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The Palace Hotel + Travel Packing List for San Francisco

August 31, 2017

Palace Hotel San Francisco | The Beauty Look Book

Today’s post is Part 2 of my San Francisco Travel Diary with a review of the Palace Hotel and my pack list with the Away Bigger Carry-On from their new Stockholm Collection. In past years my husband and I usually stay at the Westin St. Francis on our San Francisco trips because we fell in love with the cute romantic vibe in their Landmark Building. This visit was a girls trip so I decided to try something new decided to give the Palace Hotel a try. The beautiful Garden Court is what sold me – it just looks magical! The reviews looked promising for cleanliness and comfort so I booked a room with 2 double beds. When we checked in they gave us one on the 7th floor with the New Montgomery Street View and it was just perfect. We didn’t hear any street noise and it came with one of the Toto Washlet and with heated seats. The rooms are on the small size which was expected for the city but the room was pristine with comfortable beds, amazingly soft linens, extra towels and really cute turn down service. Upon check-in I was given a small bag of Ghirardelli Chocolates as they have a store right outside the hotel. For me it was a win right from the start!

A look a the entrance:

Palace Hotel San Francisco

We wanted to try the Garden Court for tea but didn’t make it this round, the lighting is just so pretty. If you look up you can see there’s another floor with a room which we assumed was reserved for special events or weddings. We tried to find the door to it but could not.

Palace Hotel San Francisco

Palace Hotel San Francisco

Palace Hotel San Francisco

Away Bigger Carry On in Clay:

Away Bigger Carry On

There is a pool and a nice gym on the 4th floor which we took a peek at – we didn’t get to use it though as each day we did quite a bit of walking. Enough to wear us out completely!

Palace Hotel Pool San Francisco

A look at the room we booked, cute hallways on each floor!

San Francisco Palace Hotel

Double Bed Room:

San Francisco Palace Hotel Room

View from the 7th Floor, New Montgomery Street View:

San Francisco Palace Hotel Room and View

Bathroom and a quick selfie, sweater top from Club Monaco, jeans from Hudson, jacket old style from Joie (similar here and here), flats by Chloe:

San Francisco Palace Hotel Bathroom

What I packed below. As mentioned in Part 1 – both Laura and I under packed for the weather. She flew in from Los Angeles and I flew in from Tampa where the weather is in the high 90s. Our clothes simply were not warm enough for what we’re used to but we made it work by layering. Since 75% of our outfits were too cold we re-wore a lot of our sweaters and pants. I brought the Away Bigger Carry-On in Clay which is the perfect warm clay pink color. It’s part of the Rashida Jones Stockholm collection with 3 limited-edition colors, Packing Cubes and a Stockholm tote. My husband is the organized one who knows all the packing tips and tricks to make life easier so he bought me packing cubes for our Europe trip a few years ago. They do indeed help organize things but they’re not really the most aesthetically pleasing. It’s a minor detail but these Away cubes are the prettiest ones I’ve seen. I’ve already ordered a few more packs.

I didn’t have time to photograph all the outfits I packed and since I didn’t wear everything I’ll list what I fit inside the Bigger Carry-On Size. You can also see this post from spring here and here of what goes inside this size. My pack list, I’ve linked the items I packed as well in case you are curious:

  • 2 pairs of jeans (I usually wear the Paige Verdugo Ankles because they’re good for my height) and 1 pair that I wore on the plane
  • 2 shirts, one long sleeve button down from AG, one off-shoulder top from Rag and Bone
  • 1 brown leather jacket from Joie (old style, similar here and here) and 1 short trench I wore on the plane (from Jcrew, old style, long classic version here)
  • 1 pair of running shoes from Nike
  • 1 pair of flats from Chloe
  • 1 shift dress (old)
  • 2 pairs of yoga pants to sleep/lounge in
  • 4 tank tops to sleep in or layer (I love these from Madewell)
  • 2 sweaters from Club Monaco
  • 1 belt
  • socks and underwear
  • Leica Instant print camera (but I forgot to pack the film!)
  • tech stuff like laptop charger, phone cords etc.
  • makeup and skincare will be listed below

Pack List with Away Bigger Carry On

Before I go into my beauty pack list, here’s a look at the Bigger Carry-On next to the Stockholm Tote. The tote is made of “water-resistant nylon with vegan leather details and featuring a zip top, an exterior pocket, interior laptop sleeve, two interior snap pockets, and a removable zippered pouch that fits the really big iPhone.” I didn’t take it with me on this trip but I wish I had. One of the biggest issues I have with my larger totes is they don’t have good pockets or compartments inside (I should probably invest in an insert at some point!). The Stockholm tote is simple, streamlined and functional with enough pockets to store essentials for easy access. The depth is quite roomy so you don’t have to feel like magazines and your laptop are stuffed inside.

