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Hi There!

Welcome to my blog.

I love cities - glam - airlines  -  and photography.  All of the images on this site were taken by me on my travels around the planet.

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FYI - I have recently updated my site title from Itinerant Spirit to JetSet Calvin (Which is the name of my YouTube Channel)

 

United Polaris Lounge Review - San Francisco (SFO)

United Polaris Lounge Review - San Francisco (SFO)

What a stunning lounge!

United Airlines has pulled out all the stops with their marquee Polaris Lounge in San Francisco.   I was completely wowed at the décor, amenities, food and bar that greeted me as I ascended the escalators to the club at SFO. 

There’s a lot of buzz around this facility – and it is all well deserved.

It’s more like an international first-class lounge vs a business one.  United has really upped the game for the competitive inter-continental premium traveler!

Admittance

Entrance - United Polaris Lounge - San Francisco  Photo: Calvin Wood

Entrance - United Polaris Lounge - San Francisco Photo: Calvin Wood

It’s not easy to get into this lounge.  Several people ahead of me in line were turned away. 

You need to be booked on a long-haul international flight, in business class, on a Star Alliance carrier.  Gold Status, flights to central America or Canada, and United Club cards won’t get you in (anyone with those credentials will be sent to the United Club down the hall). 

I understand why they make admittance so strict – the place is a stellar facility!

Ambiance

Cool Seating - Polaris Lounge San Francisco  Photo: Calvin Wood

Cool Seating - Polaris Lounge San Francisco Photo: Calvin Wood

The Polaris Lounge in San Francisco is massive:  spread over two floors and multiple wings. The ambiance is mod, sleek and luxe! 

There’s plenty of seating – although I found that most people turned “right” when they entered (towards the bar) – and that the left wing was completely empty.  If you don’t mind trekking to get your cocktails, I would definitely plant myself on that side of the club.

The lower floor was even more deserted.  That’s where the showers are located, along with a number of workstations and a coffee bar area.

Mod Work Stations - United Polaris Lounge - San Francisco  Photo: Calvin Wood

Mod Work Stations - United Polaris Lounge - San Francisco Photo: Calvin Wood

There is plenty of seating no matter what section you want – and no matter what mood you are in.  I actually felt a bit like Goldie Locks: “Did I want to sit at a table, on a recliner, on a cushy sofa etc?”

All of the seating looked really cool (and new). 

I was most attracted to the hip ‘desk-units’ that had a chic accent chair coupled with a space-age-inspired work-table!  The chair was almost  too comfortable as it was sleep inducing – especially after I drank one of the lounge’s signature cocktails: The Polaris Star  (an Annice infused martini!)

Work Station - United Polaris Lounge - San Francisco  Photo: Calvin Wood

Work Station - United Polaris Lounge - San Francisco Photo: Calvin Wood

Seating Area - United Polaris Lounge - San Francisco  Photo: Calvin Wood

Seating Area - United Polaris Lounge - San Francisco Photo: Calvin Wood

Beverages

Bar Area - United Polaris Lounge - San Francisco  Photo: Calvin Wood

Bar Area - United Polaris Lounge - San Francisco Photo: Calvin Wood

A hip hangout with powerful, premium cocktails and libations is how I would describe the Polaris Lounge Bar.  

What an amazing bar!!  I would book a night flight over a morning one just to have time in it.

Premium Champagne’s - Moet - United Polaris Lounge  Photo: Calvin Wood

Premium Champagne’s - Moet - United Polaris Lounge Photo: Calvin Wood

To start – they have real champagne (not just Prosecco):  Piper-Heidsieck Cuvee Brut. Bright and fresh!  Based on the number of champagne flutes I saw in people’s hands, I am going to guess that this is a popular drink in the lounge. 

Next in line for accolades are the cocktails.  Truly in a league of their own. The bartenders mix both the classics and a number of original concoctions: Mai Tais, Margaritas, Old Fashioneds, Negoroni’s, Pisco Punch and a list of other favorites that are right out of Mad Men!

