One thing that you do when you live in “the country” is make trips to “the city” for various things that you don’t have in your country locale. So today I’m doing an overnight to San Francisco for shopping and a doctor appointment.
Depending on traffic, we are about 3.5 to 4 hours from downtown San Francisco. We usually stay at the San Francisco Marriott Marquis on Mission, but evidently there is a giant Oracle convention in town and rates were jacked up to $750 a night for a standard room and no rooms on points available (in other words, Marriott is saying unless you are here with the convention, don’t book with us). So, we are trying the JW Marriott Union Square up on Mason. The rates there were also ridiculous ($550 for standard room) but we are using 40,000 points (which is a lot, but I have over 300,000 points so I might as well use them).
Being a frequent visitor to San Francisco, we have always had a “base” hotel where we stay. For years, it was Campton Place off of Union Square. Everyone from the doormen to the reception knew us by name. Then they changed owners and became Taj Campton Place and it all changed, so we migrated to the Sir Francis Drake Hotel, where the doormen knew us etc…until Borders Books closed down. This was our favorite spot on a San Francisco shopping trip–giant bookstore, family full of geeks, always left with arm loads of books after browsing to our hearts content. When they closed down
we just couldn’t bear staying at the Sir Francis Drake across the street any more; you’d walk out the front door and BAM–the fact that the bookstore was gone hit you right in the face. By then I had been Gold in Marriott’s Loyalty Program for many years, so we migrated over to the Marriott Marquis. This is a hotel with a corporate feel, but the rooms are lovely, we like the Marriott Club, the beds are comfortable, and the employees extremely nice. Plus, much of our shopping migrated from Union Square over the years to the Westfield Mall right by the hotel.
Getting to the hotel was an annoying adventure of traffic. My appointment ended at 3:45 near Burlingame. Due to an accident on the 101, we hit rush hour traffic right in the heart of San Francisco. That, plus a street near the hotel closed for some nonsense for the Oracle World convention, and anothe street closed for construction, and we didn’t get to the hotel until 5:30. Mr. Travelholic was driving and was not a happy camper and swore we were never, ever come to San Francisco for shopping again. I hope he gets over it…
In any event, checking into the JW Marriott Union Square was a breeze. I’ll have a full review of the hotel later this week. We changed out of our car clothes and hit the streets. First stop was Sunglass Hut to replace the 9 year old Maui Jims that finally fell apart. Super friendly staff and they had just the pair I was looking for. Next stop was Victoria’s Secret to try to find elusive all-cotton but pretty underwear for the tropics (way better selection than our smaller local one; same for the Sunglass Hut) and then finally to the Taj Mahal of Sephora’s, also on Powell’s. We have a small Sephora in the JC Penney’s where I live and it probably has one sixth of the selection. Speaking of loyalty programs, Sephora has a great one for makeup addicts and I was overdue for my birthday gift, so yay me. I also got my favorite face cream, Clairn’s HydraQuench, which is amazing all day under makeup and has SPF 15 so it’s awesome for my upcoming cruise! Finally, I’m trying a new Murad creme for my neck, because much like Nora Ephron and every other woman my age, I feel bad about my neck. Do you think my expectations are too high for it to take 10 years off my neck in the 4 days before my cruise?
Next stop, Westfield Mall for Nordstrom’s Petite department. Remember, I’m the Tiny Travelholic, and so regular size clothes just don’t fit me–waist, hems, shoulder’s, none of it fits right. Nordstrom’s here has (for me) the best quality Petite department in all of California (Macy’s here is also very good for Petities, with the largest selection; it just depends what you are looking for). I wanted to check the end-of-season sales rack to see if I could score any bargains for the cruise. I did! A sleeveless lined (lined! A miracle) shell I can wear to dinner with black pants and the absolutely cutest Nic & Zoe dress, scooped neck and cut beautifully for a gal with hip curves. And, marked down from $248 to $99 dollars. A bargain (although Mr. Travelholic grumbled that there goes $99 he’ll never have again).
Finally, we visited LUSH (fresh handmade cosmetics) on Powell Street on our way back up the hill (no, that is not a type, it’s LUSH not Lush). We got some LUSH Bath Bombs for our luxurious hotel bath, and some purple shampoo for a good friend. Anthony helped us out, and he was a fabulous font of information on LUSH…for instance, the LUSH on Powell was the very first one in the USA, the one on Oxford Street in London is 5 stories tall and not to be missed, and there is a LUSH spa I definitely have to try in NY next time I’m there.
Do you travel for shopping? Do remember the Border’s at Union Square in San Francisco? Do you have a favorite hotel in the San Francisco shopping district? Let me know in the comments section!