In a bustling city like San Francisco that’s an icon for tourists worldwide, scoring a hotel room for under $250 is nearly impossible. But as the city’s "Indian summer" -- the months of September and October when temperatures hike into the 80s -- tapers off, hotel rates plummet.
A great example is Hotel Vitale, a 200-room luxury boutique hotel on the Embarcadero, where it meets Mission Street in the SoMa neighborhood. Here, starting weekend rates drop as low as $209 and top off at $272 come November. This is a 30 percent off savings on the best available rate using the code "weekend” when booking online -- not a bad deal considering each room's comfy cornflower-blue duvet, free WiFi access, spacious bath, and LCD flat-screen television. Guests are also treated to free coffee and tea service each morning among the cozy, woodsy accents of the lobby. Elsewhere within the property, the five-year-old Joie de Vivre property is swathed in neutral, nature-inspired hues in of blue, green, and brown. Hallways are dimly lit, evoking a spa vibe (and, yes, there indeed is a spa on the penthouse level).
But perhaps the best perk at this hotel are its fifth- and seventh-floor terraces, where views of the Bay Bridge and the Ferry Building are spectacular. While there isn’t any food or drink service, anything you’d like to imbibe or nibble on can be brought to these tranquil spaces. (Case in point: I unpacked hearty sandwiches from Molinari’s, an Italian deli in the North Beach neighborhood.) Plus, this means you won't feel pressured to order off a menu when it's the vistas that you're really after.
For dining onsite, Americano is the hotel’s all-day dining space on the ground floor. With a new chef at the helm this fall, the menu is in tinkering phase -- transitioning to small plates and craft cocktails -- but promises to be flush with farm-fresh foods, a reflection of the Ferry Building across the street where artisan food and drink purveyors have set up shop. In fact, many plates at Americano are born out of what’s sold at the Ferry Building Farmers Market.