A few weekends ago, I went up to San Francisco to conduct an on-site interview with Pixar story artist Josh Cooley. While there, I was able to stay a few days at one of my very favorite places – Clift Hotel, a gorgeous luxury hotel designed by the one and only Philippe Starck. The San Francisco property opened in 2001 and, ever since then, it has really made a statement on what a hotel experience should be like. In fact, all you have to do is walk into its hotel lobby to feel like you're being whisked away into another world.
The room's soaring ceilings are the perfect backdrop for the collection of custom-made furniture including the ever-present Big Arm Chair, a Starck-designed enormously overscale gilt and bronze chair that's been upholstered with antique French tapestry. Best part? Visitors are encouraged to interact with the piece – making the hotel less like a museum and more like Alice's Wonderland. (Tip: Next time you're there look underneath the chair for a wonderful surprise.)
Gaze around the room and among other fantastic pieces you'll see a concierge desk by renowned 20th century French designer, Jean Nouvel, along with a classic Charles Eames chair, a bronze and marble coffee table by Salvador Dali topped by a Carrara marble egg, and a green, whimsical Magritta stool by Sebastian Matta. With its iconic black bowler and green apple, this chair is a subtle homage to surrealist artist Ren Magritte.
Of course, it just wouldn't be right unless I showed you some photos of the actual hotel rooms which are wonderfully calming in their beautiful shades of pale gray, ivory and lavender. You'll want to spend all of your time in their enormous English sycamore sleigh bed which is unbelievably comfortable. The pop of color in the room is found in the transparent orange plexiglass night tables which were made to make you feel as though you're constantly experiencing a beautiful sunset.
If I could have a second place in San Francisco, it would be at the Clift. The place is lovely through and through.