At first glance, Four Seasons Hotel San Francisco at Embarcadero and its older sibling Four Seasons Hotel San Francisco have a lot in common. Separated by a mere half mile, the two lavish properties share an overall design aesthetic that exudes refinement and Northern California charm.
But when you peer a little closer, you see the distinctions. Four Seasons Hotel San Francisco is an imposing 277-room structure with a spa and a nearly 7,000-square-foot ballroom. Embarcadero goes more intimate with its elegance, registering at just 155 rooms. Taking up the top 11 floors of a 48-story building, San Francisco’s tallest hotel provides unforgettable views of the city, world-class cuisine and urban serenity. For these reasons alone, a visit here makes for a marvelous San Francisco stay right now.
Seasoned San Francisco travelers may remember this Sansome Street address as a Mandarin Oriental or Loews Regency before becoming a Four Seasons in 2020. After a multimillion-dollar renovation was completed in 2022, though, Four Seasons Hotel Embarcadero shed any prior ties and proudly embraced a more natural (wood floors, sun-lit spaces) and local-focused (soft oranges are reminiscent of the Golden Gate Bridge) feel.
The white-and-black-colored, honeycomb-tiled rounded lobby radiates a subtle coolness, almost like a bay breeze. Polished metal banisters and shiny sconces harken back to the city’s gold rush days. None of this is done with a heavy hand, yet all of it is done with intention.
Once you get to the private spaces, you realize the only thing that can match the rooms’ literal place in the sky is interior design firm Marzipan’s creative heights. Each of the hotel’s 127 rooms and 28 suites has something to make you swoon. In the 20 coveted corner suites, the windows frame the Transamerica Pyramid and San Francisco Bay so wonderfully that pictures from any angle will look like the work of professionals. Move your gaze from the cityscape and you’ll notice a 575-square-foot room outfitted with a sitting area, bedside drape controls and a marble-floored bathroom with a soaking tub and Codage Paris toiletries.
Should you need more space, the Golden Gate Terrace Suite provides 1,200 square feet of interior spoils and a furnished terrace perfect for pointing out Alcatraz, Coit Tower and other landmarks.
Pours and Plates
The beverage program at Four Seasons Hotel Embarcadero is astounding. You’ll find the Bay Area-based St. George gin in your room’s private bar. But if you’re thinking about something of the zero-proof variety, look for the housemade pepino (“cucumber”) lemonade at the gratis refreshment stand near the elevators. The green-tinted citrus treat is so invigorating, you’ll wonder how you can smuggle a gallon of it home in your carry-on bag.
At Orafo, the hotel’s signature California-Italian restaurant, start your meal with Karl the Fog, a smoky VSOP- and rum-powered cocktail that’s prepared tableside with a small torch.
The photogenic drink complements the housemade pastas. And we’re not talking about some predictable penne dish here, either. Some of chef Gunnar Planter’s most impressive preparations include a satisfying duck sugo orecchiette and a squid ink linguine you’ll be talking about for days. For something heartier, try the bistecca, a juicy, Florentine-style steak topped with chimichurri — we suggest adding on the broccolini and fluffy potatoes.
As much fun as you’ll have inside the San Francisco hotel, there’s equal joy in exploring all that’s outside the Four Seasons’ doors. Walk eight minutes west of the property and you run into Chinatown. By the time you buckle your seatbelt in the Uber, you will have already arrived at Fisherman’s Wharf. Union Square and the Golden State Warriors’ Chase Center are but quick jaunts from your room, too.
And if you have your heart set on exploring Oakland or Berkeley, you’ll avoid at least some of the I-80 traffic because the Bay Bridge is barely a mile from the lobby.