Extended stays at exotic locations should be on everyone’s travel bucket list (who wouldn’t want to spend a month-long honeymoon in Tahiti?), but don’t underestimate the power of the classic weekend getaway. Escaping your regular schedule for a few days, exploring a new area, and treating yourself to room service in a luxury hotel is more than enough to recharge your batteries and indulge in some alone time with your significant other. For couples in need of a destination with colorful culture, gorgeous views, and a fantastic food scene, spending a romantic weekend in San Francisco is the perfect option. The City by the Bay is lively and eclectic, but without the stressful hustle and bustle of other cosmopolitan regions. Fill your itinerary with these places and activities for an unforgettable San Francisco weekend.
Where to stay:
Begin your weekend by checking in to the iconic Clift Royal Sonesta. A fixture of San Francisco since 1913, the Clift has been a favorite hotel among discerning travelers with an appreciation for history, art, and design. Choose from a variety of accommodations including airy studios, spacious deluxe suites, or go all-out with a private apartment. Room service is a must, and plush beds and sprawling living spaces may tempt you to stay in for the whole weekend (it’s perfectly fine if you do).
What to do:
Take a leisurely stroll through a tantalizing setting by visiting the Aphrodisiacs of the Tropics at the Conservatory of Flowers. This isn’t your average family trip to the botanical gardens. Visitors must be at least 21, and everyone receives a cocktail while meandering through a rainforest of lush blooms. Guides will even teach you about “the sex lives of orchids” and recant tales of botanical love stories focusing on vanilla.
For modern art lovers, date night should include gazing upon Leo Villareal’s monumental light production, also known as The Bay Lights. [Pictured below.] Leo has permanent collections in museums like MoMA in NYC and the Naoshima Contemporary Art Museum in Japan; so, take the opportunity to see one of his creations illuminate the western span of the Bay Bridge.
Of course, no romantic weekend in San Francisco would be complete without a cruise; and there are currently several different cruise options available for Valentine’s Day, including a “Cupid’s Champagne Brunch.”
Where to relax:
If a romantic spa day is on your radar, then book a massage, wetroom treatment with specially designed showerheads, or a luxurious spa bath at Burke Williams Spa immediately. Alternatively, San Francisco’s SenSpa [pictured below] offers indulgent treatments like the “Eucalyptus Escape” with frankincense, orange sugar scrub, and a rain shower rinse, as well as the innovative Somadome – a personal meditation dome to help you reach the deepest state of relaxation.
Where to eat:
Every night of wining and dining in San Francisco should begin with cocktails at the Clift’s historic Redwood Room. The vibe is a fabulous mix of old-world glamour with a sexy edge, and the room is renowned for still having its original paneling – all, sourced from the wood of a single redwood tree. Enjoy a tipple or two, whether you fancy the Redwood Room’s rendition of classic cocktails like the Old Fashioned or Sidecar, or if you prefer to sample San Francisco inspired concoctions like the Gold Rush – a delicious martini-style cocktail with vodka, raspberry syrup, lime juice, and bitters.
The sky is truly the limit when it comes to finding the perfect restaurant in San Fran. If you’d like to continue to enjoy a swanky old-world ambiance, Bix Restaurant is a San Francisco supper club with live jazz music and American-French cuisine. Another French-centric favorite is the multi-award-winning Gary Danko, where couples can enjoy a romantic fine dining experience without the stuffiness and pretense.
For a one-of-a-kind dinner for two, check out Avery in the Fillmore District, where a single tasting menu of nine dishes is served along with a wine list of rare sake and champagne. And if you prefer to indulge in the best of California’s local offerings, Nightbird [pictured below] boasts a boutique tasting menu filled with the region’s freshest ingredients – and their plating is perfection.
With so much to explore, taste, and see, San Francisco will always have something new to offer couples during a romantic weekend, no matter how many times you come back.
>Written by: Lauren Malamala