The Bigger Carry On measures 22.7” x 14.7” x 9.6” Weight 7.3 lbs Capacity 46L
The Tote measures 13.5” x 12” x 4.5” and can fit an 11” MacBook, cross body strap drop is 18″

Pack List with Away Bigger Carry On and Stockholm Tote

A look at my suitcase opened with the tote laid on top for size reference. I received the Cactus Packing Cubes from Away and for this trip I only used 3 of the 4 in the set. There are different sizes so you can organize literally everything. Shown below on the left is the Daily Edited Large Cosmetic Case in black (largest one one of the best travel makeup cases I’ve bought!), Leica Sofort, Sony NEX-6 (discontinued, old model), Marc Jacobs Rimless Aviators (current style here). On the right is a Glossier Pouch (you usually get them with your orders), Truffle Mini Clarity Clutch, mophie Powerstation Mini (2,500mAh) – White, Here Magazine and a Sugarfina Cube of Pineapple Candy.

Pack List with Away Bigger Carry On

A few notes if you’re shopping for luggage and missed my previous reviews on Away. I discovered them in 2015 when they only had 1 size (the Carry-On) and have used their suitcases exclusively for the past few years because of the streamlined design, sturdy exterior, charging component in carry-on and for their really good wheels. I’ve literally bought all my loved-ones suitcases as gifts and converted them all to using them as well! I’ve tried both the regular Carry-On which is best for international flights and the Bigger Carry-On which works on most US Domestic Flights. You can see a size comparison with dimensions on their website here which is really helpful – they’ve done the research to help you decide! As a carry-on traveler this really can fit a lot inside because the handles, battery and wheels don’t consume a lot of space on the inside while a lot of other brands do.

I have checked these on occasion even though I usually do carry-ons. My husband has checked his a lot too. They are prone to scuffs and scratches, but really anything you check is bound to get scratched. With mine I used it on 3 back to back flights and it didn’t get any deep scratches. For surface scuffs the team at Away recommends you use a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser and warm water to remove them and for me it works like a charm.

The makeup I brought with me (items that were press samples will be marked with a *)

Travel Beauty

My skincare lineup shown below. Believe it or not all of my liquids did indeed fit inside a single quart size bag. I had to play around with the arrangement like Tetris a few times to make everything fit as I’m a carry-on traveler. If you’ve been following this blog for years, you may remember that I actually made it through a month-long trip in Europe with a carry-on backpack.

Travel Beauty

I missed having my hair dryer, but San Francisco water is so much better than Tampa water – my hair was naturally shiny and smooth during my trip with air drying! I also packed an assortment of tools like makeup brushes, lash curler and hair brush but didn’t photograph them before unpacking. As usual I packed too much – I did use everything I brought in skincare, but makeup was a bit overdone.

Packing for San Francisco

One last look at the beautiful hotel:

Palace Hotel San Francisco

I hope you enjoyed this review of the hotel and what I packed! We had a lovely stay at The Palace Hotel – I’d definitely consider staying here again on my next visit. If you travel to San Francisco occasionally where do you usually stay? Open to any and all recommendations!

P.S. My posting schedule has been a bit off lately as I’m living the nomadic life right now. I’ll be heading to New York, California (again) and back to Florida in September. Florida life recap post is still coming – I know many of you are curious where/why we are moving and I’ll explain more in a future post. Long story short we now get to explore different areas of Florida and it’s been quite an adventure but an unexpectedly great experience. I still cannot believe how BIG Florida is and since moving here and most of my West Coast friends don’t know how spread out everything is. I have to show them maps to explain how long it takes to drive from area to area. Beauty posts to resume soon. I’ve still been putting a lot to the test to review here!

