches in living rooms and additional bedrooms with options for two twin beds or a king bed
  • Highly personalized service -- they'll stock the kitchen with your favorite groceries
  • Free cribs (no rollaways -- but with extra bedrooms and foldout couches, you don't need them)
  • Fun location near tourist activities in Ghirardelli Square and Fisherman's Wharf; great ice cream just yards from the room
  • Child care can be arranged with 24-hour's notice, at additional cost.

 Cleanliness

Spotless

The Fairmont Heritage opened in 2008 and units look and feel new. Private and public spaces are spotless and well-maintained by thorough housekeeping.

 Food

No on-site restaurant; free continental breakfast; room service from nearby restaurants

Free, generous continental breakfast
Free, generous continental breakfast

Though the Fairmont Heritage Place doesn't have its own restaurant, the hotel will arrange room service from restaurants in Ghirardelli Square. The free, daily continental breakfast features an impressive spread, and the hotel will arrange for personal shoppers to stock groceries in the units' fully furnished kitchens.

  • Free continental breakfast served in the lounge
  • Fully furnished kitchens; hotel staff will stock them with groceries before or during guests' stays
  • Room service available during dinner hours from several restaurants in Ghirardelli Square

 Bottom Line

Luxury vacation rental meets upscale hotel at the city's best, if most expensive, residence-style lodging. The Ghirardelli Square factory setting has plenty of character, while modern one-, two-, and three-bedroom units feel like designer model homes with top-of-the-line amenities. Maserati car service, personal grocery shopping, 24-hour butlers, and free breakfasts are among service highlights.

Things You Should Know About Fairmont Heritage Place, Ghirardelli Square

Address

  • 900 North Point Street, San Francisco, CA, 94109, US

Hotel is Also (or Was Formerly) Known As

  • Fairmont Hotel San Francisco
  • Fairmont San Francisco

Room Types

  • One Bedroom Residence Bay View
  • One Bedroom Residence City View
  • Three Bedroom Residence City View
  • Two Bedroom Residence Bay View
  • Two Bedroom Residence City View

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Hotel Features

Number of Rooms: 53
Fitness Center: Yes
Internet: Yes
Pets Allowed: Yes
Cribs: Yes
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Hotel Information

Location: Fisherman's Wharf, San Francisco
Address: 900 North Point Street, San Francisco, CA, 94109, US
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