Urban Delights await at the Fairmont Heritage Ghirardelli
By Kathy Chin Leong
The famous Ghirardelli Square is named after chocolate baron Domenico Ghirardelli who was born in Italty in 1817 and came to San Francisco after a merchant took 600 pounds of his chocolate and sold it in this fair city. Domenico settled in San Francisco, and by the 1900s, he established a chocolate factory on this corner of Beach Street and North Point, on the edge of what is now known as Fisherman's Wharf.
How do I know this? All lore is written in the Residence Service Directory here at the Fairmont Heritage Place, which occupies part of this historic property. This unique residence hotel was opened in 2008, and maintains its historic charm with original brick walls and casement windows that fit into the character of the property.
Today, the site features 53 residences that can be purchased with one-tenth ownerships. It is also available for rent to hotel guests. These include one, two, and three-bedroom accommodations offering anywhere fgrom 800 to 1,900 square feet. One of the staffers told me that many overseas families come here to enjoy the city and particularly enjoy the living room and kitchen facilities that make their stays most comfortable.
You come to expect a certain level of sophistication and quality when it comes to staying at a Fairmont. Many Fairmonts feature signature teas, gargantuan presidential suites, and impeccable lobbies with flourishing flower arrangements so fragrant you can practically smell them a block away.
So for the Fairmont Heritage, its most distinguishing features are the unique residential units that truly become your home away from home. In the 3-bedroom suite we enjoyed for a single night, we reveled in simple things like watching DVDs from the Fairmont's 500-DVD movie collections comprised of children's movies, romantic comedies, thrillers, and more. The staff will deliver movies to your door and even offer you a free packet of microwave popcorn!
Homestay touches are evident in this urban dwelling decorated with lacquer black cabinets, tan walls, pen and ink illustrations of the city, and dark wood floors. A Wolf brand stovetop and oven, Bosch washer/dryer, a stainless steel microwave, Fisher & Paykal dishwasher, even a Sub-Zero wine refrigerator and set of Sub-Zero drawer refrigerator/freezer units that open like cabinet drawers -way cool- rate high on the Sophistication Sensor.
Each of the three bedrooms feature its own bathroom and flat screen TV and telephone. Talk about luxury.
With Herman Miller European bath products, you know you are being spoiled.
Another unique aspect of this Fairmont are the two terraces- one on the second floor with a view of the shopping plaza with a fire pit, and the second is on a higher level that has a spectacular view of the bay and an assortment of sailboats that seem to bob on the water for the pleasure of onlookers.
Of note, this Fairmont offers an incredible wine and appetizer hour that is set up for 4-5 p.m. daily in a private lounge which has a wonderful set of seating areas, tables, and a pool table. On hand are newspapers-New York Times, and USA Today for daily catch up reading. We indulged in the coffee and tea and enjoyed just a taste of the lovely red wine. Appetizers included berries, cheeses, and baguettes.
Guests also come to the lounge in the morning to indulged in an exquisite continental breakfast of coffee, tea, juices, breads, pastries and fruit. What a great way to start the day.
Other amenities? You have a personal butler, pre-arrival grocery purchasing, private chef optons, dry-cleaning and laundry serivces, and dreamy Mascioni Italian linens.
We loved the location and found shopping and restaurants extremely accessible and within walking distance. The Fairmont also has a Cadillac town car to take guests and drop them off wtihin a two-mile radius.We found this very convenient when it came to getting a ride to the Franciscan Crab House, another historic SF icon.
Spending a weekend in San Francisco and don't want to have to drive around? My recommendation: use the Fairmont Heritage Place as your basecamp and hoof it to the Wax Museum, to the ferries, to the various piers, to the Boudin Bakery, and explore Fisherman's Wharf like you have never before.
Fairmont Heritage Place
900 North Point St.
Rates: One bedroom City View: $399-$699
One-Bedroom Bay View Residence: $549-$849
Two-Bedroom Bay View REsidence: $799-$1,099
Three-Bedroom City View Residence: $849 - $1,149