The Clift Royal Sonesta Hotel

495 Geary Street, San Francisco

In 2001, hotelier Ian Schrager tapped French designer Philippe Starck to reconceptualize The Clift Royal Sonesta Hotel’s wildly modern interiors. A complete contrast to the building’s historic facade, the lobby is dark, edgy and filled with a quirky smattering of cool furniture—among them chairs by Ray and Charles Eames, a coffee table by Salvador Dali, and a surreal stool by Renee Marguerite. Upstairs, splashes of lavender brighten more neutral rooms, which feature wheelbarrow-shaped chairs and sleigh beds designed by Starck. Merino wool blankets are primed to battle foggy nights, while MALIN+GOETZ bath products soothe well-traveled skin with natural ingredients and science. Downstairs in the Redwood Room, a see-and-be-seen crowd nurses drinks. The swanky lounge sports sleek backlit shelves, its original redwood paneling, and a bar supposedly crafted from a single redwood tree. Though The Clift sits just up the street from Union Square, it feels far away from the tourists.

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