San Francisco's Clift Hotel and Redwood Room are iconic destinations in their own right, not least for some pivotal pieces of design history that they play host to.
First opened in 1915, the smart 17 storey building underwent a complete $80m overhaul in 2001 under the guidance of one Mr Philippe Starck and celebrity hotelier Ian Schrager. A moody-melange of classical elegance and edgy surrealism, the evocatively-dim lobby is riddled with quirky furnishings: from Salvador Dali's rare bronze-and-marble Leda Table for BD Barcelona, a loveseat fashioned out of buffalo horns and hide to a brilliant Jean Nouvel designed reception desk. Renè Magritte too is present in Roberto Matta's Magritta Chair, essentially an oversized apple in an upturned bowler hat. Part foyer - part 20th Century industrial design gallery, it wouldn't surprise us if half the refurbishment costs went on the foyer alone!
Upon entry all eyes of course gravitate to the 12 foot high upholstered armchair that sits proudly in the lobby, backed by an equally imposing 18 foot high bronze fireplace. Lighting too is given a surrealist touch with inclusion of Salvador Dali's Muletas, Bracelli and Cajones lamps dotted throughout public areas. Jean Baptiste Mondino's portraits of toy animals in the "Living Room" lobby bar are another quirky addition. Almost fantasy, completely luxe and with a healthy dose of homour: to say the space is dramatic wouldn't do The Clift justice. When in San Francisco, if not staying there then popping in for a drink is a must!