Category Archives for Honeymoon

Honeymoon Part 2 – San Francisco

San Francisco City - What an incredible view with amazing attractions, and restaurants.- Amateurchef.co.uk

The first leg of our honeymoon was San Francisco! The flight itself from the UK to San Francisco was great! We travelled with United Airlines and paid to upgrade to Economy Plus, which I do recommend. I can never sleep on planes so spent the entire 11 hours watching films. I love films so it was not a bad thing!!

We landed in San Francisco at around 1pm and probably cleared security roughly an hour or so later. I pre-booked a car to come and fetch us from the airport and take us to our hotel. They were there waiting for us and the driver was friendly and the car was clean. I cannot remember the company that we used but there are many available, id check reviews out first though.


I went to America prior to starting this blog, unlike now everywhere I go I take notes/pictures etc to do a blog update on. Therefore I have not been able to do full reviews/show pictures of somethings.

San Francisco Hotel – Sir Francis Drake

The hotel we booked into was the Sir Francis Drake. It was in an ideal location with some nice restaurants within walking distance. The famous cable cars also pass the front of the hotel, so ideal when wanting to get onto them.

The rooms are great and the restaurant is also ideal if not wanting to go out. There is also a bar on the top floor if you are wanting to enjoy some drinks. You can find a full review of the Sir Francis Drake here; http://amateurchef.wpengine.com/sir-francis-drake-hotel-san-francisco/

Restaurants Visited In San Francisco

We were in San Francisco for 3 days, giving us plenty of time to try a couple of restaurants out. Before leaving we did agree that we would try to have at least 1 really nice meal in each place we stay.

Prior to leaving I was doing some research on places to eat and came across Gary Danko’s. It had excellent reviews and needed to be booked in advance so thought it would be an ideal place to eat on our first day in America.

The atmosphere was excellent, cocktails were excellent and the food was simply incredible! I would really recommend Gary Danko’s if you want a romantic meal out to celebrate a special occasion.

I have done a complete review of Gary Danko’s which can be found here; http://amateurchef.wpengine.com/gary-danko-san-francisco/

Enjoying a nice meal at Loris Diner in San Francisco before a few drinks out on the town! - amateurchef.co.ukLori’s Diner San Francisco

I don’t have a review written for Lori’s Diner as it was a unplanned meal but I have to say it was very nice.

The diner is just across the road from Sir Francis Drake and is actually open 24 hours a day. We came here as we had been out all day and wanted something quick to eat before going out for a few drinks.

Being from England we don’t really have any American Diners that you tend to see on films like Back To the Future, this place was therefore a treat! The decor is what I would imagine when thinking of a 50’s diner with the tables set out like the back of cars.

The food as well is typical diner food such as chips and hot dogs. I had enjoyed a nice hot dog which was very tasty. If you are in the area and looking for a quick lunch/dinner but want to experience nice decor and tasty food then I would recommend Lori’s Diner.

The URL for it is: www.lorisdiner.com

What Did We Do In San Francisco

Obviously we cannot come to a great city like San Francisco and not explore and see what it has to offer! We had an incredible time and did a lot of fun and exciting things, although there was just not enough time to do everything we would have liked. For example id have love to have gone into the wine region and enjoyed walking through the vineyards.

Below are things we did however get to do and enjoy, if you are in San Francisco then these are things I would recommend.

Alcatraz

Alcatraz in San Francisco - Great attraction that I found incredibly interesting - amateurchef.co.ukWhile planning our trip to San Francisco, I had a look to see what we could do and see. I love films and The Rock is one that I have enjoyed watching a number of times, making it essential to visit Alcatraz.

We were told to pre-book our tickets as it does get booked up, I would recommend doing the same to avoid disappointment.

Alcatraz is an interesting island and is home to a number of buildings such as one of the oldest lighthouses, as well as a prison. The prison is famous as it was said to be impossible to escape from. It was therefore the home to some of the most well-known criminals such as Al Capone.

It closed its doors as a prison in 1963, 29 years after it had opened. Since then it was occupied by Native American Activists, this occupation ended in 1971. I believe it opened in 1980 to be opened to the public to be able to venture into its grounds and learn of its history.

We got the boat across and had as much time as we wanted to walk around it, the boats come every 10 minutes or so. As long as you get on the last boat then you can spend as much time on the island as you want.

Whilst walking through you also get a MP3 player and headphones to listen to the history of Alcatraz as well as examples of how it would have been IE the kitchen/exercise room etc.

We had a good walk around and really enjoyed the experience, it was somewhat unnerving seeing how prisoners lived in their cells and imagining that it was actually a functional prison. When we left we went through the gift shop and saw William G. Baker one of the actual ex prisoners, he was signing copies of his book that he had written.

The boats to and from the island are regular, I’d suggest getting an early one so you have as much time on the island as you want 🙂

Find out more about the Alcatraz trip from here – http://www.alcatrazislandtickets.com/

San Francisco Cable Cars

You cannot come to San Francisco and not experience the cable cars. It is the last cable car system in the world that is still manually operated. There are 3 different lines and are a great way of travelling parts of the city.

