Mandarin Oriental, San Francisco
San Franciscans are obsessed with views, and the Mandarin Oriental indulges them: its 158 guest rooms occupy the 38th to 48th floors of a downtown tower that’s the third tallest, at present, in the city (the lobby and restaurant are down at ground level). This means top-of-the-world views, and the rooms are ranked in price accordingly. With all the eye candy outside, the management could skimp on the décor, but everything in the hotel has been done up in warm reds and golds, making the rooms feel like cozy aeries. And the windows open—only about six inches, but if you need fresh air, that’s enough.
Tip: If you’re prone to vertigo, avoid any room in the eastern end of the dumbbell-shaped hotel above the 39th floor: to get from the elevator bank to them, you have to traverse a glass-walled skybridge.
Room to Book: Room 4811 (or any room ending in the number 11) has bridge-to-bridge views. That’s from the Golden Gate Bridge all the way around the bay to the Bay Bridge and beyond to Twin Peaks. You’ll pay for those vistas, of course; 2008 rates start at about $840 per night.