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A weekend of luxury in San Francisco

A cable car.
A cable car.
Freddy Sherman

San Francisco is a great weekend getaway destination, located within a few hours of many Western cities by car or plane. With a nice selection of luxury hotels, great shopping and fabulous restaurants, it has a luxury travel infrastructure that will please even the most discerning visitor. As a former boom town, built on the riches of the California Gold Rush, it retains some spectacular palace hotels and mansions built to serve those newly wealthy citizens.

Fly or drive into the beautiful city by the bay on a Friday. For airline passengers, the area's BART train system includes a stop inside the airport, taking you into downtown San Francisco in 25 minutes. For a luxury driving experience in San Francisco, rent a beautiful Audi A8 L from the Exotic Car Collection by Enterprise (233 Ellis Street).

For the city's best accommodations, choose the Nob Hill area and the classic InterContinental Mark Hopkins San Francisco (999 California Street). Built after the 1906 earthquake, the neighborhood, then and now, is one of the city's most exclusive, as is the hotel. The Mark, as it's known, sits high on a hill, providing dramatic views of the city and the Bay to the guest rooms and suites.

For dinner, a visit to the Four Seasons San Francisco's rustically delicious MKT Restaurant (757 Market Street) offering quality farm-to-table cuisine. That means the chefs personally work with the region's ranchers and farmers to choose fresh, local items, from meats and cheeses to vegetables. They are then freshly prepared, so the food comes directly from the farms it's grown on.

A tour of the city's Haas-Lilienthal House (2007 Franklin Street) is a good way to start a Saturday, offering a realistic view of how a wealthy Victorian family would have lived. Luxury shopping would probably be a good thing to do on a Saturday afternoon and the Union Square shopping area and surrounding streets have some of the best shopping in the country. All the big luxury brands are represented with Chanel (156 Geary Street) and Tiffany and Co. (350 Post Street) being two highlights with spectacular, showcase locations. For a great dinner combined with some serious local history, Tadich Grill (240 California Street) has been feeding locals since 1849 and continues to offer some of the best, authentic food in the city.

For Sunday Champagne Brunch in San Francisco there is but one "best place to go" and it's the Top of The Mark, the restaurant high atop the InterContinental Mark Hopkins. Sunday Champagne brunch with jetliner views is served from 10 AM - 1 PM. A great end-of-day drive up to the Marin Headlands in the Audi, which offers postcard views of the Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz, the Bay and the city skyline makes for a perfect ending to a weekend getaway in San Francisco.

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