Posted on June 27, 2012
Philippe Starck did a number on San Francisco’s Clift Hotel, transforming it from a nearly century-old Art Deco hotel, to an ultra chic wonderland. Two glass doors open, amidst classic stone exterior, to a glowing purple entryway. The sense of scale is striking upon entering, and the soaring lobby contains an eclectic furniture collection with a riot of rich textures and colors.
It’s hard to miss the larger-than-life chair in the center of the lobby, aptly named “Big Arm chair” by Starck himself. Contrary to belief, guests are encouraged to climb on or crawl under the monumental chair, and revel in the childish design surprise. The Big Arm chair is juxtopose with Michel Haillard’s intricate Horn Sofa, and a plexiglass and bronze side chair, designed by Starch and developed by Thierry Goux. At the center of it all lies Salvador Dali’s Leda table, uniting the extraordinary collection of chairs. Cozy up next to the thirty-five-foot fireplace with a bronze chimney sculpture by Gerard Garouste, or relax in the Crystal Farm’s “Elk Gentleman’s Chair,” a rustic piece that manages to drawl together the lobby’s warm vibes.
The contemporary glamor is alluring, and easily enjoyable while sipping a cocktail at the amber wood bar. Located just off the main lobby, is a classic Living Room, furnished with large comfortable velvet sofas. A gallery of formal black and white photographs of plastic toy animals, by renowned artist Jean-Baptiste Mondino, covers the walls. I walk across the exposed concrete lobby to be kindly greeted by the receptionist, and quickly whisked off to the elevator.
Passing the “Angel Chair”, the only chair remaining from the original Clift lobby, designed in 1918, we enter the elevator, on our way to a Standard, 24.15 sqm, room. The beautifully appointed room is brightly lit with a custom Venetian Murano glass lamp, and fantastical furnishings, custom-designed by Philippe Starck. The striking space is complete with a luxurious king size English sycamore bed, accented by velvet, leather chairs. Simply indulging in the deluxe bathrooms MALIN+GOETZ bath amenities was enough to create a lasting impression.
Home to one of California’s most unique collections of designer furniture, Clift Hotel offers an authentic boutique atmosphere despite its 300 rooms. The dream-like composition entices guests to engage in their surroundings, while the monumental scale is the foundation of Clift’s magic.