The Golden Gate Bridge connects this charming waterside town to the Dallas Mavericks CEO’s old stomping grounds of San Francisco.

Few places in the world offer the vast diversity of experiences one can find in the Bay Area. On a September trip to San Francisco, we spent the night in the city after watching the Giants beat the Dodgers at Oracle Park. The next morning, we hopped in the car and drove across the Golden Gate Bridge to Sausalito. Despite the short distance, it seemed like a world away.

Those feelings intensified as we checked into The Inn Above Tide, a stunning boutique hotel on the San Francisco Bay. The intimate property, which has just 33 rooms and suites, began life as a luxury apartment complex in the 1960s. It was reinvented in 1995 and given a multimillion-dollar spruce-up in 2019.

Private decks and floor-to-ceiling windows offer panoramic views. I couldn’t get enough of sitting outside and watching kayakers out for a morning paddle, the ferry transporting commuters and tourists to San Francisco, or the moon and twinkling skyline at night. The most mesmerizing sight of all, though, was the region’s famous fog as it rolled in from the hills and blanketed the city.

Our expansive, well-appointed suite at The Inn Above Tide featured all the luxuries you’d expect, plus some lovely touches like fresh orchid blossoms, wood-burning fireplaces, an interesting collection of books, and binoculars accompanied by an illustrated guide to Bay Bridge, Alcatraz, and other points of interest. The hotel offered a bountiful continental breakfast each morning and a wine and cheese reception at night. We took advantage of the option of having the complimentary treats delivered to our room so we could enjoy them on the deck.

There’s no in-house restaurant at The Inn Above Tide, but its location in the middle of Sausalito offers easy access to eclectic eateries, galleries, and shops. Make a reservation well in advance to dine at the spectacular Sushi Ran. Known for its exquisitely fresh sushi, it’s one of the top-rated restaurants in the Bay Area. You can’t go wrong with any of the five sushi sampler plates—or order one-offs and create combinations of your own. For entrées, we tried the miso-glazed black cod and salmon; both were spectacular.

Another local standout was Copita Taqueria y Comida. It’s known for its bold-flavored, modern Mexican fare (with offerings such as Mexican truffle empanadas, pork belly tacos, and lamb and queso Oaxaca quesadillas), its variety of ceviches (lobster, scallops, flounder, shrimp, cod, and tuna), and extensive list of tequilas and mezcals.

During our visit, unseasonably warm weather provided ideal conditions for kayaking on the San Francisco Bay. Sea Trek, founded in the 1980s as the first commercial kayaking business in California, made it easy. We headed south on the water and paddled for a couple of miles past some of Sausalito’s famous houseboats and our hotel but turned around before making it to the Golden Gate Bridge. If you’re lucky, like us, you’ll see Oreo, a white-spotted seal who likes to sun on Sea Trek’s dock.