The cable cars are one of the many well-known tourist attractions of San Francisco. I’d recommend getting on them early in the morning as they do get incredibly busy during the day!

San Francisco Bus Tour

We have done a number of bus tours which allow you to hop on and off. They are amazing as you really get to see all the sights and decide if a certain attraction is something you want to get off and look at. The buses are usually fairly regular and I have never had a problem getting a seat on the top deck.

In San Francisco we used the company Big Bus with a standard full 24 hour ticket costing $45, which I don’t think is bad at all!

The tour like many others come with headphones which allows you to learn a little more about what you are looking at.

On the tour we got to see the main highlights such as the incredible Golden Gate Bridge, Pier 39 and Fishermans Wharf. Other things to look at include;

  • North Beach and Little Italy
  • Union Square
  • Civic Centre
  • Haight Ashbury
  • Golden Gate Park
  • Chinatown
  • Embarcadero Ferry Building

If you wanted to see as much as possible in the shortest time then I really would recommend giving one of the San Francisco Big Bus tours ago. You can find out more about them and the places they stop at here: http://bigbustours.com/sanfrancisco/home.html

San Francisco Aquarium

We spent an entire day just walking around the city. we walked down to the piers in the hopes of going to Fisherman’s Wharf but ended up turning right instead of left… This resulted in us walking to AT&T Park the home to the San Francisco Giants, at least we got to see even more of the city.

During the walk back we went past the San Francisco Aquarium and decided to have a walk around it and see some incredible sea life. The Aquarium of the Bay works to help protect and restore the conservation of the sea life within the San Francisco Bay.

During our walk around we go to learn a great deal about many of the sea life as well as see over 20,000 different animals within the bay. This also included walking through a tunnel with sharks and turtles swimming past, which was a great experience.

The San Francisco Aquarium is the perfect place to take kids and doesn’t cost too much. Adults are $24.95, with children prices only being $14.95.

Check out their official website here – https://www.aquariumofthebay.org/

I am sure you would have an excellent time, we did! It is incredibly relaxing walking around and looking at some incredible sea life. It has amazing colours and the music in the background is so nice. You wouldn’t believe you were in a busy city!

San Francisco Aquarium - Great attraction for adults and children. Loads of sealife and nice relaxing experience - amateurchef.co.uk  San Francisco Aquarium - Great attraction for adults and children. Loads of sealife and nice relaxing experience - amateurchef.co.uk

Pier 39/Fishermans Wharf

Fisherman’s Wharf is one of the major tourist areas of San Francisco. It features lots of bars, restaurants, shops and entertainment. I found a Zoltar machine from the film BIG, I had to give it a go 🙂

It has alot of attractions such as 7D experience, Aquarium, Madame Tussauds and Ripley’s believe it or not museum. If you’re after food then you would be in the right place, its perfect for food lovers. It has over 25 different places to eat with a wide range of types of food. It’s close to the sea so I would recommend trying out some crab!

Looking to do a bit of retail therapy then check out the shops, there are plenty of them! Perfect for finding the gifts for those at home!

You cannot come to Fisherman’s Wharf without checking out the seals…When we came they had gone to mate which was a shame. There was just 1 seal (felt so sorry for him!!)

Find out more about Fisherman’s Wharf here – http://www.visitfishermanswharf.com/

Fishermans Wharf is a tourist part of San Francisco - lots of attractions and places to eat. It was excellent fun!! - amateurchef.co.uk  Fishermans Wharf is a tourist part of San Francisco - lots of attractions and places to eat. It was excellent fun!! - amateurchef.co.uk  Fishermans Wharf is a tourist part of San Francisco - lots of attractions and places to eat. It was excellent fun!! - amateurchef.co.uk  Fishermans Wharf is a tourist part of San Francisco - lots of attractions and places to eat. It was excellent fun!! - amateurchef.co.uk

Time to leave San Francisco…

We had 3 incredible days in San Francisco and loved every single minute of it. We were very tired as we had suffered from some serious jet lag but didn’t let that stop us!

Now all we had to do was get ourselves to the airport to pick up the car. We had decided to drive down to Santa Monica. Due to time restraints we couldn’t do the whole drive on the coastal route. Instead did some on route 101 and then did the last half on the coastal road.

We hired the car via Alamo and they gave us exactly what we asked for…

A red convertible Mustang…a real dream of mine!

Find out what we got up to on the next leg of our honeymoon!

Thanks for reading, I really appreciate it!

Leaving San Francisco in amazing Mustang Convertible

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Sir Francis Drake Hotel San Francisco

Sir Francis Drake Hotel San FranciscoAs apart of our honeymoon in America, Rach and I visited San Francisco for 3 nights. When booking the hotels the travel agents recommended the Sir Francis Drake, we had a look online and it looked great so went with their recommendation.

The Sir Francis Drake hotel is apart of the Kimpton group who have a variety of hotels, all of which look very good. The location of Sir Francis Drake is actually pretty good, located in Union Square near lower nob hill.

The trams go straight past the hotel and it’s only a couple of miles away from the popular tourist destination, Fisherman’s Wharf. If you need a taxi anywhere the staff are more than happy to arrange one for you.


