sanfranciscoI’ve been catching up on things that stacked up during our trip to San Francisco and Palo Alto last week and once again I’d like to jot down a few things about the trip and some recommendations (just sticking with SF for this post).

I have to give serious kudos to the Omni Hotel in San Francisco for making our three day stay there an absolute dream. It was so nice that I didn’t just post a review to one review site, I posted two (well, it will be two if Trip Advisor gets my review up at some point in the near future)! In any case, you could tell that they “got it” at this hotel and hired, trained and kept a fantastic staff that is genuinely friendly and do their jobs better than any hotel I’ve stayed at. I don’t know how they do it, but they should bottle it and sell it!

On the other side, BART needs to put in a ticketing system (at least at the airport) that tells their customers how much they need to pay to ride from where they’re at to the station they want to go to. It’s stupid to ask a tourist to try to figure out how to use the system to print a ticket worth a fare that is written on a piece of paper on the kiosk. Mind you, I was able to get our tickets without trouble (I’ve ridden BART before), but everyone else at the airport kiosks was standing and staring…FAIL! Interestingly, our only other bad customer service situation, was at the airport again. As we were waiting at the gate for our plane to board, the Delta gate agent got on the PA and went through a several minute discourse about how the plane was coming in for a quick turnaround and how we all needed to hurry on, obey the carry-on restrictions and that (oh, the horror) the biz class passengers wouldn’t even be able to get a pre-flight drink because she was in such a hurry to turn the plane. Well, I noticed she didn’t check on anyone’s carry-on, she rushed everyone so quickly that after she scanned out boarding passes we only walked 10 feet before we ran into the line stacked back up the jet way and I think I even saw the biz cabin folks sipping on drinks as we shuffled past. Since the flight was stuck at the gate for at least another 10 minutes after everyone finally boarded, I have to say that the gate agent essentially did a fantastic job of setting low expectations that she managed to deliver impeccably – wish she had taken a lesson from the Omni! BTW, the flight crew might have, as they were polite and the pilots kept us well informed through out the flight.

Sorry, for rambling on about those couple of negatives, here are some recommendations from our delightful trip to San Francisco:

  • Lodging – Omni San Francisco – great service, great property, great location.
  • Dining – Perbacco – we went here on a recommendation from friends. Another great service experience, we highly recommend their Salumi and Pastas – delish!
  • Dining – Aqua – this is actually just a suggestion to stop in, have a drink at the bar and rub shoulders with the movers and shakers of San Francisco. We took an aperitivo here before heading next door to Perbacco and it was a perfect start to our evening!
  • Activity – MUNI – best way to get around San Francisco, buy a multi-day pass for the most convenience, and you still get to ride the cable cars (little K’s favorite part of the entire trip).
  • Activity – Yerba Buena Gardens – this was certainly on of the other top highlights of San Francisco for little K, she loved the playground, the grass and particularly the fact that the carousel had a bunny that she could ride!

Oh, one last tip for those traveling to San Francisco in July, the old saying “the coldest winter I ever spent was a summer in San Francisco” is definitely true, thank goodness we packed enough warm clothes and we didn’t have to purchase sweatshirts like many we saw!

Photo credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/grope4mac/ / CC BY 2.0