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Walnut Creek Magazine

City Escape: The Tilden Hotel

Jan 24, 2019 04:35PM ● By Fran Miller

BY FRAN ENDICOTT MILLER

In the hotel industry, sometimes new is best; who doesn't enjoy state-of-the-art comforts? Sometimes old is best; everyone loves character and charm. San Francisco’s new Tilden Hotel is a vibrant mix of both new and old, providing its guests with the modern amenities expected of a swank spot, and exuding a groovy throwback vibe reflective of its host town and its peripheral Union Square location.

Located at O'Farrell and Taylor, the Tilden bears little resemblance to its former life as the Mark Twain Hotel. Revamped with low slung velvet couches in the welcoming lobby, and a secret, twinkle-lit garden in back, and refurbished with luxe linens and plantation shutters, the Tilden provides its guests with affordable and stylish elegance. 

Steps away from the theater district, Moscone Center, and the shops of Westfield Center, the unassuming Tilden is actually much more than a hotel. Beyond the indulgent mini bar options, the Tcho chocolate treats left on every pillow, and the Malin & Goetz bath amenities, the Tilden is a mini mecca for artists, their art, and those who appreciate both. In honor of Douglas Tilden for whom the hotel was named (the sculptor who created the Ball Player in Golden Gate Park, Admission Day, Mechanic’s Monument, and other iconic pieces) the Tilden spotlights in its lobby the vibrant and diverse works of local artists for whom receptions are regularly held at which visitors and hotel guests can engage.

Likewise, the adjacent Douglas Room invites camaraderie within its speakeasy-like environ. Dimly lit and sultry, the cozy space is home to some of the best hand-crafted cocktails you’ll find anywhere in the city – thanks to Mo Hodges and Brian Felley – San Francisco Chronicle ‘bar stars’ and owners of well-known watering hole Benjamin Cooper. The duo continues to make its mark at the Douglas Room with off-the-cuff creations such as the ‘Riki Tiki Tavi’ and the ‘What About Bob,’ the name provenance of which stumps, but the flavor of which more than satiates. 

Complementing the cocktails, beers, and wines is a small menu of big flavor items. Chef Glen Schwartz of Orson and Campton Place offers a classic burger, an authentic Philly Cheesesteak (alone worth a visit – the only thing missing with this entrée is a TastyKake accompaniment), an Italian Hoagie, a Portobello Sandwich, colorful salads, and a not-to-be-missed Brillat-Savarin cheese plate with roasted shallot, apple, spiced pecans, herbs, and baguette slices. The crispy tater-tots are great too.

A small curbside café at the lobby entrance rounds out the food and beverage offerings. Serving Equator coffee, Tilden Café has already become a morning destination for those working nearby.          

Additional amenities at the Tilden include free WiFi, pet-friendly accommodations, a small but functional 24-hour fitness room (with Peloton bike!), meetings and event space, a doorman, and a very cool, hidden rooftop penthouse with outdoor terrace that is available for rental and the perfect spot to gather the gang to watch the Warriors. 

Tilden Hotel, 345 Taylor St., San Francisco

Photos courtesy of Tilden Hotel