Whether celebrating something special or treating yourself to a day of indulgence, when you’re looking for luxury you have plenty to choose from in San Francisco.

There is no better way to begin an opulent day in San Francisco than breakfast at the Terrace Restaurant at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel. “Sophisticated, casual attire” — and reservations — are recommended for this indoor-outdoor dining experience that can’t be duplicated anywhere else in the city. If you’re there on a Sunday, you will have the added enjoyment of their Jazz Brunch; a long time favorite of local residents.

The ultimate luxury for many people is a day at the spa, and for the best in indulgent-yet-unique spa treatments, try Kamalaspa, one of only a few spas in the city located in Union Square.

Kamalaspa is strongly influenced by Indian culture and the practice of ayurveda, one of the world’s oldest preventative health techniques. Clients receive an ayurvedic diagnosis before beginning any treatment, and Kamalaspa has just about every kind of spa treatment one could wish for. From a rice milk massage or an herbal body treatment to the ultimate decadent spa experience: a ninety-minute, four-handed massage with not one, but two trained masseurs. Especially intriguing are the couples’ offerings, which start with a simple couples’ massage and only get better, and the spa packages, which can take anywhere from 75 minutes to five hours.

Next, head to Union Square- one of the preeminent places to shop in San Francisco. Here you will find it all; from antiques and art galleries to Tiffany’s, Saks Fifth Avenue, and Williams-Sonoma — not to mention clothiers including Armani, Versace, Ferragamo, Louis Vitton, and Kate Spade.

If shopping or spa treatments aren’t your thing, you can catch a matinee performance at one of the many theatres in town. The American Conservatory Theatre (A.C.T.) is walking distance from Union Square and offers matinees on Wednesdays, Saturdays, and Sundays. A.C.T. boasts a world-renown actor training program; maybe you’ll see the next Annette Bening or Denzel Washington, both of whom are A.C.T. alumni.

For dance enthusiasts, try the San Francisco Ballet at the beautiful War Memorial Opera House. The Ballet offers a wide range of programs including a much beloved Nutcracker at Christmas and – in spring 2008 – a Tribute to Jerome Robbins that will please not only ballet enthusiasts, but musical theatre buffs. And for opera lovers, the San Francisco Opera is outstanding, even offering programs such as “The Magic Flute for Families” as they continue to work to expand opera appreciation beyond its traditional audience.

However you spend your afternoon, make sure to make it to the dock at Pier 3 in time to board your Hornblower Dinner Dance Cruise. This three hour cruise shows you the sights of San Francisco Bay by moonlight and starlight, complete with a delicious meal. Make sure to upgrade your dinner dance package to include filet mignon and champagne.

Afterwards, head to the Bubble Lounge Champagne Bar, often voted one of the most romantic bars in the city. They offer a warm ambience, a gigantic assortment of champagne (rumored to be over 300 varietals!), a long martini list, and many other cocktails. If you’re not a big champagne drinker, try the Pink Tiara or French Tickler martinis, which are delicious and always popular.

To make your day complete, check into the Fairmont- the Queen of San Francisco hostelry for 100 years. Try the Romantic Rendez-Vous Package for you and that special someone; it includes rose petals, sparkling wine, and a candlelit dinner served in the privacy of your sumptuous room – the ideal package for a night or a weekend of luxury in San Francisco.


What & Where:

The Terrace at The Ritz-Carlton (600 Stockton Street at California St; 415-773-6198)
Kamalaspa: A Day Spa and Salon (240 Stockton St, 7th Floor; 415-217-7700)
American Conservatory Theatre (ACT) (415 Geary St; 415-749-2ACT)
San Francisco Ballet (301 Van Ness Ave; 415-865-2000)
San Francisco Opera (301 Van Ness Ave; 415-864-3330)
Hornblower San Francisco Dinner Dance Cruise (1-888-HORNBLOWER)
Bubble Lounge Champagne Bar (714 Montgomery St; 415-434-4204)
The Fairmont, San Francisco (950 Mason Street; 800-257-7544)