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A Tour of the Historic Golden Gate Hotel

Last month I was invited to tour San Francisco's historic Golden Gate Hotel. The 23-room boutique hotel was built in 1913 and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places as a "Contributing Building in the Lower Nob Hill Apartment Hotel District." Located less than a block from the Powell Street Cable Car line, and just a couple of blocks from Union Square and Chinatown, the Golden Gate Hotel is an ideal place to stay when visiting San Francisco.

When I entered the hotel, I immediately felt right at home. There's a quaint charm about it, and I was warmly greeted by the concierge, Halim, who has been with the Golden Gate Hotel since the 1980s.

My first stop on the tour was the parlor, where complimentary breakfast and afternoon tea are served daily.

Next, I went for a ride in the hotel's 1916 Van Emon birdcage elevator that's adorned with gold filigree and adorable animal paintings. Stepping inside made me feel like I'd been transported back in time.

I then took a peek inside some of the guest rooms. Each room is decorated in a different design. Guests can choose a room with a private, en-suite bathroom (some have original claw-foot tubs) or a European-style room with a separate, shared bathroom down the hall.

I was also told of a friendly ghost that has been known to make an appearance in room 301. Unfortunately, the room was occupied so I wasn't able to go inside. Guess I'll just have to come back for a stay sometime.

While wandering the halls, I admired the hotel's collection of historical photographs, and their choice of carpet. I love a good floral pattern!

Then I stumbled across this hammer and nails propped up against a wall. I assumed they'd been left behind after some recent maintenance work, and I worried that they might fall on the toes of a passing guest. But upon closer inspection I noticed something unusual about them. Can you see it? Look closely. They're not real! It's a"trompe l'oeil"(French for "deceivee the eye") painting. Very convincing!

While speaking with Halim, I learned that the late actor, Douglas Wilmer, best known for playing Sherlock Holmes in the 1965 BBC series "Sherlock Holmes," was once a guest at the hotel.

After his stay at the Golden Gate, he wrote this letter to Halim:

"Dear Halim,

We were very sad to leave the Golden Gate. The Kenestons and you were really kind to us and it made all the difference to our stay in San Francisco. Anne and I would like to thank you very much and, as a small token of our appreciation, I send the tape as promised in the hope that you will enjoy it.

Yours (still in jet-lag!) sincerely, Douglas Wilmer"

I ended my tour of the Golden Gate Hotel with their afternoon tea time. It was delightful! There was a wonderful assortment of homemade cookies and desserts and the tea was just what I needed to wind down for the afternoon. I'm a sucker for sweet treats and anything reminiscent of a bygone era, so this experience at the Golden Gate Hotel was right up my alley.

If you'll be visiting San Francisco, or if you live here and need a staycation, I highly recommend the Golden Gate Hotel. It's cozy, charming, historic, affordable, and in an excellent location with easy access to some of San Francisco's most popular sites. And if it's good enough for Sherlock Holmes, it's good enough for me!

You can get 20% off a future stay by booking your reservation here:

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