December 9, 2011

San Fran With The Fam


A San Francisco Family Trip—Done Right!

By Clint White


My wife Marilou is a classic San Francisco-to-Manhattan transplant. She embodies all of the great things about the City by the Bay, but after 17 years, two sons and a burgeoning career, she’s an NYC girl now. But, this means we make at least two trips a year out to San Fran so that Grandma and Grandpa can spend some quality time with Liam and Quin–along with their many cousins.  Through these trips, we ultimately stay well-connected to the Left Coast.

Since we have officially outgrown my wife’s childhood bedroom (pink paint and all) in the Balboa Park area, we have turned these trips into an opportunity to experience San Francisco as cultural tourists. We have found that among the most important first steps in planning such a trip is choosing where you will be headquartered.

On our last trip, we stayed in the magnificent Ritz Carlton, located on stately (and steep!) Nob Hill with convenient access to everything, including a short drive or BART trip to Chez Grandma. Furthermore, this is the type of hotel you dream about—the staff makes you feel extraordinarily welcome, and are at-the-ready to make your trip a pleasure, regardless of whether you are a business traveler or a family. They provide the ultimate in personalized service, comfort and luxury.

We tried their Family Fun Explorer package which made it really easy and convenient to relax and enjoy San Francisco. It includes accommodations–we upgraded to the Club Floor suite to spread out and enjoy the great lounge with food and drinks on-hand throughout the day–as well as complimentary meals for children. A major benefit is the two adult City Passes (worth almost $140 alone) in includes, which got us on the Cable Cars, Muni Trains (Liam’s favorite), admission to California Academy of SciencesAquarium of the Bay, SFMOMA (our favorite), de Young Museum or Exploratorium, as well as one-hour Bay Cruise Adventure or 30 minute RocketBoat rides. It’s great because you get to skip most lines with CityPASS. All of this mixed in with the inevitable family parties and events gives the trip needed balance that we all appreciated.

Perhaps most memorable of all though, Marilou’s birthday happened to fall during this trip and we found it the perfect chance to indulge in a nice long dinner at the Dining Room, with Grandma and Grandpa upstairs watching the boys. The tasting menu with wine pairings feature the best local ingredients from the farmers markets, prepared in a creative way that gives the evening an adventurous feel, which is always good when you have been married for awhile!

For more information, visit ritzcarlton.com. Rates begin from $489 per night with a three night minimum stay required and is currently offered through April 31, 2012.

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