Since childhood, Joanna E. Hall has had a passion for travelling, and somehow this gorgeous woman has managed to turn it into a career.
Besides running two travel websites, UltimateTravelMagazine.com and CruiseGuide.com.au, Joanna is also the author of the new ebook 40 And Still Fabulous: The Next Chapter, a fully updated new edition of her 2009 bestseller.
In the book Joanna explores all the key topics important to women in their fabulous forties, from skin care and health to sex and happiness.
As a Guest Goddess for Vacation Goddess, Joanna is pausing to give us her insider knowledge on San Francisco, and why it is a destination which she feels “has it all.”
"When people ask if I prefer the east or west coast of the USA, I always say the 'west', but, in truth until I started travelling to San Francisco with my husband, I'd always had a bigger soft spot Los Angeles. There was something about the weather, the beaches, the kookiness of L.A…..plus I used to have many friends there which made visiting all the more special."
"I've been to San Francisco at least half a dozen times with Ben in our 16-year marriage, however, each time I go back I fall in love with the 'City By The Bay' a little more. We always discover new places and things to do…..each time we go back, our stays are for longer and longer!"
"We've stayed in many different styles of hotels in the city, but one of our favourites is the W on Third Street in SoMa. Besides being über-chic and environmentally friendly, it has a great location for some of favourite spots such as the Embarcadero, Union Square, and AT&T Park for Giants baseball games – Ben is a huge fan.
The last time we stayed at the W we had a corner suite with a spectacular view of the Bay Bridge; at night in particular, when it was all illuminated it was magical. The hotel also has a Bliss Spa which is upbeat and fun, and a great place to escape the crowds for some pampering."
"One of the things I love the most about San Francisco is that it's a great walking city, and it keeps you fit – even if it’s sometimes at the expense of your shoes!
The last time we were there for over three weeks and I lost count of the number of kilometres we walked. Between quirky and diverse neighbourhoods, and along the waterfront areas…besides our airport runs, we only took a taxi three times."
"When it comes to eating out there is a plethora of choice, not just in ethic cuisines but quintessential San Fran experiences such as dining with a view. Each time we visit there is something new to try. For high end French fine dining, one of my favourite haunts from the old days was Fleur de Lys, an institution which sadly I hear closed in June 2014 after 40-odd years. Two other venues which made the recent San Francisco Chronicle's top 100 list are Chez Panisse, which is over the Bay Bridge in Berkeley and another favourite which has been around forever, and for meat lovers is the House of Prime Rib on Van Ness.l It's a cool throwback to an English men's club."
"For good food and stunning views, however, we like the Waterfront which is at Pier 7 on the Embarcadero; we had our 14th wedding anniversary dinner there two years ago and had an amazing night."
"As for watering holes, we make a point of hitting the Daily Grill on Geary Street, just off Union Square for a martini at least once when we’re in town. It has a great bar with a restaurant at the back, and we always seem to meet really cool people. For romance and jaw dropping views, the bar at the top of the Marriott on Market Street is hard to beat, and for a throwback to the Sinatra era, try Sinbad's at Pier 2 on the waterfront for at least one cocktail; it's a seafood restaurant but it has a bar with a dramatic view of the Bay Bridge complete with traditional uniformed bartenders who won’t forget your name or your favourite tipple.
"Besides exploring the diverse neighbourhoods, sightseeing (some sights such as the Golden Gate Bridge from Chrissy Field, and Alcatraz from atop Russian Hill never wane) or jumping on a cable car once or twice, the other thing I love to do in the city is shop. Union square is a favourite haunt, as it's packed with favourite boutiques such as Victoria's Secret, 7 for All Mankind, Kate Spade, Sephora, and it has an Apple Store along with all the top designers from Gucci to Armani. Not to mention the legendary department stores, and plenty of places to grab a coffee and a bite to eat in between splurges too."
"Just writing this makes me feel nostalgic for San Francisco, and I can't wait to go back. It's such a vibrant city with so much happening, the worse thing for most first time visitors is not having enough time to spend there. As a work colleague said to me last year; 'We only have two days, what are the essentials?' My response was that you can't possibly cover the essentials in a week let alone two days, so you have to pick. Good luck with that!"
For more about Joanna or to purchase her-e.book for AUD$5.95 visit the website.