Luxury should have no borders, and should not be slotted into silos. Look at fashion – advertising for Dior, Dolce & Gabbana, Prada, Versace and the like are less about frocks than lifestyle, as are promotional images for Audemars Piguet and Rolex. Why, it is plausible to ask, are luxury hotels therefore so stuck in the Middle Ages?
Above is a book that was in my room at Four Seasons Hotel San Francisco (Kinfolk, it turns out, is a modern-luxury, skip-the-frills-and-chandeliers philosophy led by Nathan Williams, a minimalistic and basic disciple from Portland OR). But this has been a with-it hotel from the moment it opened in 2001. For a start, the 277-room hotel is integral with 104 owned residences. Yes, now every new hotel seems to have its own residences, but 17 years ago this was rare. Even more unique was to be sandwiched, marsupial style, in a 40-floor building that also has a gigantic two-floor Equinox fitness centre.
Let us consider what else makes it modern luxury. There is stunning modern art, Rothko style but much brighter, in public areas (all the interiors, by the way, are Meyer Davis). The lobby flows through a lounge and a bar on into MarKeT restaurant which, like those earlier spaces, doubles as co-working, with superb WiFi and electric sockets everywhere. There is no delineation. You can work anywhere. Or not.
You feel comfortable here. Be creative, if you want – the Do Not Disturb doorknob sign says ‘currently working on my next start-up’ although you are actually having the world’s longest soak, luxuriating in the Erno Laszlo toiletries (see a video of suite 1626, below). Look out of one of the end windows, over part of the Moscone Center: turn slightly left to what will be more residences, also branded Four Seasons, a gleaming 45-floor mirrored block connected to a 1903 heritage house, built in 1903 for Abraham Aronson.
Actually the Four Seasons name is going to be even better known, if that is possible. Four Seasons Hotel San Francisco at Embarcardero opens this May (like THIS gorgeous luxury hotel it is owned by Westbook Partners). THAT one is actually the senior. It started out life in 1987 as Mandarin Oriental, became Loews in 2015 and now, third time lucky. Meanwhile, it could be hard to bear Four Seasons Hotel San Francisco, the original, a luxury hotel that really understands what busy travellers want. NOW SEE SUITE 1626