Polaris Martini - Polaris Lounge San Francisco  Photo: Calvin Wood

Polaris Martini - Polaris Lounge San Francisco Photo: Calvin Wood

Wine lovers are looked after as well – with a selection of over 15 different vintages!

If you’re not into the hard stuff, there are lots of other options – coffees, teas, infused waters, and juices.

Coffee Station - United Polaris Lounge - San Francisco  Photo: Calvin Wood

Coffee Station - United Polaris Lounge - San Francisco Photo: Calvin Wood

Dining

Cold Buffet - United Polaris Lounge - San Francisco  Photo: Calvin Wood

Cold Buffet - United Polaris Lounge - San Francisco Photo: Calvin Wood

The dining is first class all the way in this lounge.  There’s a wonderful buffet near the bar with salads, sandwiches, sushi, cheeses, and lots of hot dishes  (there was a run on the fired chicken during my visit).

Salads - United Polaris Lounge  -  San Francisco  Photo: Calvin Wood

Salads - United Polaris Lounge - San Francisco Photo: Calvin Wood

Hot Selections - Fried Chicken - United Polaris Lounge  Photo: Calvin Wood

Hot Selections - Fried Chicken - United Polaris Lounge Photo: Calvin Wood

Crispy Shrimp Cake - United Polaris Lounge - San Francisco  Photo: Calvin Wood

Crispy Shrimp Cake - United Polaris Lounge - San Francisco Photo: Calvin Wood

If you have time though – you must experience their sit down restaurant at the back (I’m not sure if it has a name).  On my visit, there was a selection of appetizers, mains and desserts that would satisfy most fine dinners.

I decided to have a wonderful snack prior to my flight to Paris:  a tasty shrimp cake appetizer and a spicy seafood cioppino (a stew of shrimps, mussels, and scallops).  The presentation was exceptional – and both were super flavorful!

Cioppino with Seafood - United Polaris Lounge  Photo: Calvin Wood

Cioppino with Seafood - United Polaris Lounge Photo: Calvin Wood

Showers

Shower Rooms - United Polaris Lounge - San Francisco  Photo: Calvin Wood

Shower Rooms - United Polaris Lounge - San Francisco Photo: Calvin Wood

If you are coming off an overnight flight – or if you just want to indulge in ultimate relaxation, don’t forget to visit the showers on the lower level.

The rooms are gorgeous.  I felt like I was at an Arizona spa!  The marble, tile and masonry are outstanding.  I wish the bathroom in my apartment was as dreamy!!

Vanity - Shower Room - United Polaris Lounge - San Francisco  Photo: Calvin Wood

Vanity - Shower Room - United Polaris Lounge - San Francisco Photo: Calvin Wood

Cowshed Products - United Polaris Lounge  Photo: Calvin Wood

Cowshed Products - United Polaris Lounge Photo: Calvin Wood

Each unit has a rain shower, Cowshed products, and Sak’s Fifth Avenue towels.  United is clearly set on pampering their premium passengers.

Bath Products - United Polaris Lounge - San Francisco  Photo: Calvin Wood

Bath Products - United Polaris Lounge - San Francisco Photo: Calvin Wood

Sak’s Fifth Avenue  Towels - United Polaris Lounge  Photo: Calvin Wood

Sak’s Fifth Avenue Towels - United Polaris Lounge Photo: Calvin Wood

My Verdict

Eating Area - United Polaris Lounge - San Francisco  Photo: Calvin Wood

Eating Area - United Polaris Lounge - San Francisco Photo: Calvin Wood

United’s Polaris Lounge at SFO is astonishing and breathtaking!  

I loved every minute of my experience and can’t wait to come back.  It definitely elevates the whole experience of flying business class on United.  It was a magnificent place to visit before my flight – and set the tone for my whole journey.

Bravo!

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