Spa Wonders at Scarlet Huntington San Francisco by Emma Krasov

Italian Blood Orange Sea Salt Scrub is currently offered at The Nob Hill Spa at The Scarlet Huntington Hotel in San Francisco as a seasonal treatment through the end of May. Blood oranges are ruby-golden on the outside and crimson-red to deep purple on the inside. These very special fruits are a product of natural mutation, thriving on the volcanic soils of Sicily. They acquire their color from antioxidant pigments, beneficial to human health. I indulged in the invigorating spa treatment that combines full body scrub and massage with the super-powerful mix of citrus elements – and the experience left me enlivened and energized; my skin as smooth as orange blossom petals.

Orange blossoms are prevalent in the citrus blend used for the scrub, which also includes blood oranges and grapefruit juice. This amazing citrus blend uplifts the spirit and awakens the body.  In addition to the scrub, blood orange lotion and blood orange body wash are used in the course of the treatment, which ends with a cup of blood orange tea graciously delivered by your massage therapist.

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The Scarlet Huntington is the only hotel in San Francisco with a full-service spa, boasting unobstructed city views from a private outdoor terrace, especially desirable on sunny spring days. The Nob Hill Spa is a tranquil sanctuary inside the iconic San Francisco hotel perched atop the city’s posh Nob Hill. Since 2000, the spa has been a popular hideaway for bachelorette parties, birthdays, baby showers, client meetings, and techy retreats, offering global healing traditions interwoven with customized services. The three-level facility has ten treatment rooms, a large indoor infinity pool, a fireplace, Zen relaxation room, eucalyptus steam room, dry saunas, whirlpool and a workout room. It accommodates individuals and groups, and is open not only to the hotel guests, but to the general public as well. Not surprisingly, it continues to be a staycation destination for locals seeking an urban escape and the premier spa experience.

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Recently, the hotel introduced another unique feature – a style-forward gathering retreat – the Spa Suite. It’s an intimate venue for up to 15 people, with the main space for convening, a separate treatment room with two massage tables, and bathroom with a rain shower, a vanity mirror and a double sink. Designed for hosting a range of formal and informal parties, the Spa Suite, staffed by Nob Hill Spa therapists, offers massages, facials and body and nail treatments. Catering is provided by Big 4 Restaurant in the meeting room buffet-style or à la carte.

While the Spa Suite is still on my “to experience” list, the Big 4 Restaurant, led by the Executive Chef Kevin Scott is the place I’ll be happy to return to – for an elegant dinner, excellent service, and a slice of California history.

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A San Francisco institution, the Big 4 Restaurant on the ground floor of The Scarlet Huntington Hotel, is named after the 19th century businessmen, philanthropists, and most distinguished and talked about citizens of the city who built the Central Pacific Railroad – C. P. Huntington, Charles Crocker, Mark Hopkins and Leland Stanford. These men’s life journeys from California pioneer beginnings to national importance coincided with a long and colorful era of Pacific Coast history. At the top of their careers, the “Big Four” all resided in the exquisite Nob Hill mansions, and almost daily were featured in the local press in references to their varied activities. The Big 4 Restaurant’s ambiance recaptures the era of the Big Four with opulently decorated dining room, period furnishings, antique artifacts, and celebrated original dark wood bar – a hub of the bourbon and whiskey revival.

Nearly obsessed with all things citrus by dinner time, I started my lavish meal at the Big 4 with Bitter Delight – a blood orange-colored cocktail made of Campari, Combier, fresh grapefruit, and prosecco. It was followed by seared foie gras (thank you, California, for bringing this delicacy back!) garnished with mache, port cherries, toasted pistachios and brioche.

Perfectly grilled Berkshire pork chop came with a side of roasted root vegetables in cider sauce.

For dessert, I ordered the seasonal panna cotta Milano with Campari gelee, shortbread cookie, and of course, a slice of candied orange.

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Owned and managed by Singapore-based hospitality group Grace International, the renovated and reimagined Scarlet Huntington seamlessly unites tradition and contemporary style with a distinct blend of refinement, relaxation and pure luxury.

The red brick façade, the cable cars passing by, and the famed illuminated sign atop the hotel remain the historical references unchanged with time, as well as the structure, the original woodwork and crown moldings in the hallways, and the 1924 gold leaf ceiling in the former Mr. Huntington’s apartment.

However, new Singapore Straits Chinese-inspired interior design elements and a provocative use of color are present in all 134 spacious rooms – a fusion of classic grace and global influences that stirs the imagination.

The four room types – Superior, Deluxe, Executive and Premium, 34 one-bedroom suites, and three signature suites – Opulent, Passion and Mulholland, delight visitors with a sense of elegance and brightness.

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The hotel’s positioning grants easy access to the city’s famed cable cars and a short walk to Union Square, Financial District, Chinatown, Fisherman’s Wharf, and Ferry Building.

The Scarlet Huntington is located at 1075 California St., San Francisco, CA 94108; 415-474-5400; Photo credit: The Scarlet Huntington.