The cool, gleaming lobby of the Sofitel SFO.

The cool, gleaming lobby of the Sofitel SFO.

When designer Jill Cole was creating the sleek revamp of Sofitel San Francisco Bay ‘s guestroom floors, she had the added challenge of integrating existing elements. Asked by the architectural design trade magazine Hospitality Design for the source of her inspiration, Ms. Cole was quoted as saying of her minimalist beige palette, accented by dark woods and splashes of red, “ The view of the bay. . . we just stood back and let it happen.” ( HD August 2013).

She delivered. The comfortable rooms and suites are well-equipped for working and have subtle details like issues of France Magazine on the desk and Lanvin bath amenities to reflect Sofitel’s French luxury brand provenance.

The sophisticated style and proximity to Silicon Valley surrounded by many Fortune 500 companies, Facebook and LinkedIn in heart of San Mateo county, makes Sofitel SFO a favorite of business travelers. With the free airport shuttle, attractive room rates and the many interesting things San Mateo county has to offer, it should be on your list too as an alternative to staying in the city of San Francisco. You certainly can access the city via BART and CalTrain for a day of adventure. Just ask the Sofitel concierge for the “ how to” details.

The first thing you’ll notice as you enter the Sofitel San Francisco Bay’s lobby is the scent of lavender. Lovers of anything lavender, LBM asked a Sofitel representative about this. We were told it was a signature scent. “ Is the signature lavender scent in all the Sofitel’s or just the San Francisco property? “ we asked. “No“ they answered, “ only in the San Francisco property because of our region. We are in San Mateo County but located close to Sonoma County known for its lavender fields, similar to the fields in Provence. The lavender is a direct connection to the French culture we have right in our back yard in San Francisco.”

Hmmm. So how did they come up with ” scent branding” we wondered? Sofitel says, “Scent branding is a world-wide Sofitel initiative to touch on all the senses a guest has to enhance their experience. Each hotel has its own scent and ours of course is lavender to sync with our regional connection. We have included unique lavender gifts in our market place store and in our restaurant Bay 223’s menu. You should try the decadent lavender cheese cake.”

The Sofitel San Francisco Bay’s public spaces have also been re-done and are very French, very chic. A candle lighting ceremony takes place each evening and the massive white candles throughout the lobby and surrounding the lounge are lit. It is an elevating and lovely ritual.

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