Beauty and skincare press samples indicated with a *. Away Stockholm Collection provided for review. We paid for our room, however a media rate was extended to us by The Palace Hotel for this review. As always all opinions my own.

 

Boutique California Travel

San Francisco Travel Diary

August 30, 2017

San Francisco Travel Diary | The Beauty Look Book

I’m excited to share Part 1 of my San Francisco trip with you today! Last week I went on a mini girls trip to San Francisco with my bestie Laura. It has been around four years since I last visited the city and was thrilled to have a few days to explore, shop and eat. We made a shared Google map listing all the places we wanted to visit and most of them were either bakeries or breakfast places. In total we had around 3 days to see everything so after we made an enormous travel wish list we narrowed our top picks to pace ourselves and give us enough time to chat and catch up since we now live on opposite coasts. We stayed at the Palace Hotel San Francisco which was the first time either of us had visited this hotel. Both of us had a great experience here and loved the customer service – we both agreed that it’s one we would both most likely return to on future San Francisco trips (more on this in Part 2 coming soon).

We covered quite a bit of ground during our stay. I’ve thought about how to share our trip and decided for this post it would be most helpful to share this in a San Francisco in 3 days kind of format. Our trip was really spread over 4 days including travel time, but our actual time in the city was around 3 so if you’re planning a quick trip or extended weekend kind of vacation this might be helpful. We both would have loved to be able to say the entire trip was a hit filled with all amazing experiences. We actually had a few misses, but we didn’t let it spoil our fun. If anything it made for some good memories we can laugh about in the future.

Day 1: Thursday

I flew into San Francisco in the morning and arrived around noon. The trip from SFO to the city was around 35 minutes. We both arrived at different times so I had a few hours to walk around Union Square and stopped by Barneys and Sephora (bought the Milk Blur Liquid Matte Foundation in Golden Sand). After Laura arrived in the city, we walked to the Nespresso Boutique excited for good coffee and a light sandwich but were both extremely disappointed with the poor service and food quality. Both of us have been to Nespresso cafes before so we were shocked at the rude service, dirty tables, incorrect coffee orders and long wait time we experienced after we were seated. Based on our experience I will never be eating here ever again. However we did not let that spoil our spirits and we decided to walk around Union Square to do some window shopping.

San Francisco Palace Hotel | The Beauty Look Book

San Francisco Travel Diary

San Francisco barneys and sephora | The Beauty Look Book

By the time we checked into our hotel room we completely forgot the sour experience at Nespresso as our hotel room was just so adorable and it had the perfect setup. We had a New Montgomery Street view room (around 300 sq feet) on the 7th floor. It was on the small side but the rooms looked like they had been renovated within at least the last year. The bathrooms were modern and everything was clean and pristine inside. The toilet seats were heated and now I want one of my own. More on this lovely hotel in Part 2!

For dinner we met up with one of Laura’s friends at Nopa. All of us fell in love with this place and thought it was well worth the long wait. The restaurant books up pretty fast and by the time I had tried to make reservations there was nothing left! They do have a bar area and shared table which is unreserved and open on a first come first serve basis. We arrived at around 6:10 and every seat was already filled so we waited 30 minutes at the bar and had some drinks before something opened at the shared table. The food was phenomenal and the drinks were amazing. We did some shared plates which was plenty of food for the three of us and I ate the best tomato salad I’ve ever had in my life. Service was quick and professional – if you’re not a fan of crowded restaurants you definitely should make reservations in advance. After dinner we walked around the corner to a small market and bought some cookies for dessert before heading back to the hotel to wind down. At the hotel we both whipped out some sheet masks I had brought while we watched TV until we passed out granny style lol.

Nopa San Francisco

Day 2: Friday

Our priority on this trip was a visit to Tartine Bakery. We had both been here before on separate occasions and fell in love. Tartine is on my must-do list for every SF trip! This round it was every bit as amazing as we had remembered. I got my usual which is a morning bun, croque monsieur and a latte. Laura got her usual which is the ham and cheese croissant but also tried a few other new pastries including a lemon poppy seed cake. We heard that a restaurant opened called Tartine Manufactory but we didn’t make it this round. After breakfast we headed to Alamo Square to see the Painted Ladies – it was such a beautiful area and we were really surprised how many people we already in the park sitting to take in the city views. We spent around 30 minutes sitting and snapping pictures.

