One of the truly iconic San Francisco hotels, this old-world, family-owned and -operated property exemplifies understated luxury. The hotel is perched high on Nob Hill, and features lovely, well-appointed rooms and suites, offering Irish linens, iPod clock radios and eye-popping views of the city. What could be better than a swimming pool overlooking Union Square or indulgent treatments at the lush Nob Hill Spa (345 2888)? Of course, you'll pay for the privilege: if you have to check the rates before booking, you're probably in the wrong place. The California cable car line rattles past the front door.