The Taj Campton Place, San Francisco is charming and sophisicated Barbara Kingstone March 7, 2011 Hotels, North America, United States Taj Campton Place Hotel in San Francisco, one of the world’ leading hotel groups, has managed to maintained the charm and service that has made the Indian Taj hotel’s name synonymous with perfection. Although this century old building has had several personas, first a bank followed by a series of hotels, this property has developed into one of the most sophisticated boutique hotel s for both the business and leisure clients. Doormen, to me, are like an introduction to a book and here the first chapter was splendid as the friendly and most helpful young men insisted on carrying even my smallest bag saying that I must be exhausted from the trip, and indeed, I was. And this echoed to the reception area where there was immediate service. For a 110 room hotel, there’s a feeling of being much smaller and truly a refuge from the busy streets. However, with their location just minutes from the renowned Union Square, where there is constant activity, ultimately this gives any hotel guest the choice of either stress- free or shopping spree mode. Here you’ll find every top designer label shop that one could desire, fine restaurants and cafes, art galleries galore, also the famous Gump’s and so close to the cable car stops. What I liked particularly at the Taj Campton Place was the well chosen art on the walls, however leaving enough ecru painted wall space so that it wasn’t overwhelming with bad décor as some hotels insist on doing. For some reason, many hotels feel that every inch must be covered with either paintings, prints, objects, pattern wall paper and anything to cover-up space. My first hint that this was my style of decoration was at the front desk where three Matisse prints –black lined on neutral color- hung from the cream wall which I soon realized is the color scheme throughout the hotel. That was fine with me as I see this palette as a backdrop for some of the ‘boomers’ in their most colorful, flamboyant wardrobes. And who wouldn’t be impressed by the well chosen art on loan from a near-by gallery? While I was there, there were two replacements, both remarkable and pricey. The sparse but well selected artworks continued into the guest rooms where even in the limestone bathroom, a small Matisse print was the only décor. In the small area at the end of the entrance even the floral arrangement wouldn’t have caused anyone with a sensitivity to flowers to sneeze but this lovely single important floral arrangement was stylish without the feeling of being in a colorful jungle. The small comfortable public area looked more like a living room than part of the lobby. As for the guest rooms they are not large, but comfortable and the deco could be described as shabby chic without it being too shabby or too cutting edge contemporary. Since Taj means crown, the logo is embossed on the beige hallway carpets which again adds to the tradition that Taj hotels like to have echoed in their hotels. However, all that said, there were a few unexpected flaws. For instance, seeing that there was an espresso machine one naturally assumed that it is an offering of the hotel. Not so. There was a charge for the tea bags and coffee capsules and our Bose radio control was nowhere to be found. However with so much to do in this city, it wasn’t a major faux pas and I didn’t bother asking housekeeping or reception for a replacement. But there were excellent offerings too. From early morning 6-8am, urns of coffee and tea are available gratis for guest in the fine looking bistro just off the lobby area. The busy housekeeping staff makes sure that the tissue box and amenities by Molton Brown never run out, that the rooms are made up by mid morning. And how ‘delicious’ each night to crawl into bed with very high thread count linens. Another major plus is that the fitness centre is on the roof of the hotel and interestingly. It isn’t a room but an enclosed tented area with clear panels so that seeing the amazing skyline is a great diversion from endless walking on the up- to-minute treadmills. Continuing with the positives is that one of this city of foodies’ fine restaurants is in the Taj Campton Hotel. And special was returning back each day it was a delight to have the door man say, “welcome back” and mean it.