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Home Away from Home - Serrano Hotel in San Francisco

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The Serrano Hotel is in a stately building on a trendy downtown street in San Francisco, two and a half blocks from the famous Union Square. Taylor Street is happily devoid of crowds and feels nearly residential, much like the hotel. In the rooms, tall windows let in the Californian sunlight and the restaurant next door serves delicious casual food. If hotels were given a comfort rating, taking into account the people, ambiance, food, beds and conveniences, Serrano would receive 5 comfort stars.

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ARRIVAL

When I was a child I dreamed of living in a hotel. There is a magical quality to picking up a phone and having delicious food delivered by well-mannered people who say, “What else can I do for you?” To me, forever a suburbanite, waking up to a city view meant a day filled with touristy excitement. As an adult, I maintain that vacations are magical, but have learned that all hotels are not really livable. Photos don't always tell the complete story. Serrano is comfortable, which makes it livable.

The lobby has seating conducive to relaxing or conversing. Morning coffee and tea is served in Serrano’s great room every day. The lobby impressed me with its stark contrast to convention hotels where guests often have to deal with long check-in lines and noisy seating areas that are mainly meant to be a holding pen for the masses. At Serrano, the atmosphere is relaxed, not rushed.

On the front desk's counter, you’ll notice a fish bowl that is home to two adorable goldfish. When I asked if there was a story behind the fish, the friendly clerk told me that once a 10-year-old guest fell in love with a previous occupant of the fish tank and named him “Mario.” When the little boy couldn't bear to leave Mario behind, the hotel (with parental permission) gave the fish to him to take home. Mario’s replacement is also named Mario. This story is a great example of how the people who work here really love what they do and care about each guest. This attitude shows!

ROOMS

My husband and I stayed in a luxury suite, which I highly recommend. Our suite consisted of a bedroom with a king bed, a large bathroom and a roomy sitting room. In urban areas, smaller rooms are the norm and upgrading to a suite is, in my opinion, the only way to go. When you choose a suite at Serrano, you’ll get a room on a higher floor with a better view of San Francisco. You’ll also get considerably more space. For business travelers, a separate living area provides the luxury of separating where you work from where you sleep. For those on vacation, more space in which to relax after an exhausting day of sight-seeing can be icing on the cake.

Some suites have a jetted tub. If you like a hot bath at the end of the day, ask for one of these. Serrano Hotel’s beds, high-end Frette linens, robes and towels are fantastic – some of the best I've experienced.

DINING

Jasper’s Corner Tap and Kitchen is located next to Serrano Hotel. San Francisco is known for how seriously it takes cuisine and the city is filled with great places to eat. You can’t beat the convenience of an award-winning restaurant next door, though. Jasper’s won TripAdvisor’s Certificate of Excellence in 2013. The restaurant provides the food for room service as well – a huge plus. I've personally tried the pretzel with cheese dip and sliders. Both were delicious.

At night and on the weekends, Jasper’s is a favorite of locals for beer and cocktails. Their imaginative signature cocktails are described in artistic detail on large chalkboards in the bar area. These special drinks change all the time, so be sure to check in every time you visit the city to see what’s new.

MY RECOMMENDATION

Book your room! Serrano has a residential feel, large suites and pays attention to comfort details like beds and linens.

For more information on Serrano Hotel or to book a stay, please visit their website. To connect with the hotel, visit their Facebook or Google + Page.

Examiner’s Note: Thank you to John Sevilla for arranging our stay.

Please write to me at lori@travelbylori.com. My husband, David, and I occasionally create luxury hotel video reviews for our YouTube channel, Travel by Lori. See them by visiting http://www.YouTube.com/TravelbyLori.

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