Located at 950 Mason St. in San Francisco’s snooty Nob Hill neighborhood, The Fairmont Hotel was nearly completed before the 1906 earthquake that leveled much of the city, but needed extensive repairs due to a fire and did not open until 1907.
The building was designed by James and Merritt Reid, with architect/engineer Julia Morgan hired to repair the building. In 1945, the hotel hosted international statesmen for meetings which culminated in the creation of the United Nations. Every US President since Harry S. Truman has stayed here. With a pedigree like that, you’d expect the utmost level of poshness, wouldn’t you? Indeed, the place does not disappoint:
The lobby is gilded wherever possible. Crystal chandeliers and ornately framed mirrors abound:
The real highlight is the Tonga Room & Hurricane Bar, tucked into the basement of the grand hotel and accessible via a side entrance:
This tiki bar experiences tropical storms every 20 minutes and features a lagoon, where the house band performs on a thatch-covered barge. It’s all pretty silly and overpriced, but so much fun!