Spa Vitale’s Outdoor Soaking Tub
It was 12:45 pm and I was covered in milk, spit up and saliva. Only 45 minutes before my 80-minute stress buster massage and I was scrambling to get out of the house. I grabbed the breast pump, the only dress that fits slightly since I had my daughter 8 weeks ago, and a few toiletries that I’d need for my 24-hour urban excursion to Hotel Vitale in San Francisco.
The hotel is a located on the shimmering embarcadero and just steps away from some of San Francisco’s most famous restaurants and attractions including The Slanted Door, Hog Island Oysters and the Ferry Building Marketplace. I live across town in Pacific Heights – yes only minutes from the hotel, but world away from my all-consuming role as a new mother. Hotel Vitale is known for its world-class service, impeccable rooms, and super chic San Francisco scene. So I thought it fitting for an escape from my messy Mommydom.
Their restaurant Americano is the place where you can find San Francisco’s upwardly mobile, sexy singles socializing on Thursday and Friday nights. Not that I am part of that crew any longer. My life has dramatically shifted and I’ve gone from Manolo Blahniks to MBTs.
What I was looking forward to more than my massage at their SPA VITALE , or dinner at Americano with friends was my 8 long hours of sleep I was going to enjoy – something that I had not experienced in months.
With bag in hand and a big ear-to-ear grin I kissed my family goodbye and dashed out the door to my waiting cab. Free at last!
I checked into my room and strolled over to the spa where I was treated to their signature “Stress Buster” treatment. It is a relaxing 80-minute treatment that includes a back massage and a facial. The products they use are organic Juice Beauty. After the treatment, my body was relaxed and my face was glowing.
Dinner with friends was later that evening, so I took some time to visit the Ferry Building Marketplace. Yes, it is a place that I have gone many times – but never as a new mom. For the first time, I appreciated having both my hands free, able to walk without navigating a stroller. I do love my daughter and I enjoy taking her out and about, but I was really relishing this time alone. Everything seemed new to me. The mushrooms at Far West Fungi looked so incredibly interesting and the cheeses at Cowgirl Creamery were absolutely delightful.
Back at the hotel, I spent a few minutes online (they offer free basic Internet service), watched a little CNN and spent time gazing out my window overlooking the San Francisco Bay. I watched sailboats dance on the water and tourists enjoy the San Francisco sunshine. After a steamy rinse in vinchy-like shower, I took a nap in my fabulously huge king size bed stacked with lots of fluffy pillows.
My friends organized cocktails and appetizers on the Cielo Terrace, which is located on the 7th floor. It is a beautiful private area that is available for small parties and events.
After cocktails, we enjoyed dinner at Americano. Chef Kory Stewart took a moment to meet us – which was treat! Dinner included an heirloom tomato salad, grilled rib eye with fried cranberry beans, and finished with a deep chocolate mouse with salted caramel. Yum!
I was back in my room by 11:00 pm, completely satisfied and abundantly happy, but definitely feeling the milk level rise in my boobs. The hotel was fabulous, my glorious king size bed was super cozy and I loved listening to their signature CD of new artists that played in the room’s sound system. But, there was one small problem. Because I still breast feed, I made sure that I left daddy with enough milk for the baby – but I did not really think about my body and that I would continue to produce milk. Yes, I did bring my pump, but when I set it up, I was missing a piece. In my haste to get out of the house, I forgot a critical part of my successful getaway. The flange.
Well, my wonderful 24-hour getaway ended at 4:00 am when my breasts got so engorged that I had to get home to feed the baby or pump. I did all that I could to relieve the pain: hot shower, massage, manual expressing, and praying. I was bummed because I had ordered a scrumptious breakfast of eggs benedict, hot chocolate and fresh fruit to be delivered at 10:00 am. I planned on laying in that massive bed, while wearing a robe, and watching morning television. That was to be followed by a short stroll to the San Francisco Zip Line for a 750-feet ride above Justin Herman Plaza. I ordered a picnic lunch from the hotel that I was going to enjoy on the docks overlooking the San Francisco Bay because I was not expected home until 1:00 pm the next day and I wanted to take full advantage of every second I was given.
When I got home at 4:30 am, daddy was up, but baby just fell asleep. An hour later – and 10 ounces of freshly squeezed milk – I was tempted to jump back in a cab and get back under those rich, cotton sheets at the Vitale, but I was too exhausted and I already had such a wonderful stay there, I was satisfied with my day trip across the city and a world away.
The perfect hotel for you Mommy-moon if you live in the Bay Area:
8 Mission Street
San Francisco, CA 94105
P: 415.278.3700 | F: 415.278.3730
Survival Plan for Your Mommy-moon
If this is your first Mommy-moon, then you are going to have to negotiate a deal with daddy (or another caretaker) for your time away. My deal was that for my 24 hours away daddy could get a 24-hour hall pass as well.
Also, set the rules of engagement: Will you call to check in? Are you going to go radio silent? Do you expect daddy or the caretaker to call you? What will you be doing on your Mommy-moon? (staying in a hotel and resting, spending the night at a friend’s place, partying all night long?) When will you be home? And in what state will you be returning? (needing a nap, ready to change those diapers, going back to work).
– Have enough food for your little one: If you breast feed and your baby is younger than 6 months, plan on an ounce every hour that you are away. 24 hours – 24 ounces.
– Pick a location that is near by: Don’t plan a dream trip to Argentina this time. Go somewhere that is MILES not HOURS from home. Your baby just might have an emergency (or you might) and it is important to be physically near by.
– Treat yourself! If you want a massage, then get one, this is your chance to enjoy a few hours of pure luxury. So, don’t scrimp on the hotel, your spa treatments, or dining experiences. When will you be able to get away again, really?
– Breast feeders, BRING YOUR PUMP: Make sure you bring ALL THE PIECES and decide if you are going to save the milk or pump and dump. If saving, then make sure where you’re staying has a refrigerator that you can use to store it. Based on Jones and Tully’s reference guide, Best Practice for Expressing, Storing Human Milk in Hospitals, Homes, and Child Care settings. milk can stay at room temperature for only 4-10 hours. The hotter the temperature, the sooner the milk will go bad. So, don’t chance it.
– If you plan on pumping: Bring enough storage containers. NUK or any other bags made to store milk are better and easier to store in mini bars than bottles. MAKE SURE TO SEAL THEM TIGHTLY and do not use bags that were not made to store human milk. You can store the bags between the beers and wine without removing any pricy products from the frig that you might get charged for. And please don’t forget to take your bags full of milk back home with you.
– Bring clothes and shoes that are comfortable. I made the mistake of wearing super cute, super high, and super painful shoes. The shoes would be fine if I did not give birth 8 weeks ago and was not caring 20 extra pound of baby fat. The truth is our bodies change when we are pregnant and we need to honor that (yes I can say that now) and the last thing you want to be during your Mommy-moon is uncomfortable. Didn’t you already spend 9 months being uncomfortable and around 20 hours in excruciating pain? Enough already!
– Enjoy yourself! Yes, you are going to miss your perfect little bundle of joy, but you’ll be back home soon enough. Take this time to relish your freedom and individuality! LIVE IN THE NOW! Put on some make up, get your hair done or splurge on a new dress. Because my dear, in a few hours you’ll be back to changing diapers, feeding, burping, crying, spit up, and sleepless nights.