I didn’t just go to Disneyland last week, I also went to San Francisco. I booked myself in to the Palomar Hotel on 4th Street. I did this for two reasons 1) They had a running club in the morning b) They offer free wine in the evening. Turned out I didn’t actually use either of those two things – but I did avail myself of a third service they offer – an in-room goldfish.
His name was Willem de Golding – I know this because he came with a name plaque – and he was brought to my room in his little aerated tank by a handler after reception ‘ordered’ him for me (best moment at a hotel reception ever). I wasn’t to feed him – housekeeping did that – but he was mine to chat to and wiggle my fingers at for the duration of my stay. How cute is that?
Referred to as the Guppy Love programme it’s part of the Kimpton Group who own the Palamor’s aim to make guests feel healthier and less stressed out on their stay. Watching fish swim is renowned for its ability to calm nerves and even lower blood pressure. I didn’t really need de-stressing. I was virtually horizontal by the time I got there but in my world there’s only one answer when a hotel receptionist asks ‘would you like a goldfish?’ In fact, I probably ended up more stressed out because Willem seemed to sleep vertically which involved me regularly having to go up to the tank to check he wasn’t dead. Fears of his demise aside, it was nice to have someone to chat to while pottering about in my dressing gown – even if all he did say was ‘bloop’.
The hotel also has a ‘resident’ pet Labrador, although I only spotted him while I was checking out.
In case any of you are off to San Francisco soon, you could do a lot worse than stay at The Palomar. The room was spacious, spotless and, as I was on the 8th floor and overlooked the Zen Garden courtyard and not the street, completely silent. The staff were truly welcoming and happy to chat – the lovely man on reception (same one who ordered my fish) even called me over on my second night and asked what I’d done with my hair as it looked different (washed it was the slightly worrying answer, though I had used a new conditioner!). The location is right in the shopping district – and about 1 minute away from the huge Westfield Mall. Chinatown is an easy 10-15 minute stroll away, Fisherman’s Wharf about a 30-minute walk. The only tiny thing I didn’t like about it was because it’s near the Tenderloin there are a lot of homeless in the vicinity – I didn’t have any problems with anyone hassling me or being aggresive but when I was on my own I felt a bit on my guard – walking back to the hotel with friends though felt perfectly okay even at night. Also make sure you join the loyalty programme – it gives you free wi-fi and a $10 raid the mini bar card! I don’t think I’ll be back in San Francisco any day soon, but if I do, I know where I’ll be staying. If you think you might like to do the same, click here and you’ll go to the hotel website.
If you like this post, you might also like my travel blog Destination>Differentville which highlights fun, quirky or just plain bonkers sights, ideas and places around the world – there’s lots of cute animal stuff too. Click the link above to check it out.
Main image: Freedigitalphotos.net