The City by the Bay is home to a distinct California culture – one that includes global influences, diverse aesthetics, and a rich history. It’s also an idyllic destination for celebrating love. For couples planning a luxury San Francisco wedding, the Clift Royal Sonesta hotel offers an historic setting, eclectic décor, fresh California cuisine, and anticipatory service. Here’s what to expect.
Upon entering the Clift, visitors are met with dark, moody lighting and an artsy vibe. Immediately, the hotel’s enormous “Big Chair” – a signature piece designed by Philippe Starck – stands out, along with several other unique furnishings by artists such as Michel Haillard Horn, William Sawaya, and Salvador Dali. Scattered around the hotel are other beautifully crafted chairs (collectively known as “The Chairs of the Clift”), including the last remaining chair from when the hotel first opened back in 1915. The lobby’s fireplace is also an impressive feature, as it was designed for the flames to reach up to the top of the building’s towering ceiling. Adjacent to the lobby, visitors can meet and mingle in the Living Room, designed by Ralph Lauren.
During the wedding weekend, couples and their guests can check into the Clift’s airy suites or opt for a private apartment. The suites are well-lit and incredibly spacious with separate dining areas, king-sized bedrooms, elegant bathrooms, and dressing areas – an ideal setup for a bride and her bridesmaids during the morning of her wedding. Although food and cocktails are served in the Redwood, Velvet, and Living Room, room service is readily available, whether guests need a cup of coffee in the morning or a full-course dinner with wine at night.
The Event Spaces
At the Clift Royal Sonesta, customization is everything. Based on the size of a couple’s guest list and décor preferences, weddings may be held in various event spaces around the hotel. The world-famous Redwood Room is a stunning space for cocktail hours. Amber lighting illuminates the room’s original Redwood paneling in the most spectacular way (the Redwood Room was created from the wood of a single Redwood tree), and a custom etched Venetian bar adds to the glamour of the space.
Combined with the adjoining Velvet Room, couples can host a seated dinner and reception for up to 150 guests. Within the Velvet room, guests will find 20-foot ceilings, velvet drapes, and handblown Murano glass lamps. This space is especially popular among grooms, as it provides an ambiance of old-world romance and sophistication, but without being overly “frilly.” It only takes a few custom floral arrangements to completely transform the Velvet Room into an elegant wedding reception.
For ceremonies, the Rita & Ava event space can accommodate up to 140 guests and is outfitted with white velvet drapes and etched Venetian mirrors – the perfect foundation for an all-white wedding. While couples often outsource furniture rentals for their weddings at other hotels, the Rita & Ava room provides modern banquet furniture by Philippe Starck if they wish to take advantage of the Clift’s own signature pieces. Formal seated dinners and receptions can also be hosted for 108 guests.
Of course, luxury San Francisco weddings don’t require hundreds of attendees. For more intimate weddings, the Clift’s Spanish Suite has everything a couple needs to host an exquisite and unforgettable wedding celebration. In 1913, the suite served as the private home of Frederick Clift, the hotel’s original owner. Today, the 2300-square-foot space blends period details (wood-paneled walls, a wood-burning fireplace, and oversized crystal chandeliers) with modern luxuries. An indoor parlor ceremony may be followed by cocktails on the suite’s terrace and open-air balcony with breathtaking views of San Francisco, while the parlor is made over into an elegant dinner reception.
From delectable in-house catering to one-of-a-kind furniture and décor, weddings at the Clift Royal Sonesta are truly an unforgettable and bespoke experience. Click here for more information.
>Written by: Lauren Malamala