SAN FRANCISCO ( TheStreet) -- Some think of them as just for rock stars and royalty, those penthouse suites -- the biggest, glitziest rooms a hotel can offer, some with private rooftop outdoor spaces surprisingly rare in San Francisco and therefore even more impressive for personal parties, business meetings or romantic getaways. But some of the best discounts in recent memory are being placed on these high-end rooms, a result of fewer VIPs and hotels looking to fill vacancies. It becomes just a question of which San Francisco suite is the best.
BEST VIEWS, BUT DON'T LOOK AT THE ROOM The Mandarin Oriental is on the upper floors of a high-rise in San Francisco's Financial District, walking distance to the eateries of the Embarcadero and shops of Union Square. Valets trimmed in royal red and mandarin collars and attentive front desk staff welcome guests inside a dark and cavernous lobby -- but that's pretty much the end of the illusion. The fornt desk is next to MO Bar, which has an on-the-fly sushi bar and tapas menu but rather drab interiors that probably benefit from the lack of much natural light. Two elevators service the hotel, which begins on the 38th floor, but they require patience.
Visitors should beware the entry-level rooms closest to the elevator. While each has a plush king-size bed, the rooms are afflicted with a hodge-podge of architecture; one window; and an entry-area closet with too few hangers for even an overnight bag and just two nine-inch drawers for storage. But the room was the cheapest available on a $250 weekend special; a request for a bigger room costs $60 more and brings incredible city views will make you overlook the dated settee with its heavily picked fabric, cherrywood furniture so scratched it looks like it survived a fall off the 42nd floor and wheeled chair that looked like it was dragged from a cubicle on TV's The Office.
|A rendering from San Francisco's Mandarin Oriental hotel suggests its terrific view -- but not some lackluster accommodations in an aging property.|