Thomas J. Story
San Francisco's new four-star Hotel Vitale is a big deal to be sure: It's the city's first built-from-scratch hotel to open since 2001. But the bigger deal is the restful, contemplative mood the hotel cultivates, with nature-inspired rooms (from $269) that feature spectacular views, glassed-in limestone showers, and custom bedside tables with river stones underneath glass tops.
For those whose culinary curiosity extends even beyond the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market across the street, a copy of Patricia Unterman's San Francisco Food Lover's Guide is in every room. Look high and low for two other favorite features: At street level, Americano restaurant and bar ($$$) showcases chef Paul Arenstam's modern Italian cuisine. And on the rooftop, a spa offers free yoga for guests, plus outdoor tubs overlooking the bay. Breathe deeply, and relax.
Hotel Vitale (8 Mission St., San Francisco; www.hotelvitale.com or 415/278-3700)