San Francisco’s Stanford Court Hotel is buzzing — in more ways than one.
Last year, the Nob Hill hotel added an apiary to its rooftop terrace just outside its Seven Stills restaurant. Now, it’s reaping the sweet rewards of those bee hives — from honey that’s accenting fun offerings on the menu.
I had a chance to try a few recently, when I was invited as an overnight guest of the hotel.
Take a seat at the bar or one of the tables in the restaurant that’s open to the lobby to order one of the specialty cocktails ($15 each) that are all named for movies that were filmed in San Francisco.
I went with the “Maude,” as in “Harold and Maude,” filmed at Oyster Point in 1971). It’s a blend of gin, lemon, honey from the hotel’s apiary, and rooftop-grown mate leaves. It’s citrusy, herbaceous and slightly medicinal tasting. The honey’s floralness is subtle, and its sweetness is not heavy-handed.
Yes, with all the bees on the rooftop, it makes for an ideal place to put in some raised beds for a thriving garden, too. At this time of year, you’ll find the last of the season tomatoes, squash blossoms, peppers, and plenty of herbs such as basil.
The tomatoes and basil were featured in a special Caprese salad ($12) with burrata and syrupy balsamic. I only wish the tomatoes had not been refrigerated, as the cold zapped a lot of their flavor, which is especially a shame when they are grown just steps away and can be picked at their peak.
The best use showcase for the honey was dessert. The honey flan ($10) is delightfully eggy, smooth and jiggly with a drizzle of runny honey cascading down it. It gave the vanilla custard an almost caramel flavor.
If you need to work off those calories later, the hotel offers a range of options to do so, as part of its new wellness focus.
There are electric bikes right outside the hotel’s entrance. Its Urban Sanctuary rooms are appointed with yoga mats, as well as Well + Away VitalKits that contain a cucumber and ginseng facial mist, a morning recovery drink in case you’ve imbibed too much the night before, and vegan and gluten-free snacks such as irresistible Justin’s Dark Chocolate Cashew Butter Cups.
Last year, a 1,500-square-foot gym was introduced, complete with Peloton bikes positioned in front of floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the California Avenue cable car line. (Race ya?)
What I especially appreciated are the high-tech FloWater stations in the lobby that dispense for free ultra-purified chilled water.
If you forget to pack your own water bottle on your trip, there is a reusuable one in your room for easy use. How’s that for service?