From $249, clifthotel.com
When this 1915 hotel landed in the hands of Philippe Starck and Ian Schrager, there was some nervousness among the locals that icons like the Redwood bar (the paneling and 75-foot bar is said to have been harvested from a single 2000-year-old tree) would get the axe, but the duo managed to strike a brilliant balance. The wood was preserved but an array of video art was added and the 375 guestrooms still have much of their original character (including moldings and bathroom tile) but have been freshened up with Murano glass sconces and hits of neon. The lobby, just inside the building’s classic façade, is a wonderfully eclectic eyeful—Eames chairs with a Salvador Dali table, next to a Renee Marguerite stool, all grounded by a 35-foot bronze chimney sculpture by Gerard Garouste. The vistas from the upper floors are also top-notch—and while staring down at the city below, one can take comfort in the fact that the Clift was built as the city’s first earthquake-proof hotel.