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Inn Above Tide

Sausalito, California
This jail house rocks! With the best views of Alcatraz and San Francisco Bay, staying anywhere else really would be a crime, writes Matt Short.

Inn Above Tide exterior

first impressions
A wonderful waterfront getaway that's making waves among tourists. And who can blame them? This sleek boutique hotel is one of the most luxurious in the area.

Nestled in the beautiful bay of Sausalito, the Inn Above Tide is the perfect place for drowning out the hustle and bustle of the city. It's also the ideal spot to catch some of California's best-loved landmarks like the Golden Gate Bridge and America's most visited tourist attraction, Alcatraz. But it's the spectacular, uninterrupted view across the water to San Francisco and its breathtaking skyline that has earned the Inn its five-star reputation.

Getting to and from the Inn can be done in two ways: by road or by water. But for a truly memorable arrival, take a ferry from Fisherman's Wharf in the City. Landlubbers needn't worry – the short crossing is almost always calm and takes in some stunning scenery along the way. What's more, the ferry docks just feet away from the Inn's front door, so as you approach you'll see the Inn's 1980s redwood façade and its polished teak decking. Just don't be alarmed if returning passengers look green – it's more likely envy than seasickness.

Inn Above Tide bedroom

Each of the Inn's 29 rooms and suites are modern, spacious and light-filled. Décor is contemporary Euro-Asian in style – that is, sexy and beautiful.

All come outfitted to an exceptional standard, with sleek furnishings and bespoke furniture throughout.

Beds, which are huge, have handmade McRoskey mattresses, designer linen, plush pillows and soft down duvets. Elsewhere you'll find an array of mod cons including flat screen TVs, CD and iPod docks, direct-dial telephones with date port and voicemail, and top-of-the-range sound systems. There's also a DVD player and a great lending library of movies available. Guests are also treated to a 24-hour tea and coffee service. Yet the owners of the Inn don't toe the line there – there are even robes and a pair of fluffy slippers by the bed.

But it's the sweeping vistas across the bay from the private balconies that make these rooms so unforgettable. The outdoor decking is a delightful place to wile away an afternoon, while free wireless internet makes them an ideal spot for business travelers to catch up on some work.

Bathrooms are equally plush, with tiled flooring, large mirrors, deep tubs and power showers. The complimentary Bulgari toiletries are a treat.

If it's space you're after, you'll like the Vista Suite. As the name suggests, this generous-sized room with teak outdoor decking boasts panoramic vistas. The suite also has a wonderful wood-burning fireplace, a marble and granite-tiled bathroom with spa tub, and a separate shower.

But if that's not enough, head upstairs to the Penthouse Suite. As you'd expect, it offers incredible views of the bay and comes packed with luxurious extras such as a free-standing spa tub in the lounge. The room also comes with a separate sitting area with wood burning fireplace, powder room and a private bath with twin-head shower for two.

food and drink
Foodies will love breakfast at the Inn – it's hearty, freshly prepared and delicious. The Continental breakfast includes a selection of homemade pastries, fresh fruits of the season, and an array of quality cereals. There's also a selection of freshly brewed tea and ground coffee, and a string of fruit juices.

There's no dining room at the Inn, but that matters little – meals are served in the comfortable reception room. If it's a fine day, guests can also eat on the first floor patio for that real al fresco experience.

If you can't drag yourself away from your bed – or that view, don't worry: room service is freely available around the clock.

For dinner, head into Sausalito where you'll find dozens of eateries, most of which offer exception food at exceptional value. Check with concierge first, and they'll point you in the right direction.

Alternatively, pop on the ferry to San Francisco. It's known as the 'Mecca' for dining, where every conceivable treat is on offer.

Back in the hotel, grab a glass of wine and digest that view over the Bay.

service with a smile?
Expect nothing but top-notch service from a top-notch team of enthusiastic staff who are always on hand to help you on your way. A personal welcome tour will take you through all the amenities on offer and staff are happy to arrange restaurant reservations, local tours and activities. Valet parking, overnight laundry and selected in-room massage and spa services are also available (see Local Attractions, below).

What's more, guests receive a morning newspaper and complimentary wine and cheese every afternoon.

Inn Above Tide waterfront

local attractions
The Inn is perfectly located for everything the San Francisco bay area has to offer. And there's a lot! If it's a taste of the city that you're after, then catch a ferry or head over the Golden Gate Bridge to soak up the best of the SF. Once there, take a ride on a tram up one of the world's steepest roads, before taking a stroll down Lombard Street – the 'bendiest' in the world. Whatever you do, try to take a tour of Alcatraz, once America's toughest penitentiary, and see the Museum of Modern Art.

For a fun and friendly way to see the city in a day take a tour with Go Cars. These GPS guided, motorized carts guide you to all the hot spots of the city, allowing you to stop off along the way to take a stroll and take in the sights. The Inn also organises day trips into SF, which takes in the incredible Coit Tower, Chinatown and the bustling Farmer's Market.

For a taste of the outdoors, head north into Marin and Sonoma Counties where you'll find an array of stunning beaches and noted restaurants. It's also off the beaten tourist trail. Elsewhere in the region you'll find a multitude of world-renowned, award-winning vineyards. Contact the Inn's concierge who will be happy to arrange a tour. Here's a little-known tip: the hotel also organises four-day tours for the area that take in all the major sights.

Closer to home, the quaint town of Sausalito is as picturesque as they come, with a fantastic assortments of galleries, restaurants and boutique shops – all of which are just minutes away from the Inn on foot.

After a long day's exploration, head back to the Inn for some well-earned TLC. Guests can choose from a range of Spa treatments, all of which are available in-room or on the private deck. Options include a Swedish massage, deep tissue massage and – for that real energy boost – an acupressure massage.

will it break the bank?
Not even in the recession. Doubles start from only $305 per night; the King Deluxe from $355; and the Tidal Suite from $675. Even the Penthouse Suite is affordable (just). Prices start from $1,025.

Contact the hotel for more offers.

Inn Above Tide
30 El Portal
Sausalito, CA 94965

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