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Le Meridien San Francisco
333 Battery St.
San Francisco, CA 94111
415-392-1234
http://www.lemeridien.com


Business Savvy
Meetings and More in San Francisco

by Kim Fay

Grand entrance

Just because a hotel caters to business travelers in the heart of a three-piece-suit-filled Financial District doesn’t mean it has to be all pinstripes and briefcases. Check out the Le Meridien San Francisco for proof. Sure, a corporate crowd fills the place up during the week, taking advantage of the extensive business center, stylish meeting rooms and complimentary chauffeur service to nearby destinations. But mingling among the executives are savvy leisure travelers who’ve discovered this tasteful, well-situated secret.

Beyond the massive Doric columns that guard the entrance, a three-story bronze sculpture is designed to impress, encircled by a spiral staircase. And a landscaped pedestrian bridge links the hotel not only to the Federal Reserve Building but also to the Embarcadero Center. Shoppers often drift over to the lobby lounge for afternoon tea (think scones slathered in strawberry preserves and Devonshire cream.) Then there’s the Park Grill, as popular for expense account lunches as it is for its garden terrace, excellent wine and saké list and winemaker dinners.

Stylish guest room

Style-wise, forget about drab corporate colors. Any browns you’ll find here come in rich shades of mocha and caramel, providing a lovely backdrop for greens and taupes, creamy white bedding (particularly striking on the king beds), fresh cut flowers, thoughtfully chosen artwork and Australian lacewood finishings. The guestroom furniture is contemporary, stealing its clean lines from the Arts & Crafts movement, and overall the feel is upscale residential, as if you’re staying in a well-furnished apartment with the added bonus of room service.

When it comes to amenities, they’re top notch, including Nakamichi CD players, high-speed Internet access, 27” flat screen TVs, cordless phone and safes with outlet chargers for your laptop and cell phone. Best of all is that many rooms have private balconies, and the higher up you go, the more dazzling the views of the city and Bay. Corner balconies offer panoramas that sweep dramatically over the skyline and Bay Bridge. For a treat, check into the Park Suite, with a Jacuzzi bath that overlooks the bridge.

Bath with a view

For recreation, there is an on-site fitness center, and guests are welcome to use Club One at Embarcadero Center or the Bay Club swimming pool for a fee. You can also request fitness equipment sent to your room (the same goes for DVD players and fax machines). Otherwise, if you’re looking for a little exercise, step outside and take advantage of one of the most walkable cities in the world. Just a few blocks from the ferry (hop over to Sausalito), North Beach (pasta and red wine) and the California Street Cable Car, the hotel is an excellent luxury option for visitors to the City by the Bay.

(Updated: 06/25/08 HC)


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