Sometimes the most spectacular vacations are taken in the back yard of your very own home. I grew up in the Bay Area — even so, we have never experienced the glory of San Francisco as much as we did on our staycation with Four Seasons Hotel San Francisco.
My mother, sister and my two children drove up to the city on a Tuesday morning, leaving the warmth of the South Bay and crossing our fingers as we passed through the typical fog that serves as an entrance gate to the City By the Bay. As it turned out, our warm weather wishes were granted: the fog cleared as we drove into the garage at Four Seasons just off Union Street.
Our five-star experience started there. The valet gentleman knew all of our names, welcoming especially my four-year-old son and two-year-old daughter. In our two-room suite, we were surprised by a beautiful spread of snacks, desserts and even a birthday cupcake for yours truly. The attention to detail and the fact that the staff had remembered my special day (I had briefly mentioned “birthday weekend”) was truly a delight. The kids immediately found their pint-sized terry bathrobes and tested out the beds with their highly specialized, learned expertise.
We rested in the room for a bit, soaking in the huge bathtubs and prancing around the room, snacking on guacamole and Pellegrino — allowing ourselves to feel spoiled and relishing in the moment. A few hours later, we walked down to the Embarcadero and played in the park near Cupid’s Span, chatting with the locals until it was time to head back at dusk.
The five of us snuggled up that night in the king-sized bed with signature ultra-soft sheets, of course, armed with popcorn for a special viewing of “Rio” that doubled as a bedtime story.
The next day, after a huge breakfast — featuring children’s pancakes and the very best almond croissants that I’ve ever tasted — we headed out for the day across the Golden Gate Bridge for an afternoon in Sausalito. The hotel had thoughtfully packed us a lunch.
That night, the five of us dressed up and went for dinner at Seasons Restaurant in the hotel. Our table was perched in the corner of the grand room, five stories up and peering over the glittering city. Although this is an upscale dining experience, the children were welcomed and handed their own menus and crayons. The food was fantastic, the service was full of smiles, the wine was excellent and the dessert blew us all away. Jack and Zoe got to make and decorate their own sundaes, while the adults had the chance to enjoy a rarity: a real conversation. Remember those?
Vacation should be about spending special moments with your loved ones. And vacation should mean taking a reprieve from the daily stresses of life: from bills and worry and messes. I’ve had the opportunity to do this with my husband and children, but it’s been years since I’ve spent quality time with my mom and sister. It was one of the very best times we have spent together, and a memory that I will always hold dear to my heart.
Jessica blogs at mommasgonecity.com
Along with her baby, two young children and husband, Jessica @mommasgonecity recently moved from the Bay Area, California to Manhattan, New York. She started her blog, Momma’s Gone City, to keep in touch with her family and to chronicle her transition into city life. She talks about parenthood, life as a wife of a dental school student and the trials and excitement that come along with living in New York City.
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