Every major city has at least one iconic structure that defines its skyline, and San Francisco's is undoubtedly the Golden Gate Bridge. It opened in 1937, with its elegant, Art Deco towers and signature hue -- "international orange" -- dreamed up by architect Irving Morrow. Witnessing the bridge emerge from the fog and shimmer in California's golden sun is a sight to behold from any vantage point -- especially from your hotel room. Here are our picks for stays where knockout views can be had.
1. Cavallo Point
Unless you pitch a tent on the shores of San Fransisco Bay, you'd be hard-pressed to find accommodations with better views of the Golden Gate Bridge. Cavallo Point is a four-and-a-half-pearl hotel located in a state park in Sausalito, in the shadows of the landmark. The property is housed in a converted army base that dates to the 1800s, and the charming lobby feels like the parlor floor of a Victorian home, with a wide front-hall staircase, a fireplace, and tin ceilings. About half of its 142 guest rooms are Historic Rooms, which were former officers' residences, and the rest have contemporary decor. All have enviable skyline views, and some boast picture-perfect views of the bridge. Features here are top-notch, with a handsome restaurant and bar, an excellent spa, and even an art gallery.
2. da Vinci Villa
The three-and-a-half-pearl de Vinci Villa is an affordable stay in tony Russian Hill that offers travelers fantastic value. Decor isn't its selling point -- it's modern, though a bit cookie-cutter -- but the property gets high marks for its ample amenities, which include an outdoor pool. Some of its 136 guest rooms have Golden Gate Bridge views, and the two-bedroom Florentina Suite has a private balcony. All are equipped with Keurig coffeemakers, large desks with ergonomic chairs, bathrobes, and free Wi-Fi, and the hotel features an on-site Chinese restaurant and a spacious fitness center.
3. Hilton San Francisco Union Square
It's fitting that San Francisco's largest hotel -- with a whopping 1,907 guest rooms -- has some of the most expansive vistas of the Golden Gate Bridge in our roundup. The four-pearl Hilton San Francisco Union Square is located on the outskirts of the neighborhood that's part of its name, on the border of the Tenderloin, which can be a little dicey. But the sweeping views of the bridge from top-floor rooms can't be beat. All units contain mini-fridges, Cuisinart coffeemakers, and a generous supply of Peter Thomas Roth toiletries, though some travelers may find the decor a bit bland. The hotel has an on-site restaurant, a heated outdoor pool and whirlpool, a 24-hour gym.
4. Le Meridien San Francisco
This four-pearl hotel is a smart choice for trendy digs in Financial District. Its 360 chic guest rooms all have accent walls of city street maps with a design-savvy spin. Spaces are predominantly sleek gray and white, with bright orange throw pillows and drapes, and furniture with mid-century lines. Views of Golden Gate Bridge that can be seen from some rooms are obstructed, but they're still stellar. All units have minibars, terrycloth bathrobes, and separate seating areas, and some higher-end rooms feature private balconies. The hotel has a 24-hour gym and a stylish bar, and the property connects to the Embarcadero Center via a pedestrian bridge for easy access to a smattering of upscale shops and restaurants.
5. Loews Regency San Francisco
The Loews Regency San Francisco, also located in the Financial District, delivers on giving guests the pampered experience they expect from this luxury chain. The hotel occupies the top 11 floors of a skyscraper that's among San Fran's tallest, and its 158 guest rooms are lavish perches overlooking the city and distant bay. All units contain well-stocked minibars, pillow-top beds, robes, marble bathrooms, and Bushnell binoculars. The Golden Gate Junior Suite has a deep bathtub with a skyline view, and the Presidential Suite has a terrace from which the Golden Gate Bridge and the Oakland Bay Bridge can be seen. Impressive features at this property include a Sky Bridge, a spa and fitness center, and a restaurant that serves up California cuisine and is one of the few eateries in the neighborhood that has continuous service.
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