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The Scarlet Huntington 4.0

Nob Hill, San Francisco, California

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Review Summary

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Pros

  • Convenient Nob Hill location close to sights, Grace Cathedral, Huntington Park
  • Boutique hotel with historical cachet and plush atmosphere
  • Comfortable, spacious rooms, many with spectacular city views
  • Traditional and timeless Big 4 restaurant with railroad memorabilia
  • Top-notch spa with whirlpool, steam rooms, and saunas
  • Infinity pool, fitness center, and sundeck with excellent views
  • Large bathrooms and luxe bath products
  • Nightly turndown service includes two free bottles of water 
  • Free weekday car service

Cons

  • Daily charge for Wi-Fi feels chintzy at this price point
  • Very expensive valet parking
  • Some noise from adjoining rooms
  • Pool not available to guests under 16
  • Very limited fitness room
  • No minibar or coffeemaker in rooms

Bottom Line

Atop Nob Hill, the upscale 134-room Scarlet Huntington has a classic pedigree with a new look. One of San Francisco’s old-school favorites, this property was purchased by a Singapore group that updated it in 2014 with a sexy, ritzy aesthetic heavy on lush red velvet, silk, and leather. Some of the spacious guest rooms have a new modern look, while many maintain their Old-World charm. The Nob Hill Spa is one of the most popular in the city, and the clubby Big 4 restaurant retains its classic atmosphere. Nob Hill has great city views, and the hotel is walking distance to Union Square, Chinatown, and Fisherman’s Wharf. Be aware, though, that any walk includes very steep hills. For true old–San Francisco elegance at the same price point, consider the nearby Fairmont San Francisco.

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Scene

Posh boutique hotel with lush lobby and traditional restaurant attracting a mature clientele

This posh boutique hotel includes a traditional pub, Big 4 restaurant, which attracts a mature clientele

Nob Hill, San Francisco's swankiest neighborhood, is home to many of its grandest hotels -- stately old buildings with cavernous marble-filled lobbies and hundreds of rooms. The elegant Scarlet Huntington blends in with these neighbors yet stands out for being intimate and unassuming. Opened in 1924 as a luxury apartment tower, the 12-story, ivy-covered brick building was converted into a hotel right after World War II. The newly reimagined lobby has striking red velvet and leather seating, tufted red velvet walls, and an eye-catching asymmetrical purple velvet couch. But it retains its travertine floors and hand-carved door. Some loyal, longtime guests find the changes off-putting, but this older crowd still patronizes the hushed Big 4 restaurant. The hotel attracts mature guests and isn’t family friendly, as reflected by the policy that forbids children under 16 from using the pool.

Location

High up in the quiet, upscale neighborhood of Nob Hill

Map of The Scarlet Huntington

The Scarlet Huntington sits at the southwest edge of Nob Hill, on the corner of California and Taylor Streets. Its high perch means a grand view from nearly every floor (even the outdoor patio at the basement-level spa overlooks the tops of buildings). The downside of such great heights is the effort it takes to get up (and down) the hill. Fortunately a cable car stops at the hotel. Nob Hill is primarily residential with a few luxury hotels mixed in. Excellent local restaurants, bars, and shops are close by in North Beach and over on Russian Hill and Pacific Heights. Chinatown and Union Square are a 10-minute walk downhill and North Beach is a 13-minute walk downhill. By car it’s 10 minutes to Fisherman’s Wharf, 15 minutes to Golden Gate Park, and 15 minutes to the Golden Gate Bridge. It’s a 30-minute taxi ride to San Francisco International Airport (SFO).

Rooms

Spacious rooms with chinoiserie aesthetic and great views but lacking in amenities

The spacious Junior Suite incorporates a luxurious chinoiserie aesthetic full of bold colors and textured fabrics

At 335 square feet, standard rooms at the Scarlet Huntington are larger than the standard San Francisco hotel room and about the same size as the entry-level rooms at higher-priced Nob Hill neighbors. Many rooms have sweeping views, either of the city and the bay beyond or of imposing Grace Cathedral and Huntington Park. Newly renovated rooms have chinoiserie-influenced decor and a bold palette, incorporating gold, fuchsia, teal, and tangerine hues. Fabrics like imitation snakeskin, leather, and satin add loads of texture. The comfortable beds have high-end linens and pillow-top mattresses, but no down duvets, a surprising absence. Rooms have 32-inch flat-screen TVs with cable and iPod docks, but no coffeemakers or minibars, just empty mini-fridges -- another surprising shortcoming. Most rooms have spacious marble bathrooms with shower/tub combos and rainfall showerheads. Two robes and luxe L’Occitane bath products are nice perks. Antiquated air-conditioning controls are hard to adjust, and Wi-Fi costs extra per day.

Features

Excellent spa, popular and swanky Big 4 restaurant, business center, car service

The excellent Nob Hill Spa, located across three levels, includes a pool with floor-to-ceiling windows

The Nob Hill Spa is one of the Scarlet Huntington’s best features. The three-level space starts on the ground floor and goes underground, but even so its breezy sundeck looks down over rooftops. The spa offers a full menu of services and has an indoor infinity pool, a whirlpool, steam rooms, and saunas that are free for guests. But this spa -- including the pool -- is only open to guests 16 and over. The fitness center is a bit limited with just two treadmills, one elliptical, one bike, and a set of free weights. Named for the four tycoons who built the Central Pacific Railroad, the clubby Big 4 restaurant is a swanky affair with green leather booths, dim (some say too dim) lighting, dark wood, and railroad memorabilia. The hotel has a business center with two PCs and free internet use and printing, as well as 2,500 square feet of flexible meeting space. Daily valet parking is very expensive, and in-room Wi-Fi costs extra. There's free car service weekdays within a one-mile radius.

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Things You Should Know About The Scarlet Huntington

Address

1075 California Street, San Francisco, California 94108, United States

Phone

(415) 474-5400

Also Known As

  • The Huntington Hotel
  • The Huntington Hotel Nob Hill
  • The Huntington Hotel & Nob Hill Spa

Room Types

  • City View Suite
  • Deluxe Room
  • Luxury Room
  • Mulholland Suite
  • Park View Room
  • Park View Suite
  • Star Suite
  • Superior Room
  • Two Bedroom Suite

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