San Francisco’s Union Square
Day or night, San Francisco’s Union Square is a haven for shoppers.

A song may imply that visitors will leave their heart in San Francisco, but your shopaholic clients—be they bargain hunters or lavish spenders—won’t likely leave there without bags full of goodies. California’s “City by the Bay” can serve as a good destination for a girlfriend getaway, particularly for shopping at major retail stores and quaint or eccentric boutiques in its distinct neighborhoods, along with many dining and sightseeing options—not to mention a bit of pampering along the way.

“The wonderful thing about San Francisco for that type of experience is [that] there is so much diversity of what can be offered in such a small radius,” explains Michelle Gilman-Jasen, regional director of sales and marketing for California and Arizona at Fairmont Hotel & Resorts. Visitors can stroll through major brand names at Union Square or head to Union and Chestnut streets in the Marina District. Or, for a change of scenery, they may take up a town/country experience with a jaunt to Carmel or Wine Country.

“A lot of guests are looking for things that are unique or not found in their backyard,” says Gilman-Jasen. She adds that handbag and shoe designs not carried by larger retailers are top sells. 

To cash in on travelers seeking buying opportunities, especially with the holiday season just around the corner, a number of San Francisco hotels offer shopping packages that incorporate nightly stays with daily spending sprees. 

The Fairmont San Francisco partnered with Bloomingdale’s San Francisco to create the Little Brown Bag-Shopping Package. It was launched two years ago around the holiday season. The idea is based on inquiries from hotel guests on personal shopping experiences.

“They wondered if we might be able to help them with that kind of itinerary,” recalls Gilman-Jasen.

Fairmont’s partnership with Bloomingdale’s goes further than this package. Over the years, both sides have shared concierge services and have catered to similar clientele, including international visitors. Because of popular customer response, the Little Brown Bag Shopping Package was extended beyond the holidays, according to Gilman-Jasen. She adds that this package is likely to be continued in the foreseeable future.

Based on availability this year through December 31, the Fairmont package includes a one-night stay in a luxurious room; a $50 Bloomingdale’s gift card; a signature gift given upon arrival; a 15 percent all-day savings certificate; and a pampering facial at Bloomingdale’s SK-II counter. Plus, as part of this package, those who have made purchases totaling $250 or more can have their packages personally delivered from the store to the Fairmont. Rates start at $279 per night, plus tax.

The JW Marriott San Francisco Union Square has listed a Girlfriends Getaway Package through December 31. Gal pals can spoil themselves with a shopping getaway right in the heart of Union Square. For $249 per night, the package comes with a complimentary room upgrade to a Premium room when available. Guests also receive a $50 Macy’s gift card and two seasonal cocktails at Level III.

The Westin St. Francis provides a day of shopping in Union Square with a package that also includes one $100 Macy’s gift card per stay. Rates start from $229.

The Orchard Garden Hotel’s San Francisco Shopping Spree Package includes a one-night stay in a deluxe room in the heart of San Francisco, close by the city’s most popular shopping areas. Guests will have access to overnight valet parking with in/out privileges, shopping coupons, a daily European breakfast buffet, wireless high-speed Internet, and complimentary movies. The hotel’s eco-friendly rooms and suites boast CD/DVD entertainment centers with surround sound, signature amenities and extras.

This double-occupancy package is $199 per night for a Standard room and $219 per night for a Superior room, based on availability, and is limited to certain times during the year. 

Though some may fret about flexing their wallets during the tight U.S. economy, Fairmont’s Gilman-Jasen says she finds travelers are choosing to indulge themselves a bit at value prices. That attitude has contributed no doubt to San Francisco being in high demand among travelers in 2011, she adds.