Tartine Bakery San Francisco

San Francisco Alamo Square Painted Ladies

San Francisco Alamo Square | The Beauty Look Book

Our next stop was Fillmore Street where we stopped by Space NK and the store is beautiful! If you’re looking for an intimate and quiet place to do some beauty shopping this is it. The staff at the individual stores are always so nice, not pushy and really helpful. I bought a pack of 111SKIN Sheet Masks because I find them life changing. I also picked up a By Terry Glow Expert Duo Stick in Amber Light (excited to try this) along with a Stylo Blackstar in Maroon Glace (also excited to see how this wears!). I convinced Laura to buy a pack of the 111Skin sheet masks as well. She bought the By Terry Hyaluronic Hydra-Primer – I’ll have to ask her what she thinks about it. We wandered around Fillmore a bit more and stumbled across an Atelier Cologne boutique. I had to stop inside as I’ve never seen a full store before. We were helped by an associate named Homer who was one of the most knowledgeable perfume experts I’ve ever met. He was patient, friendly and helped us sample almost everything in the store. I bought Bois Blonde in the travel size. There are also sampler sets you can buy as well in case you can’t smell them all in person. If you can stop by a boutique I highly recommend it, the service is phenomenal and they aren’t pushy at all. These days I find retail shopping can often be an unpleasant experience (outside of Sephora or Nordstrom) with pushy sales reps or reps who don’t know the products well. Both SpaceNK and Atelier Cologne had excellent service with knowledgeable staff that were friendly and fun. Plus the interiors are well maintained and clean!

Space NK Fillmore Street

Space NK Fillmore Street San Francisco

Atelier Cologne San Francisco Store

The day ended with an amazing dinner at Gary Danko. I’ve been here several times with my husband (reservations are highly recommended) and it’s one of the best restaurants I’ve been to with a fancy yet unpretentious atmosphere. The experience is truly special and words cannot explain how lovely this place is.

Day 3: Saturday

We decided this was the day we would do some hiking and get some good photos of the Golden Gate Bridge. Unfortunately it was cloudy everywhere we went! We started the day at Land’s End. It was foggy but still beautiful for a short hike. We started at the Suttro Baths end made it to the half-way point until we reached the steep staircase, took a look at it, decided we didn’t want to go up hill to check out the view on the other side and turned back to look for some food. The total hike was around 2 miles to the half way point and was really easy. Later on the trip my friends told me if I was hiking there to get good views and photos all I had to do was walk to the end and take an Uber to the other side, snap a picture and then fake tell everyone I hiked the whole trail. If it weren’t cloudy and my friend wasn’t expecting I probably would have tried to walk all the way.

Land's End San Francisco

Our food adventures this day were misses. We decided to look for some Bun Mee so Laura googled “best bunmee SF” and we decided to try a place called Saigon Sandwich because it had over 2,800 reviews with a 4.5 star rating. We did not realize this was in the Tenderloin nor did we really know what the Tenderloin was like. We navigated through some pretty rough areas where the streets were filled with drug addicts and twitching people. We both thought there was a chance we’d get stabbed. Still we braved the few blocks to the sandwich shop and both opted for the combination sandwich. This place is a take out kind without seating so we decided to take our sandwiches to Union Square out of the Tenderloin to eat them. Based on the high rave reviews we let down but perhaps we had too high expectations. Neither of us finished our sandwiches – maybe we just got the wrong kind. The meat was flavorless for me and the bread was super crunchy. Laura thought her tooth broke after she took a bite. Since we were in Union Square, we decided our next stop would be Diptyque on Geary Street and it was just so beautiful inside! I had visited the original one on Maiden Lane but they moved locations into a new space. I bought two mini candles to take home as a souvenir in Baies and Verveine.

San Francisco Maiden Lane

Diptyque Geary San Francisco

Diptyque San Francisco Geary

Diptyque San Francisco Geary

By mid-day we decided to search for something sweet and headed to Miette for some pastries. We ended up going to the location with mostly candy and macarons instead of the one with cakes but decided to try the ice cream sandwiches which barely had any taste. We decided after a few bites they weren’t worth the calories and didn’t finish them. As an FYI we went to the Miette on Octavia Street. When we arrived at the store we were told the one at the Ferry Building had a larger selection of cakes and cupcakes so if this is on your list, I’d recommend you go to the one at the Ferry Building instead.

