Disappointed with the Campton Place Hotel
Although I booked my room at a discounted price, I was still very disappointed with a few things at the Campton Place Hotel. While the staff was very professional and extremely courteous, I was a little annoyed that I was charged so much for parking - $38 plus a $5 "parking tax"! And, I sent a fax out and was surprised to see a $5 fee for sending it on my bill. When sending the fax, no one told me that I would be charged for it. I was surprised since most luxury hotels either do such things complimentary or notify you of a service charge. However, the rooms were very well appointed, the bathrooms are very big with a nice dressing area and two sinks, and the service in the bar was great. All in all, it was a pretty great stay until we got our bill and saw the extras that we had been charged!
Very special hotel
My husband and I were in San Francisco on vacation and stayed at the Campton Place for five nights in May 2005. We are seasoned travelers, both for liesure and work, and have stayed at some world class hotels. The Campton Place is definitely right up there with best in class, but it stands out even among those hotels because the service was so exceptional. We felt completely at home there and by the time we left were on a first name basis with the restaurant staff and the bell hops. Yonas, a doorman/valet, is just an incredibly nice and pleasant person and gave us great recommendations and information on where to go to dinner, sightseeing, etc. Thanks, Yonas!
It´s the little touches that really matter in distinguishing one world class hotel from another, and the Campton Place has it!
Good but Small rooms
I stayed before at the Campton Place. I love the location it is literally in the middle of everything.
My only compaint are the rooms, they are very small for the comfort I was looking for.
The staff was very nice. They were very helpful with directions and suggestions.
Valet Parking is expensive and it takes 15-20 minutes to bring your car. Take advantage of the Sleep and Park Promotion.
I would stay here again but would try to book a larger room, I peaked on some others and there was not a big difference but with these sizes and inch was important.
I travel to San Francisco on a fairly regular basis, and I religiously stay at the Campton Place. As a road-warrior, I have never encountered such consistently exemplary hotel service from a non-chain property (i.e Four Seasons, Mandarin Oriental, Peninsula, etc.) The rooms are comfortable in an Asian style with utterly seductive beds and fabulously appointed and equipped bathrooms. Definitely a "boutique" hotel that differentiates itself with the quality of service from the front-desk to the bellman to the bar and housekeeping. Valet parking does in fact cost $43 per night; however, this is consistent with all premium SF hotels.
Very quiet oasis
I stayed at Campton Place last week, January 19, 20, 2005 with my daughters for a girls getaway. It is in the perfect location, close to Union Square and shopping. I have stayed in many of the downtown hotels and this one was VERY quiet, with very comfy beds...in fact we could not believe how late we slept in each morning. The quiet is unusual for a downtown hotel.....the norm is to be awakened by sirens at any odd hour! The rooms were cozy and the bathrooms as noted by others are very large for San Francisco. The decor is in keeping with the newer look of sleek and not fussy...I like a little more old world charm myself. We had a great stay but were able to get a good price on the room through a friend...I don't think I would have enjoyed it as much at the full price!
The SF Food Page
"As Promised ..."
Just so you know, dear reader, my philosophy on food is simple. I simply like the best. Deciding where to eat, or dine, in my beloved city, is not an easy act. The most difficult part is deciding what kind of food you want. Maybe I will share with you some of my favorite places. In the interests of do-abilty, I will stick to the seven by square miles, that is the city.
I am tempted to do it by type of cuisine. Nah, too easy. You will glide over cuisines that are not of interest to you. That would make it too easy on you. Dear reader, do you do know, as I sit here on a snowy night, in a rocker, fire going, feet up, keyboard in lap... I want you to come along with me to the theater of the mind, mine and yours. So put your imagination in the upright position, and buckle your moneybelt.
A small restaurant in North Beach, L'Osteria: Pizza Bianca. Thin crusted, four cheeses, no tomatoes, and shiffenaded shallots. Thats it. How can something this simple taste so good? Very easily. I have done a version at home, and although different, is still good. Back to the Pizza Bianca. White, bianca. No tomatoes, remember? Quatro formmaggi. Thin as a wafer. The shallots lie mysteriously embedded in the thin coating of four cheeses. The crust: I have tasted none better. Crunchy and chewy, and thin. How can that be? you ask. It just is. Life is a contradiction, get used to it. Life is the biggest cause of Death. And put the parmesan down. Do not mess with perfection!
Fine dining. Never finer than at the Dining Room at the Campton Place on Union Square and at Charles on Nob Hill. Reservations are a good idea. I recommend the chef's menu at both places. Be prepared to spend a pretty penny, three hours, plate changes before each course, several waiters/waitresses. For dessert, opt for the fruit and cheese plate, and see food as art. Granny-Smith apples, thinly sliced in a nine to six position, bathed sparingly in lime juice, and flecked with crushed cardamom seeds. Sharp french and italian cheeses accompany the tangy fruit. I am tempted to use a word for it, but am reserving it for the last place.
Chinatown at lunch. Brandy Ho's. The pork dumplings, dripping in a soy sauce, that I suspect contains minced garlic, sugar, lots of vinegar, and green omions, diced paper thin. The pork is succulent, the potsticker is crisp. Doesn't matter what else you have. You will be in a state of mind that no matter what comes after, can change your sense of bon homme. Somebody who speaks French, quick, please tell me, is that correct usage? Not of food, but of the language. The food is perfect.
