Inside a suite at Hotel G, San Francisco

Ironically, or not so ironically, on the last day of my LivingWells California 2014 road trip, I found myself traveling the shortest distance – just a few short blocks from the Hotel Adagio to the Hotel G. Originally built in 1909 and completely renovated in 2014, the 153-room boutique hotel maintains a connection to its storied history in a thoroughly contemporized manner. The rooms are cool, spare and minimal…almost loft-like…and anything but cookie-cutter, which speaks to the overall modern vibe of the property.

That said, there is something wonderfully intriguing about the way that the Hotel G has been redone to allow bits of the past to shine through. From the winding entrance from Geary Street, to the bits of original flooring, to the staircases and the general layout of the property, the hotel’s past incarnation as a home away from home for Western travelers in the early 20th century is evident. In fact, it is a quality that bleeds over into its current incarnation which invites the feeling of an apartment rather than a traditional hotel room, a quality that I generally appreciate. Local art adorns the walls, the honor bar is stocked with lots of unexpected goodies, there’s a desk at which you actually might want to work and every room is equipped with powerful black out shades (a personal fave of mine).  I always like to say that when I’m not at home, I like to feel like I’m staying in someone else’s grander or cooler version of home and the Hotel G, definitely qualifies as the latter.

But don’t just take my word for it, have a look for yourself:

After checking in and getting acquainted with the Hotel G, I hopped in an Uber and headed over to the design studio of my friends Aaron and Miranda Jones, the dazzling brother and sister duo behind Galanter & Jones, purveyors of the hottest (all pun intended) heated outdoor furniture currently on the market. Over a casual lunch of sandwiches from the  Deli Board, Aaron and Miranda introduced to me their latest design, the Helios Love Chair, one of the smallest of their designs but every bit as chic as its predecessors.  I had such a fun afternoon  catching up with the Jones’ and seeing all the steps that go into each custom made piece and getting to understand the magic behind their innovation. I’ve probably overused the word “revolution” in this series of travel diaries but it couldn’t be truer when used to describe the creations that are coming out of Galanter & Jones. More practical, stylish, and effective than heat lamps or anything of the sort, the designs of Galanter & Jones promise to reform the way we think about enjoying outdoor living as temperatures begin to drop.

Aaron and Mirando on one of their most popular designs

Aaron and Miranda Jones of Galanter & Jones, San Francisco

Later that afternoon, my dinner plans for the evening cancelled, which was in some ways a relief after the procession of dinners that the weeks leading up to that evening had included. So, rather than reschedule or wander out on my own, I ordered in Chinese from one of my favorite spots in nearby Chinatown and began a mental recap of my road trip from start to finish.

After 22 days, 17 hotels, countless restaurants, events and meetings, a myriad of activities and nearly 2,000 miles of driving, I would be less than truthful if I said this juggernaut had not left me exhausted and desperate with desire for my own bed. However, it would also be dishonest of me not to admit that it’s been an amazing ride. I have, of course, traveled extensively around California in the past but never have I done so in such a comprehensive manner.

The opportunity to explore the Golden State so intensely these past few weeks has renewed my love for the state and the unique diversity of experiences it offers. From its oceans and lakes to its mountains and deserts to its urban metropolises, California, perhaps more than any other state in America, can best lay claim to offering something for everyone, the oft-used if rarely true marketing ploy favored by destinations around the globe. As a travel journalist, I have spent a great deal of time traveling the world, but I have spent precious little getting to know the state I now call home.  This trip reminded me why that is the case.

As I close this chapter in my travels, I must extend a few major thanks. First the sponsors. To eBags, who provided my luggage for this trip, LockerDome, my wonderful new collaborator for their support in promoting this three week journey, and the Autograph Collection, which welcomed me with open arms in destinations across California, I express my heartiest appreciation. Second, to Sonoma County Tourism, Visit Laguna Beach and all the tourism boards across the state who offered advice, counsel and support, this road trip would not have happened or been as memorable without your guidance and backing. Third to the tremendous group of publicists that I had the great pleasure of working with to make this trip happen from JPR, i.d.e.a., Elizabeth Borsting PR to Hunter PR and Workshop Collective, you are the stars of my life. And finally to my great friend Rob Musick for acting as my fellow road warrior, driver, photographer and voice of reason throughout this epic adventure I say thank you, thank you, thank you.

And that’s a wrap. Below is a look at a few images from the final day of  my road trip. Stay tuned for the first comprehensive LivingWells Guide to Californiai in 2015. Ā bientôt.

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