Concierge.com's insider take:
The flagship property of the Joie de Vivre chain, the Vitale promotes California-style serenity with free daily yoga classes—often held in the penthouse studio—and private soaking tubs in the spa's rooftop garden. The 199 rooms have a Zen aesthetic, with a sprig of lavender outside every door; a palette of soft blues, greens, and beiges; and streamlined modern furnishings. Extras like mud masks in the minibar help inspire a meditative mood. For the best views, it's worth springing for a waterfront room, with sweeping vistas of the Bay Bridge. At happy hour, head downstairs to the lounge at Americano, the hotel's restaurant, which has a thriving singles scene.—Updated by John Vlahides
From the editors of Condé Nast Traveler:The most striking aspect of Joie de Vivre's first luxury property might be the rooftop deck's million-dollar view of San Francisco Bay. Indeed, the disparate halves of the city converge at this 199-room hotel on the revitalized Embarcadero waterfront. For corporate types, flat-screen TVs and a cozy penthouse-level spa supply the requisite convenience and coddling. For earthy types, lavender-scented hallways are lit by leaf-patterned panels that suggest forest canopies, and complimentary yoga classes are held in the penthouse studio. In a city with dozens of outstanding dining options, the Americano restaurant has itself become a destination. 2006 Hot List
When to go: December, when Christmas lights illuminate the shops of nearby Union Square and the palm trees along the Embarcadero waterfront.
Which room to book: Nos. 516, 616, and 716—circular suites with deep soaking tubs and panoramic bay views (doubles, $299–$699).
Amenities: 24-hour Room Service, Bar/lounge, Gym, SpaSubscribe now to Condé Nast Traveler for just $1 an issue! ›