Two blocks up. Different day, still lunch: The Lichee Garden. Lichee is a fruit I tasted first in India. It shows up there in late summer, and only for a few days. Chilled lichees are an incredibly sensous experience. A stubby and gnarly exterior, dark red. When stripped of its thin skin, it reveals a translucent blue-white pulp, surrounding an inch sized kernel which is deep brown in color. You strip em, you pop em in whole, you whiz around in ecstasy and you pop the kernel out, (Do not bite it! It is very bitter!) Kinda like a far eastern hokey-pokey. Nope, ain't no country fan.
Back to the reataurant. Noise levels are very high. I notice things. Chinese people are very loud. Every one of them has a cell phone. I once saw four customers at the same table, talking each, on their phones! German people are very quiet, Indian men always have their hands in their pockets, and want to talk to you in pvt on chat. Arabs ask you if you have msn. But thats fodder, for a yet unwritten page,
Dim-Sum. I have been told it was invented in Hong Kong, by tea-house owners. A means to keep their customers in. Free stuff, courtesy of Wang Chung, or whatever his name was. Freebies. Finger-foods that are wheeled around on carts. You point, most people here do not speak english, you eat and you pay, Simple as that. You may think I am brave, dear reader. I am, but not brave enough to try the chicken feet. The whatchamacallits and the doohickeys are great! Taro rolls stuffed with shredded marinated pork, pork buns, baked golden brown, a vegetable kabab like thing, containing more marinated pork. Do I detect a theme here? Sorry, too busy wolfing down the thingamajigs!
Or, you can settle for the few traditional chinese lunch items. The house chicken comes with .....lichees. with bell peppr and onions. The lichees retain their sweetness! Excellent choice,
Dinnertime. The Tenderloin. A particulary seedy part of the City. In the heart of it, a great restaurant. A taxi-driver told me about it. Five years ago. It is a self serve place. Nothing is over six dollars. Dinner can be had for nine. It is the best indian food I ever had. I have had dinner in restaurants that are rated five stars in India, where a naan costs five dollars, and worth it. But nothing surpasses this place. Not India, not anywhere. Again, there is a secret here, dear reader, grab some h2o.
A little background. There is a city in India, called Hydrabad. No, Medusas do not go there to bathe, Bear with me. It is largely moslem, and was ruled by a dynasty, the most recent of whom was the Nizam of Hydrabad. I do not know his name, but that was his title. He was the ruler of the land. He was incredibly rich. Sotheby's recently sold a necklace from his diamond collection for 28 million dollars. It was made by Cartier, in 1906. It is called the Nilgiri, local for blue mountains, a nearby range. His heirs are squabbling. The players change, my friend: the stories stay the same. What does this have to do with a hole in the wall reataurant in ess eff? Read on.
A guy with so much money, can afford good chefs, you would think. It's good to be the king, and that sort of thing. And you would be right. He could and did. Some of the recipes they used, go back centuries, to the mountains of western Asia and central Europe. Who knows? Turkey, Afganistan, Tajikistan, and all the cold places in between. One of his chefs came from Lahore in Pakistan. He went back there when he retired. As was his wont, he cooked for his grandchildern, who grew up eating food that had been perfected over centuries.
Now, meet Javed. Proud owner of the restaurant I am talking about. No, you will not know its name. I have enough problems getting a table there already. Javed is related to the chef who worked all his life in the Nizam's kitchen. Javed is, yes, one of his grandsons. He runs a clean, lacklustre eating place. They serve not eighty dishes, but maybe eight. Each one of them is worth twenty-eight million.
Case in point: 'Buna Gosht.' Literally, Roasted Stew. Boneless chunks of lamb. Guess the Nizam did not have strong teeth. Tender, melt in your mouth lamb. Swimming in a fiery sauce. Garlic, ginger, cloves, cinnamon, cardamom, peppers. loads of onions, tomatoes and who knows what else? Javed will not tell you, or me. Its a family secret. The spices are made whole, not crushed. He mixes them in a back room, and only he knows the ratios. Tear off a hunk of the naan, sop it into stew and taste: heaven
The chuck is hand-ground by Joe everyday. You have a choice of a 4, 6 or 8 oz patties.. The bun is a sturdy sourdough, well toasted. It is flecked with sesame seeds. The onions are thinly sliced and cold, the tomatoes are medium sliced and not as cold. The pickle is tart and crunchy. They are all served on the side.
The steak fries (small size @ $2.25 is enough for two). are made from Idaho potatoes. Do not be surprised if you find a few close to 8" long. They are thick, and crisp. What's more, they STAY crisp until you sigh in satisfaction and say, "Man, that was good!" The burger is juicy enough to make a grown man weep. One critic wrote, "Its the kind of place that makes you want to say, 'God bless America!'."
OK, so lets get to the bottom line: What is it called? It is called 'Joe's Cable Car (what else?) Burgers. You gotta taste it to believe it. And yes, you have a choice of five cheeses to topp (ouch!) your burger with. This includes French Bleu. A very important member of the cheese kingdom. I bow to thee, Mighty, smelly and oh-so-sharp Bleu.
On Mission St and Silver Ave