The Sir Francis Drake Hotel was built in the 1920’s and you can see from the decor that they are trying to keep this style, although at the same time making the hotel feel modern with things such as free in-room wifi. Welcomed by a man dressed as a beefeater, you enter the large lobby. The italian marble and glittering chandeliers really gives this hotel some great character.

We arrived at the hotel and to be honest we were a little jet lagged but at the same time exciting to see what San Francisco had to offer. The checkin was quick and simple, the person that served us was very friendly and as it was our honeymoon gave us a little upgrade on the room.

The room that we stayed in was a decent size, with a massive bed, cabinets and a TV. The bathroom was to the side which again was an okay size and everything looked nice and clean. We were fairly high up so we managed to get a really nice view of the city from our room, there was a little street noise but that’s to be expected with an old building. The noise however didn’t keep us awake at night.

In the lobby of the Sir Francis Drake there is a large bar with some nice seating, we had a few cocktails here which were all very nice and the staff were very friendly. We didn’t see it unfortunately but at the top of the hotel is the Starlight room which serves cocktails whilst being able to see the sky-line of San Francisco…maybe next time we come we can check it out!

The hotel do offer a valet service but we were not driving at the time so didn’t need this, this service comes at a cost of roughly £38 a night, which might seem steep but compared to some places I don’t think this is too bad.

The hotel does also have a restaurant that serves italian food, we cannot really comment on this though as we did eat out. We did however experience the breakfast here and it was excellent, there is plenty of choice and all of it tastes fresh. Food wise, there really is something for everyone and I think it would be hard to find something not to like about it.

I do think if I was to come to San Francisco again, I would certainly book the Sir Francis Drake again. It’s a great hotel in an excellent location and as I said the staff have a real positive attitude and really want to make your experience with them a good one. If you are looking for a hotel then I couldn’t recommend this one more, perfect if you’re on business, on a romantic holiday or a family vacation.

The rooms cost around £170 which includes breakfast, there are however many booking websites such as expedia where you might be able to get them at a cheaper rate. I don’t think this is too expensive for the location and the quality of the hotel.

Find out more about the Sir Francis Drake Hotel In San Francisco via their link below;

http://www.sirfrancisdrake.com/boutique-hotels-san-francisco/

Check out Expedia below to find out the best deals on this hotel or to book it!

If you have been or do plan on going here, please feel free to comment below with what you thought about it or if you have any questions. I’ll be more than happy to answer them 🙂

Thanks!

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Honeymoon Part 1 – Planning The Trip!

honeymoonplanningAfter all of the buildup and excitement of our big day, it was now time to start our honeymoon and boy was I excited. It had been a dream of mine to visit America for as long as I can remember, I am a big fan of TV and films so I expect a lot of it came from that.

We chose to go to America for several reasons however Rach new how much I wanted to go and the more we looked into where to go and what to do, Rach had fallen in love with it to. We both also wanted to go somewhere on our honeymoon that neither of us had been to before, which made this even more perfect.

Many months before the our big day we sat down and planned out what we wanted to do and where we wanted to go. We booked our honeymoon via Kouni but did go to a number of places to price it up and also get a feel for what they offer/suggest. I was always under the impression that Kuoni were expensive but to be completely honest I thought the price was reasonable. It could have been done cheaper if we booked everything ourselves IE flights/hotels etc but I worry about things too much so was better to go through a company.


So where would we be going?

Rach and I sat down and discussed what we wanted to do and see, I had 3 things I MUST experience and that was Las Vegas, Los Angeles and drive a Mustang. Rach really wanted to visit New York and this was something she had always wanted to see. We sat with the rep from Kuoni and came up with the plan to fly to San Francisco for 3 days, drive down to Los Angeles for 3 days and continue on from there to San Diego for another 2 days.

From San Diego we will then drive to Las Vegas for an additional 3 days and then fly to New York for the final 3 days and then return home. Including travel time it would work out at around 16 days in total, which we felt was plenty of time. Prior to the honeymoon we were very much beach visitors, most of our holidays consisted of holidays around the beach but we really wanted to do something different and this holiday would be just that!

The planning is not over…..

I am a planner, I have to literally plan everything and have things organised. We had where we were going sorted but my brain started asking questions…

  • How are we getting to a certain place?
  • What are we going to do this day?
  • Where are we going to eat?

Don’t get me wrong I think it’s important to have a little surprise and I didn’t want to have everything planned to military standards, however I did want to plan a good % of it so that we got the most out of the limited time we had in places.

I got my laptop out and opened up a word document, I typed the cities we are visiting and made these bold. Under each one I put Day 1, Day 2 and Day 3, this was so that we could plan what was happening on each day.

There were a few things that we had to do in certain areas such as visit some nice restaurants, warner brothers etc. The things that we wanted to make sure we did I put down on the days and then saw how the plan was looking, I made sure to give us a few days where we had nothing specific planned so we could just explore and see where the day took us.

Now that it was all planned, a few restaurants booked and tickets had been purchased to a few experiences it was time to wait….and wait…and wait…

Check out the next post to see what we got up to in San Francisco!!!



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