START-UP CEN­TRAL

San Fran­cisco seems to draw as many would-be dig­i­tal moguls as it does tourists.

VOGUE Australia - - News - By Mark Sariban.

San Fran­cisco seems to draw as many would-be dig­i­tal moguls as it does tourists.

There’s a dis­cernible buzz in the pic­turesque bay­side city of San Fran­cisco – and an in­creas­ing num­ber of Aus­tralian ac­cents on the streets of this start-up epi­cen­tre. In April this year the Turn­bull govern­ment launched a “Land­ing Pad” for Aus­tralian in­ter­net en­trepreneurs, a mini-in­cu­ba­tor within San Fran­cisco’s Rock­etS­pace tech­nol­ogy cam­pus on the fringe of the down­town fi­nan­cial district, while Qan­tas cel­e­brated the re­boot of its di­rect flights from Sydney by hold­ing a world-first in­flight TED talks ses­sion on board a San Fran­cisco-bound flight in Fe­bru­ary this year.

“We all know about the im­pact of the Cal­i­for­nia tech boom,” said Qan­tas’s Olivia Wirth at the time of the TED talks flight, “but what’s re­ally ex­cit­ing is the grow­ing num­ber of Aus­tralians do­ing busi­ness with Sil­i­con Val­ley … one of the rea­sons we re­launched flights be­tween Sydney and San Fran­cisco was to sup­port grow­ing busi­ness travel driven by the tech boom.”

While the city has been trans­formed in re­cent years by a febrile start-up cul­ture and the rivers of rev­enue flow­ing from es­tab­lished tech gi­ants like Ap­ple, Google and Face­book, San Fran­cisco re­mains a first-class tourist des­ti­na­tion.

Tackle the city in style by set­ting up camp at the Fair­mont San Fran­cisco, a majestic ho­tel fac­ing Grace Cathe­dral on top of Nob Hill, with stately rooms com­mand­ing sweep­ing views of the city from the Golden Gate Bridge to Al­ca­traz to Coit Tower.

Dat­ing back to 1907 – a year after the Great Earth­quake that lev­elled the city – the Fair­mont is steeped in a glo­ri­ous his­tory. Al­fred Hitch­cock filmed scenes for Ver­tigo here, while the pent­house suite, which oc­cu­pies the whole top floor of the ho­tel, has hosted many a US pres­i­dent, in­clud­ing John F Kennedy, who re­port­edly made good use of a se­cret book­shelf door in the atrium-style li­brary to spirit in a cer­tain movie-star mistress.

The ho­tel stands at the only junc­ture where all of San Fran­cisco’s ca­ble car lines meet, so it’s the per­fect base for your sight­see­ing ex­pe­di­tions. You may want to start your day, how­ever, by walk­ing along the hand­some streets plung­ing down from Nob Hill to­wards Union Square and the Mar­ket Street shop­ping district. Head­ing back up the steep hill to the Fair­mont is an­other mat­ter: grab a ca­ble car or avail your­self of the ser­vices of one of the Rock­etS­pace in­cu­ba­tor’s most notable suc­cess sto­ries – Uber. Go to www.fair­mont.com/san-fran­cisco. Qan­tas flies di­rect to San Fran­cisco from Sydney six days a week with con­nect­ing flights from other Aus­tralian cities. For fares and sched­ule in­for­ma­tion, go to www.qan­tas.com.

Kar­lie Kloss and Ken­dall Jen­ner with In­sta­gram founders Kevin Sys­trom (left) and Mike Krieger at the In­sta­gram cam­pus at Face­book head­quar­ters in the San Fran­cisco Bay Area. Look­ing down Colum­bus Av­enue to San Fran­cisco’s fi­nan­cial district. The view to Coit Tower from a Fair­mont suite at the Fair­mont San Fran­cisco.

The view from the pent­house suite at the Fair­mont San Fran­cisco.

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