San Francisco Trip, Part 1 : Virgin America and Le Meridien

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The view from my balcony at Le Meridien

This week, a work trip has brought me to San Francisco, the glorious city of streetcars, fog and sourdough bowls.

While I’ve visited the city numerous times, some for work, and some for play, this was only my second time making the flight on Virgin America and my first time to stay in the Le Meridien on Battery, and both were rather fabulous.

Of the three main domestic “economy” carriers – Southwest, JetBlue, and Virgin America – I believe Virgin is by far the best current experience, especially if you can upgrade to their Main Cabin Select product.  (Though, I think Southwest has a better loyalty program.)  In Main Cabin Select, you get more legroom, free on-demand movies and tv, plus free on-demand drinks, including alcohol.  But even in economy, they have fleet-wide wifi and power outlets at every seat,  plus paid on-demand entertainment system.

And right now, if you have status with any competing airline, they’ll status-match you for free, giving you access to complimentary upgrades to Main Cabin Select when available.  Pretty sweet.  (Click “Continue Reading” to see more!)

Once I arrived, I headed to the Le Meridien, which I chose because my beloved W Hotel was way over my work’s hotel rate cap, and I knew from prior experience that the Westin’s in San Francisco weren’t the greatest.  And upon checking in, I learned that this stay would be my 10th Starwood stay of the year, re-qualifying me for gold status for 2015. Hooray!

With my gold status, I’m eligible for room upgrades when available, and all I can say is WOW!  My standard booking was upgraded to a luxury suite with balcony – cue up the “I’m So Fancy” song. 

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The Le Meridien also has a nice fitness room, decent room service, and Starwood’s customary very friendly staff.  While I will always have a soft spot in my heart for the W Hotel, the Le Meridien far exceeded my expectations and I would be happy to stay here again!

I’ll update again in a few days with more pictures of my SF adventure – check back soon.