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San Francisco Hotels – The 2017 Guide

Updated: May 23, 2017

Good five star hotel in downtown San Francisco, California.
Sunday brunch at The Palace Hotel on Market Street in San Francisco. (Reservations essential.)

The 18 Best Hotels in San Francisco

Loews Regency: Spacious, modern rooms. Muted tones and elegant layouts. Many rooms offer either a city or bay view from right in the heart of San Francisco. Chinatown, the Financial District and North Beach are all within reasonable walking distance for meals, drinks and sightseeing. The Loews Regency, former home of the Mandarin Oriental, serves breakfast, lunch and happy hour at its small lobby restaurant, Brasserie S&P.

St. Regis: Beautiful open-room concepts and aesthetically-pleasing interior design. Conveniently located around the corner from the Moscone Center and its food court, movie theater and carousel. In-house restaurant Vitrine well known-for its American cuisine, and they also boast a pop-up restaurant downstairs that specializes in grilled favorites, aptly named “Grill.” Huge pool and nice fitness center complete the residential-feeling property.

Taj Campton: A lot of hotel squeezed into a very little space. Just up the street from Union Square in the middle of San Francisco, Taj Campton boasts a rooftop fitness center, large suites with a pleasant decor, and a 2-Michelin star restaurant. There is a courtesy car to take you to attractive nearby dining and nightlife locations, like Chinatown, SoMa, and North Beach.

Scarlet Huntington: Stunning renovation of a 1920’s apartment building that still maintains a sense of “home.” The hotel sits atop Nob Hill and offers expansive views from its luxurious suites and spacious deluxe rooms. The property owns a massive spa and pool area on-site, and The Big 4 restaurant downstairs is great; on par with the nearby Tonga Room and Top of the Mark.

Hotel Vitale: A stylish, quintessential San Francisco hotel in a red-brick building with unobstructed views of the Bay Bridge and Treasure Island from any perch. Plenty of outdoor space for lounging on vacation or meeting on business. Local affiliations with The Bay Club and The Y. Pier 39, AT&T Park, the Ferry Building and Vitale’s own popular restaurant and bar are close by.

Hotel Zelos: Very hip SoMa location does a good job representing the spirit of the city. The rooms, though in transition still from its mid-2015 purchase and renovation, are bright and clean. The fitness center and restaurant are spot-on San Francisco, with the latter especially becoming a huge draw at night. Right next to BART, Union Square, the Westfield Mall and the Metreon.

Fairmont Nob Hill: A mini-city in and of itself. Fantastic rooms for all sizes of families or individual travelers. Known for its connection to celebrities like Tony Bennett, ornate ballrooms and popular eatery Tonga Room. Lesser-known gems include the shops, event centers, multiple fitness rooms, rooftop gardens and prohibition-era bars. Can’t beat the location on top of Nob Hill, towering over the rest of San Francisco.

Orchard Hotel: Cozy, traditional bedrooms with plenty of space. King beds, flat screen TVs and unique Oriental artwork come standard. Catch three meals a day at Daffodil in-house, or wander to Chinatown for a delicious meal. Fisherman’s Wharf, Union Square and the Financial District are all within striking distance. If traveling with kids, request a rollaway or crib for the room, and check out the nearby Exploratorium for a fun family activity.

Omni Hotel: A well thought-out mix of family-friendly amenities, business leisure and luxury. In the heart of everything, just steps away from North Beach, Chinatown and downtown. Large, luxurious rooms with comfort as a primary point of design. Intimate in-house restaurant and bar give way to a beautiful lobby space. Program offering children a backpack of goodies upon check-in is an added bonus.

Hotel Rex: The 1920’s literary salon theme really stands out in this dimly-lit, quaint hotel near downtown. The rooms themselves are on the smaller side, but feel homey. Stick around the lobby for movie night, live music night, Cabaret and more. Nearby attractions include Union Square, Yerba Buena Gardens and great restaurants. For a full city tour, Big Bus Tours picks up right next to the hotel entrance.

Palace Hotel: Service, size and decor reminiscent of an actual palace. Hotel itself is an attraction worth wandering, but you can always explore the restaurants and watering holes of SoMa, the Financial District and the Embarcadero. You’d be hard-pressed to find a better fitness facility than the one at the Palace, complete with a full indoor pool and locker rooms. Check out their culinary creation Pied Piper for food and drink, or if you want to wander, start across the street at House of Shields or around the corner at Novella and go from there.

Grand Hyatt: Slick, apartment-style rooms offer plenty of comfort and the “living in the city” feel travelers should crave from San Francisco. A well-decorated lobby is towered over by trendy restaurant and bar areas called OneUp. With Union Square just steps away, you’re in the heart of everything. Ask the friendly concierge for a walking route to Pier 39 and hit all their suggested stops along the way. Nice touch: V.I.B. (Very Important Baby) program equips parents with rubber duckies, bottle brushes, etc. for their stay.

Fairmont Heritage Place (Ghirardelli Square): Literally hang over Ghirardelli Square and enjoy the views of the bay and Alcatraz from any point in the hotel. Thirty five residences, and each has ensuite bathrooms attached to every bedroom. King beds, fireplaces, sleeper sofas, microwave, gas range stove, dishwasher and washer/dryer comes standard in each residence. Take the complimentary car to Fisherman’s Wharf, Pier 39 or the Presidio.

Hotel Drisco: Very regal, historic building with rooms to match. Old-school feel to the whole place, including complimentary wine reception for guests and buffet-style continental breakfasts. Many who stay here are relatives of neighbors and have been here before. Located more in the middle of residential San Francisco, so prepare to walk to see the nearby Presidio, Marina and Fillmore districts. Planning on closing for renovation in the first half of 2017.

Four Seasons: One of the nicest all-around hotels you’ll find in San Francisco. Location is perfect, in the heart of Market Street, close to SoMa, the Financial District, Embarcadero and right on the BART and trolley lines so you can get anywhere in the city easily. Very simple, comfortable, bright rooms and a top-notch in-house restaurant and bar. Partnership with Equinox gym allows guests free access. Proximity to the Yerba Buena Gardens, lots of nightlife, Westfield Centre shopping and restaurants like Tropisueno top it off.

Clift: Artsy, unique lobby area extends to dining and event space, as well as the famous Redwood Room bar and lounge. Rooms are large and bright and have all the amenities needed, especially for a business traveler. Near Union Square and fun nightlife spots like Johnny Foley’s Irish Pub and Bourbon and Branch. Plenty of food and tourist options within walking distance, too.

Ritz-Carlton: Very nice restaurant, bar and lounge, and a strong wine program. Kids program gives families traveling with little ones a scavenger hunt around the hotel. Comfortable, quaint rooms with expansive views of downtown. Located in the heart of San Francisco, between Nob Hill and North Beach. Walking or trolley distance to Italian food in North Beach, Chinese in Chinatown or nightlife downtown.

The Argonaut: A luxury cruise ship without the seasickness. In the heart of Fisherman’s Wharf, just steps from Ghirardelli Square. Beautiful, comfortable rooms with original wood and brick accoutrements. Check out the Blue Mermaid restaurant’s delicious chowder or take the kids through the Park Service-run Visitor Center exhibits. Endless bars, restaurants and attractions within just a few blocks.

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