After two semi-fails for food we decided to visit Media Noche which also had high ratings for great Cuban food. I ordered the Lechon Bowl and Laura ordered a Media Noche sandwich with some empanadas. We’re both obsessed with Cuban food and had high hopes. I’d give it a solid B+ rating but the local Cuban sandwich shop in St. Petersburg Florida has pretty much ruined me for life as I now consider this the standard for the best Cuban food I’ve had and to date nothing has come close in comparison. We notices reviews on Yelp complained about the small portions and we found the portions quite generous. The Agua Fresca of the day was quite amazing there, SF has some of the best fresh drinks and juices I’ve ever had.

San Francisco Media Noche and Garden Creamery

We decided to give our food adventures one last try in search for some ice cream. We both had Bi-Rite Creamery on our list (which I’ve already tried and really liked) but there was one right down the street about a block or two away called Garden Creamery which has good reviews and interesting sounding flavors. There was a long line out the door when we arrived but it was probably only a 10 minute wait. They’ll let you sample flavors when you get to the counter and I got two variations of coconut. It was perfectly smooth and creamy without being overly sweet. They also have dairy free vegan options. I liked it enough that I would definitely go back – the flavors are so unique! Little details like that make places special. Just an FYI their “single” option is actually two scoops and you can either get 2 of the same flavor or 2 different ones.

The last part of our day was to try and catch the sunset by the Golden Gate Bridge. We took an Uber directly to the Golden Gate Bridge Welcome Center and much to our dismay the fog had rolled in. The wind was pretty strong so we waited around 30 minutes hoping it would pass as we walked around but had little luck. It was still fun to see the interesting weather.

San Francisco Fog Golden Gate Bridge

San Francisco City View from bridge

Day 4: Sunday

This was our last day together in the city. We started the day off with another visit to Tartine then headed to Golden Gate Park to see the Conservatory of Flowers and California Academy of Sciences which has one of the most impressive aquariums we had ever seen. There’s a fun butterfly exhibit inside their rainforest section with some of the biggest butterflies I’ve ever seen. I didn’t leave until the next day so after saying goodbye to my friend at the hotel I wandered around the city for a few hours to stop by Bloomingdales to pick up the Charlotte Tilbury exclusive lipstick Miss Bloomingdale. I also stopped by Nordstrom and bought one of the Dior Rouge Liquid Lip in Delicate Satin and a MAC Dazzleglass in Sugarrimmed. They had a mini Sugarfina boutique inside so I picked up several cubes of candy as there isn’t one in Tampa. I met up with friends in town that night and we had dinner in the Castro at a cute place called Finn Town which was delicious and I would definitely go back to.

Golden Gate Park San Francisco

San Francisco Conservatory Flowers

California Academy of Sciences

A few other thoughts and notes:

  • Navigating the city: San Francisco is the perfect place you can travel to without a car. It’s actually better not to have one. We got around easily on the Muni, Bart and Uber. Like any major urban city, there are going to be busy times that aren’t ideal for getting around quickly in which case Uber is usually a better option but a lot more expensive. Out of all the big cities I’ve visited, navigating the San Francisco is probably one of the easiest and most straight forward even for a novice traveler.
  • Weather can be unpredictable: Laura flew in from Los Angeles and I flew in from Tampa. Both of us had looked at the weather reports and still under packed by a long shot in terms of warm clothes. We doubled up on our sweaters and long sleeve shirts and even though we had a warm weekend there were times we felt like we were freezing.
  • There’s so much more we wanted to see. There was a lot on our list we didn’t get to but we felt like we accomplished a lot in a short amount of time.
  • Food highlights: Tartine, Nopa and Gary Danko.

I hope you enjoyed this San Francisco roundup! We covered a lot of ground in a few days. Part 2 to follow with a packing list and recap of our stay at the Palace Hotel. Have you done short trips to San Francisco? What are your favorite spots? Any go-to restaurants or bakeries you love?